Arlington 12th March: Favourite backers got off to a nice start in Port Elizabeth on Monday when SPARTAN (21) did the business in the opening maiden event over 2000m. Confidently ridden by Anthony Delpech, Spartan sat towards the rear for most of the journey. Once in the short home straight though he quickly worked his way through field and after striking the front 250m from home he went on to score comfortably.
Jockey Anthony Delpech was also on the mark in the MR78 Handicap over 1800m where SERGEANT AT ARMS showed good improvement. Positioned in the rear as the thirteen runners turned for home, Gavin Smith’s charge ran on best of all and under a well judged ride he got up close home to beat the friendless ROUSED (8/1 out to 16/1) by a length and a quarter.
The easiest victory on the card was recorded by PIRATE QUEEN in the novice 1000m. Nibbled at on course into 5/1 from 6’s, Sean Miller’s charge was taken straight to the front by Wayne Agrella and led throughout. She was always in command and although SECRET QUEST finished well from off the pace, she won very easily by four.
The afternoon’s feature event was a MR84 Handicap for the girls over 1600m and here the stable of Justin Snaith were on the mark when the 5yo DANISH DIVA landed the spoils. Soon up handy, the 5yo raced prominent throughout. She was asked to take up the running at the top of the home straight and comfortably accounted for the lesser fancied PLAYED ON by a length and three quarters.
ICY ZONE was fairly flying at the finish when only losing out in the MR74 Handicap over 1000m by the narrowest of margins.
MARIONETTE was running on from the rear when third in the MR84 Handicap won by Danish Diva.
All Systems Go
Turffontein 13th March: They raced on the old stand side track on Tuesday evening where the first favourite to oblige was STRAIGHT SET in the maiden juvenile event over 1400m. A runner up to FRANNY in the Ruffian Stakes in her latest outing, Straight Set was taken straight to the front by Felix Coetzee and led throughout. CAT’S GAME raced second and chased hard throughout. Despite having the remainder some eight lengths in arrears at the line though, she couldn’t make any real impression on the two lengths advantage held by Straight Set.
The easiest victory on the card was undoubtedly that of ACAPELLA who came home smoking in the maiden event over 1160m. The best bet on the card for many, the son of Kahal was always at the head of affairs. He began to assert his authority going through the 400m and went on to score very easily by seven and a half.
The runners with the highest merit ratings on the card contested a conditions plate over 1400m. All the rage in the betting market was the visiting Queen’s Plate winner GIMMETHEGREENLIGHT who shortened in to 7/10 from 22/10. Justin Snaith’s charge got away well when the gates opened and soon up handy raced prominent throughout. He was ridden to lead as they approached the 400m marker and went on to score comfortably by two and a half from the running on WELWITSCHIA.
In terms of prize money and stature, the listed Bauhinia Handicap over 1000m topped the bill and here favourite backers were again on the mark when VARIOMETER (69) did the business. On leaving the stalls it was the well supported outsider PRINCESS RUE (16/1 in to 8/1) who elected to make the running whilst the top weight raced close up in third. She made her move going through the 300m and under a well judged ride from Pierre Strydom she got up nicely late to deny the easy to back JOLLY POPPINS.
DAZZLING DAYS had plenty in hand when winning the maiden 1160m going away by three and a half.
Vaal 15th March: Thursday’s action took place on the sand where we saw a very smart performance in the opening maiden juvenile event over 1000m from MOGOK’S DESIRE. Freely available at 12/1 on the off, Leon Erasmus’s charge was soon positioned close to the speed. He was asked to take up the running shortly after passing the 300m marker and drew clear easily in the closing stages of the race to score by six.
Another to win very well in the maiden ranks on this card was CLASS CAPTAIN in the 1450m event. Allowed to drift right out to 9/2 from 5/2 at the track, although still retaining his position at the top of the boards, Class Captain raced in midfield during the early part of the race. Once given rein though, he quickened best of all and easily drew clear after striking the front 300m out.
The easiest victory on the card was recorded by TATTERS in the MR76 Handicap over 1200m. Soon at the head of affairs, the 3yo led throughout. She was always in command and although TIGER FLO chased hard, she went on to score by seven with plenty in hand.
