Glen Kotzen’s Fabiani bounced back from a break of close on a year to win at Kenilworth on 9 November and in so doing downing the fancied Lake Arthur and disproving the theory that penalty kicks exist in this game. With Tabgold, Saftote and Tellytrack all showing different Place Accumulator dividends going into the final leg, it was just another lack of attention to detail that added to a frustrating day at the office for punters.
Competitive racing and close finishes that didn’t always go the way of the favourites characterised an unseasonally wintry afternoon at Kenilworth. And then there was the small matter of those irritating projected dividend discrepancies.
Part of the fun and excitement of gambling is the anticipation that goes with calculating the growth of one’s exotic investment over the course of the race-meeting. This applies particularly to Place Accumulator punters who go through the mathematical emotional roller-coaster of profits and losses as they recalculate their progress-or lack of it – race by race. It is alarming to observe that Saftote and the operators have not bought into this simple customer service ethic by ensuring that dividends are accurate and uniform. It is quite unforgivable in this day and age to have three varying dividends issued by three different and accredited sources. It simply tells a story of serious management and process issues – and if they can’t get this simple aspect right, then we really are doomed. It is a disgrace.
Veteran jockey Karl Neisius would have felt like an assistant in a second-hand shop after a frustrating afternoon that saw him ride three second places, and this on horses that he would have probably expected to have won on. In the first race, a Maiden Plate over 1400m, he looked to have the race sewn up entering the final 200m on the Mike Bass-trained Daily Flight, but had not reckoned on the determination of a revitalised Brandon Morgenrood. The heavyweight jockey rode a peach of a race on Plattner Racing’s Kahal filly Lady Daylight, who flew late under a well-timed beautifully balanced ride. Brandon deserves all the chances he is getting with the Govender yard and he is growing in confidence.
That said, he was very optimistic in the first race winning interview about the chances of the Plattner’s Lake Arthur in the second race. The field had been reduced to just four runners and Morgenrood said that based on his work, Lake Arthur was a ‘penalty kick.’ How wrong he was about Glen Hatt’s highly vaunted ride! After Final Button had made the pace in the Progress Plate over a mile, Lake Arthur moved up looking a winner – until Sean Cormack unleashed a terrific burst from Fabiani on the outside. The son of Model Man looks on course for another crack at the J&B Met and while he beat only three horses, he looked full of zest for his racing and can run with the best on his day. As for Final Button? Well the son of Tiger Ridge had every chance and showed nothing when it counted. He has not carried his juvenile form through to this season and he needs to prove himself again.
Chris Puller made a welcome return to the winner’s enclosure when piloting Bill Prestage’s grey flyer Born To Be Wild to a most impressive win in the MR 74 Handicap over 2400m. The origins and story behind this shrewdly bought Aussie bred son of Ferocity have been well covered in these pages and he looks a horse with a bright future. He was winning his second race from four starts and showed the trait of class by winning over 1200m on debut – and then winning over double the trip at just his fourth outing today. He also appears to have overcome his starting stall behavioural issues and he will win his way through the divisions over ground, based on what he showed us today. Luno ran his usual game race under Neisius to plod on for his third successive second place over ground. If any horse deserves a second win it is the Drakenstein Stud owned and bred son of Victory Moon!
Justin Snaith and Felix Coetzee enjoyed a double on the afternoon. The first of these was with Eddie Powell’s Victory Moon colt Great Fox who dropped down in class after a great effort behind Depardieu in the Gr3 Cape Classic. Coetzee tracked the leader Ship’s Master in the Novice Plate over 1200m before grabbing first run on the highly trumped Kingslayer and Karl Neisius. The Dean Kannemeyer trained Rock Of Gibraltar colt had won over this course and distance on debut and was expected to go in here. But a lack of match fitness and a need for another few hundred meters probably counted against him amongst the better opposition here as he moved through his field smoothly and looked a winner late. He should make amends next time and will only be better for this run.
Count Dumani made the pace in the sixth race, a rather weak looking MR70 Handicap over 1800m. He fell away as the field turned for home and after Barossa Valley had looked dangerous, it was Justin Snaith’s Gin And Tonic who bounced clear under Coetzee, to win unextended.The son of Fort Wood had travelled all the way to Fairview in Port Elizabeth to shed his maiden certificate two runs back. He beat a long- battling maiden called Detective Barnaby that day and it just goes to show that horses can improve and that the PE form should not always be rejected as sub-standard.