Turffontein 30th July: This was the meeting originally scheduled to take place on 31st July. They raced on the inner track on Saturday where we saw a smart performance in the maiden juvenile event over 1450m from the well supported outsider GO INDIGO (21). Backed throughout the morning into 15/2 from 20’s Leon Erasmus’ charge raced in the rear during the early part of the race. Once in the short home straight though, she quickened best of all and after striking the front close home, she easily drew clear. Go Indigo won very well in this just her second career start and is clearly one to keep tabs on.
Another to win very comfortably from off the pace in the maiden ranks on this card was POCKET FILLER (20) when opening his account in the 1800m event. Backed into 9/20 from 7/10 at the track, the best bet on the card for many made his moved coming down the strip. He was already at the front going through the 400m and kept on strongly in the closing stages of the race to beat the running on KUDOS by a length.
The afternoon’s feature event was a MR83 Handicap over 1000m and here it was nice to see the veteran SHALAKO (58) register his seventh career victory. Soon up handy despite being a little troublesome at the start, Clinton Binda’s charge raced prominent throughout. He was ridden to lead shortly after passing the 300m marker and despite losing a shoe in running, he comfortably accounted for MR HURRICANE by two and a half.
A MR70 Handicap over 1000m was next up and here victory went to the Modern Day gelding Let The River Run (45). Nibbled at on course into 5/1 from 7’s, Diane Stenger’s charge was always handy. He was asked to take up the running at the top of the straight and kept on strongly over the final 400m to beat the easy to back SKINNY JEANS (later reported as being lame on the off fore) by a length and three quarters.
SABRINA’S BABY ran on well from the rear when winning the girls maiden event over 1450m.
Borrowdale Park 30th July: The best bet on the card for most in Zimbabwe on Saturday was LIKE PARADISE (5) in the 1600m Fillies Mile and although there were some anxious moments, she did nonetheless land the spoils. Deep in the red at 4/10, Susan Odendaal’s charge raced second for most of the journey. BEAUTY FOR ASHES was the first to make a move in the straight and after taking up the running 400m out she ran on well. Indeed, she soon had Like Paradise under pressure and 200m out it was looking as if she would hold on to score. The favourite found extra below the distance though and just as if scripted she got up late to win by three quarters.
Favourite backers were also on the mark in the non black type Stayer’s Challenge over 2700m when the up and coming 3yo VINCENT (47) did the business. Confidently ridden by Karis Teetan, Noelene Peech’s charge sat towards the rear for most of the journey. He quickened nicely in the home straight and was already at the heels of PRESSURE when that one struck the front 250m out. Pressure fought on determinedly in the closing stages of the race and left the rest some seven lengths adrift. It was Vincent who finished best of all though and after striking the front 100m from home he went on to win going away.
The listed Champagne Stakes over 1200m topped the bill and in a race where four of the six runners were newcomers, the previously unraced SUPA ALPHA (18) opened his account. Sent off second favourite at 2/1, the son of Kitalpha raced up with the speed throughout. He began to assert his authority going through the 400m and in the style of a good sort he drew clear easily from there onwards to win by nine. Also worthy of note on this card was the performance of AUVERGNE (65) who showed big improvement when winning the non black type Breeders Sprint over 1400m. Another winner for the combination of Noelene Peech and Karis Teetan, Auvergne was in the rear when the race began in earnest. There was no real pace on for most of the trip though, and in what was a tightly bunched field, he soon began to make headway. SONIC BARRIER and SYRACUSE both in turn struck the front during the final 400m, but neither could hold on to Auvergne when he loomed alongside at the distance.
Former South African campaigner JUST JUDE ran on strongly from the rear when winning the MR75 Handicap over 1200m going away.
Gr1 Stable Exactas
Greyville 31st July: This was the meeting originally scheduled to take place on 30th July. The first of the four Gr1 events to be run at Greyville on Sunday was the Thekwini Stakes over 1600m and in what proved to be a real thriller victory here went to the Mike De Kock trained AMANEE (54). A stable companion to the 16/10 favourite ILHA BELA, Amanee found good outside support at the track and eventually left the stalls at 15/2 after opening up at 16/1. She was in the rear as the thirteen runners turned for home and at that stage had plenty to do. Along with the Gr1 Golden Slipper runner up FELIX THE CAT though, she ran on best of all at the business end of the race and after a thrilling tussle with that one she only got the verdict by a neck.
