Western Cape trainers will be aiming for a third straight win in Sunday’s R350 000 Gr3 Betting World Algoa Cup run over 2000m at Fairview. Excluding the Snaith yard, six genuine Cape-based horses make the trip and they look to hold the upper hand in a competitive contest.
Joey Ramsden trained the 2010 winner Hawk’s Eye, while Paddy Kruyer sent last year’s narrow winner Forest Of Dean to post. Neither yard has a runner this year, but Dean Kannemeyer, Glen Kotzen and Vaughan Marshall look to have the firepower to keep the flag flying.
The importance of the role of a strong racing operator and the involvement of sponsors is underlined by the fact this Gr3 event is run for a stake of R50 000 more than the higher ranked Gr2 Green Point Stakes run at Kenilworth on Saturday. The latter is classed as a major racing centre.
Phumelela Racing Executive Patrick Davis explained that the stake was boosted above the normal Gr3 level by the operator as the Algoa Cup, together with the East Cape Derby, are the two highlights of the year in PE.
Dean Kannemeyer makes a very rare visit to the Windy City with his very capable stayer Blake.
The son of Dynasty came into his own last season and put the cherry on the top of it all by running an outstanding third to his stablemate In Writing in the Ladbroke’s Gold Cup.
He was in dire need of his return run in the Settlers Trophy when fading to finish a tame fifth behind Jeppe’s Reef.
All of Blake’s five wins last season were from distances from 2400m to 2800m, and this trip should be considered on the short side of what he prefers. He has also drawn on the outside of the field, which won’t work in his favour.
Glen Kotzen sends out a coupling of former Green Point Stakes winner Fabiani and the good filly Beloved Betty.
Fabiani is a solid handicapper who appears to suffer serious unsoundness issues. He has won 6 of his 30 starts and has made regular trips up to the Eastern Cape over the last few seasons. Fabiani struck gold with a great win in the Memorial Mile over 1600m at Arlington in December.
He ran a very smart second at level weights behind Makzoos at this venue at his penultimate start over 1800m, before an understandably rather flat effort over a too-short 1400m behind Variety Club last time in that well-studied Pinnacle Stakes.
Fabiani has drawn well at 2 and represents a large portion of the class at the top of the handicap.
The Group-placed two-time winner Beloved Betty is one of the most unluckiest fillies in training and returned home in August from a fair Champions season campaign where she bumped some of the best of her sex.
Beloved Betty had a leg stretcher in the Diana Stakes where she never showed over a distance short of her best. She will strip fitter here six weeks on and represents a reasonable outside place bet up to Saftote’s fifth position.
Darryl Hodgson brings Hassen Adams’ Mystic Moon to Port Elizabeth. This son of Victory Moon won five of his first 12 starts and was touted as something special.
He has not won for over a year and will have to show serious improvement to feature.
Vaughan Marshall’s smart Captain Al gelding Hill Fifty Four has won 4 of his last 6 starts and looks a really smart sort in the making. He appears to hold Stan Elley’s Punta Arenas on their last clash. Unfortunately Hill Fifty Four has not drawn well, although jockey MJ Byleveld knows this track like the back of his hand.
Stan Elley’s Winter Derby winner Punta Arenas was beaten by the top-class Taipan in the recent Woolavington Handicap. The son of Silvano has won over 2000m, but appears at his best over 2400m and thus may be found flat-footed late.
Justin Snaith sends out recent facile winner Indian Hawk, the promising Jet Explorer and course and distance winner,Why Worry.
Indian Hawk was trumped by jockey Muzi Yeni last time to be the level of horse that could hold his own at any centre in the country. That is fighting talk from a jockey who gets back aboard here.
Indian Hawk won that MR 104 Handicap in facile fashion beating the likes of Blaze Of Fire, Parceval and Celtic Fire. This will be a different ball-game over 400m further but Indian Hawk looks equal to the test.
Jet Explorer gets the services of Piere Strydom, who returns to visit his family in his hometown.
This 4yo gelding has terrifically consistent recent form, and ran on well 1,25 lengths behind Hammie’s Dynasty in an MR 94 Handicap over 1800m at Kenilworth three weeks ago.
Jet Explorer tries the 2000m for the first time, but his racing style and the fact that his dam won at 2000m suggests that he should stay well. Strydom will get the best out of him.
Winter Classic winner Why Worry is thrown back into the deep end here and jumps from the rails draw with Glen Hatt up and a nice weight on his back.
As a course and distance winner he must be respected, and may not be the out and out stayer his trainer seems to believe he is.
The Yvette Bremner coupling of Celtic Fire and Blaze Of Fire must always be included in these races.
Blaze Of Fire particularly is in hot form after winning the Founders Trophy at the beginning of September. His best form is probably around 1400m, but he is obviously the stable elect in view of the riding arrangements.
Gavin Smith’s nine-time winning 7yo Makzoos appears to have lost his form recently.
Alan Greef’s October Club bounced back to his best when registering his twelfth career win over 2700m at his last start. He would prefer another 400m and one feels that MJ Byleveld may have had the choice between him and the Marshall runner.
The Tara Laing-trained Parceval looks like he is improving with every outing and won the Arlington 1800 at his penultimate start in great style. He meets Indian Hawk on 2kgs better terms than their last meeting when he went down by 5,75 lengths.
Parceval seldom runs a bad race and will be right there with a bit of luck in the running.
Mitch Wiese’s Australian-bred Shujaa has won his last three races on the trot from 1400m to 1800m.
Jacques Strydom’s Key Castle is now a 9yo and has his 73rd run. He almost upset the apple-cart when running Forest Of Dean to a short head at 50-1 last year. His recent form is not inspiring, and he is another who will enjoy more ground.
The Cape raiders won’t be visiting for the hospitality and clearly Blake and Fabiani represent the class. Blake is badly drawn and it is probably 400m short of his best. Fabiani has his own problems.
If they flop then Indian Hawk, Jet Explorer and Blaze Of Fire look the next best, together with Tara Laing’s very talented and consistent Parceval.
Exotic players may want to go wide.