At the other end of the scale was the bill topping MR87 Handicap over 1800m where only a short head separated the first two home. In what proved to be a real thriller the favourite LADY AMEERA (6yo) made virtually all. The 3yo CASA NOSTRA loomed alongside 100m from home and might even have gotten her nostrils in front. Under a typically cheeky ride from Pierre Strydom though, the mare found extra when challenged and giving her all she got the verdict on the nod.
After racing detached at the rear early on, the favourite FORMATION ran on best of all in the MR87 Handicap over 1800m and would probably have gotten up for at least second position had she not have been carried off a straight course.
KEY WORD was running on strongly from the rear when third in the MR72 Handicap over 1450m.
Back From The Farm
Greyville 16th March: This was the meeting originally scheduled to take place at Clairwood on Tuesday 13th March.
The best bet on the card for most was ISTIQRAAR (28) in the maiden juvenile plate over 1200m and he didn’t let down his supporters. Sent off deep in the red, Mike De Kock’s charge led throughout. He only had to be pushed out with hands and heels at the business end of the race and with plenty in hand he cruised in by four.
Race five on the card was a MR92 Handicap over 1600m and here a bit of an upset was to be had when the nibbled at outsider FASTNETROCK (16/1 into 11/1) registered his sixth career victory. Making his 46th racecourse appearance here, the 7yo son of Qui Danzig was content to guard the rear for most of the journey. Once in the short home straight though, he quickened best of all and under a well judged ride from Stuart Randolph, he got up late to deny another easy to back runner WINTER CHILL.
The biggest upset in the soft under foot conditions though was the victory of OLD MAC DONALD in the bill topping MR96 Handicap over 1200m. Sent off as the rank outsider of the eleven horse party at 50/1, Old Mac Donald raced in midfield for most of the journey. He began to take closer order early in the straight and in a race where only a neck separated the first three home, he got up in the dying strides to deny the front running favourite COFFEE SHEIK.
Finishing best of all, MR GIGILO ran on stoutly from the rear when getting up late to win the MR75 Handicap over 1600m.
Top speedratings for this weekend include:-
Fairview Race 1: (10) Paris Symphony 12 Race 2: (12) Enjoyment 12 Race 3: (7) Rain Man 49 Race 4: (4) Rosette 75 Race 5: (13) Count Dumani 59 Race 6: (3) Celtic Fire 84 Race 7: (9) Superfederation 92 Race 8: (1) Mr Vindaloo 53 (EW) Turffontein Race 1: (6) Ice Kitten 8 Race 2: (1) Caribbean Dream 12 (NAP*) Race 3: (5) Dark Knight 59 Race 4: (1) Western Way 16 Race 5: (13) Cruella 46 Race 6: (11) Silver Rocket 52 Race 7: (2) Hard Talk 55 Race 8: (10) Rabadash 83 Race 9: (16) Kahal’s Fantasy 37 Scottsville Race 1: (1) Al Kindi 11 Race 2: (2) Dun Carrer 49 Race 3: (8) Peregrine King 7 Race 4: (12) Tidy Tiger 17 Race 5: (1) Lago Lida 68 Race 6: (14) Spirit Of Success 53 Race 7: (1) Fairytale Story 58 (NAP*) Race 8: (1) Gazette 11 Race 9: (1) Besma 20
Top rated winners last week includedFiery won 13/1 Mr Gigilo won 11/1 Antious won 75/20 Lord Jonathan won 3/1 Noordhoek Express won 28/20 Olympia Beijing won 28/10 Gold Flight won 22/10 Radetzky’s Rebel won 16/10
Notebook:-Gimmethegreenlight (J Snaith, Gauteng) Mr Gigilo (G Puller, KZN)
FASTEST TIMES(Shown in brackets is the number of races run in each category)
Arlington 12th MarchFastest Sprint 1000-1300 (4) Pirate Queen Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (3) Danish Diva Fastest Long 1900-3600 (1) Spartan
.Turffontein 13th March Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (3) Variometer Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (3) Gimmethegreenlight Fastest Long 1900-3600 (2) Princess Of Light
.Vaal 15th March Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (5) Mogok’s Desire Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (4) New York Fastest Long 1900-3600 (0) No Qualifiers
.Greyville 16th March Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (5) Old Mac Donald Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (3) Gold Flight Fastest Long 1900-3600 (0) No Qualifiers