The Gr1 Premier’s Champion Stakes over 1600m was next up and in a time faster than that of Amanee, we saw a very gutsy performance from the highly regarded POTALA PALACE (68). Sent off third in the betting market at 9/2, Potala Palace was taken straight to the front by Gavin Lerena and led throughout. He kept on strongly in the straight and although both BEACON FLARE and the well supported favourite GIMMETHEGREENLIGHT both challenged strongly, he went on to win fair and square by a length.
The biggest upset of the afternoon came in the 3200m Gr1 Canon Gold Cup when the former Summer Cup winner ASLAN (92) registered his fifth career victory. Freely available at 45/1 on the off (op 16’s), the son of Silvano was always in touch with the leaders. He was ridden to lead shortly after passing the 200m marker and kept on strongly in the closing stages of the race to hold off a determined challenge from his slightly more fancied stable companion KOLKATA (35/1) by a half.
The Gr1 Champions Cup over 1800m was next up and here victory went to the Gavin Van Zyl trained THE APACHE (102). Nibbled at on course into 11/2 second favourite from 7/1, the Daily News winner raced in midfield during the early part of the race. He quickened with all his usual zest in the straight and after a thrilling tussle with his easy to back stable companion BULSARA (7/1 out to 13/1) late on, he only got the verdict by a neck.
CASTLETHORPE caught the eye running on strongly after being a little slow into stride and racing at the back, and would no doubt have finished closer than his 4,55 length seventh placing in the Champions Cup had he not been cramped 300m out.
A 3,25 lengths third in the listed Darley Arabian over 1900m, CODE ROCK also found traffic problems and would have finished much closer had he not been hampered twice.
Top speedratings for this weekend include:-Flamingo Park Race 1: (11) Fire Burning 14 (NAP*) Race 2: (2) Timber Baron 10 Race 3: (3) Timeofreckoning 57 Race 4: (2) Resume 35 Race 5: (11) Atomic Gold 33 Race 6: (4) Milvago 25 Race 7: (2) Island Prince 37 Race 8: (7) Shadow In The Wind 57 Race 9: (16) Bullion Fever 32 Turffontein Race 1: (3) Kentucky Sheik 16 Race 2: No Qualifiers Race 3: (2) What A Night 13 Race 4: (6) Strike Princess 64 Race 5: (9) Amatol 62 Race 6: (6) Mastende 40 Race 7: (8) Millennium Wind 69 Race 8: (14) Mabhalane 51 Vaal Race 1: (1) Sweet Charity 30 Race 2: (5) Penny Fare 22 (NAP*) Race 3: No Qualfiers Race 4: (8) Wishful Eye 87 Race 5: (7) Incomodo 87 Race 6: (7) Bambelela 83 Race 7: (8) Furling Sail 40 (EW) Race 8: (8) Waitangi 81 Race 9: (15) Empire Ruler 57 Clairwood Race 1: (17) You Are The One 12 Race 2: (10) Joshuas Crown 39 Race 3: (1) Count The Music 25 Race 4: (1) Atair 50 Race 5: (5) Warrior’s Walk 57 Race 6: (9) What’s Going On 77 Race 7: (7) Seven Network 49 Race 8: (12) Lucy Brown 45 Race 9: (3) Lady Tamara 21
Top rated winners last week includedFestival Spirit won 15/2 Platin won 3/1 Lancelin won 5/2 Tilman won 16/10 Beach Beauty won 1/1 Vincent won 8/10 La Promesa won 11/20 Black Thunder won 4/10
Notebook:-Go Indigo (L Erasmus, Gauteng) Potala Palace (M Azzie, Gauteng) Supa Alpha (S D’Aquino, Zimbabwe)
FASTEST TIMES(Shown in brackets is the number of races run in each category)
Turffontein 30th July Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (3) Shalako Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (5) Festival Spirit Fastest Long 1900-3600 (1) Winged Legend
Borrowdale Park 30th JulyFastest Sprint 1000-1300 (3) Just Jude Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (4) Domitian Way Fastest Long 1900-3600 (1) Vincent
Greyville 31st JulyFastest Sprint 1000-1300 (2) Tetelestai Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (6) Across The Ice Fastest Long 1900-3600 (4) Jet Jamboree