Fact Not Fiction

MR96 Handicap at Turffontein on Saturday

Titano won going away last time out.

R96 Handicap over 1800m at Turffontein (inner) on Saturday With no black type on offer this weekend, it’s typical early season fare. A MR96 Handicap tops the bill at the Turffontein inner track on Saturday, and with serious question marks surrounding the better established runners, it could pay to look for improvers, writes Steve Furnish.

Just nine go to post and with the start of this 1800m event being at the top of the back straight, the draw should not be of any real significance.

D J Detzky

Heading the weights is the former Port Elizabeth campaigner D J Detzky. This son of Announce won five of his first eleven starts in that province and then went on to land the listed KZN Breeder’s Stakes over 1600m at Clairwood at the backend of the 2009/2010 season. He battled to find that good early form last season, his only win in ten starts coming in a conditions event. D J Detzky was shown no mercy by the official handicapper during the course of last season and when he won that conditions event he was raised 4 points. He would look to have little chance on that, especially as he was beaten out of sight in each of his first two starts after a break on his arrival in Gauteng. Those two outings were both on sand though, and when tried on turf in a similar event to that of today’s in his third run after a rest last time out, he did in our book run his best rating for a very long time.

Eddington has not won in 17 starts since landing the prestigious Gr1 Gommagomma Challenge in May ’08.


One of just two couplings in the race is that of Dominic Zaki. He saddles both Eddington and Echohawk.

Eddington showed real potential early on in his career and after running second in the Dingaan’s went on to land the Gr1 Gommagomma Challenge. Since winning that prestigious event way back in May ’08 though, this son of Model Man has failed to find the winner’s enclosure in 17 starts. Indeed, he’s not even filled a place in the Tifecta! Now rated 22 points lower in the handicap than he was then, Eddington has his third run after a rest here. He was beaten some 38 lengths last time out though and is perhaps best just watched for now.


As with his stable companion, Echohawk also has some very useful earlier form to his name. After finishing a very creditable three quarter length third to the very talented Pierre Jourdan in the Gr3 Tony Ruffel Stakes in February of last year though, he was off the track for over a year. He was clearly well below best in his first five outings after his return in March, but he did then show signs of life when just 2,2 lengths behind the rapidly improving House Of Wax in a similar event at the stand side track last time out. Now racing off a mark 19 points lower in the handicap than he was on his return to action in March, Echohawk is clearly exceptionally well weighted on his earlier form. He could pop up.

Tara’s Son

The most lightly raced runner in the field is the 4yo Tara’s Son. Ormond Ferraris’ charge was off laid off for some fourteen months shortly after winning a very moderate workrider’s maiden event over today’s course and distance in just his third career start in Feb ’10. He came to hand nicely on his return early this year though and in just his second start won the listed Sea Cottage Stakes, again over today’s trip. He’s failed to get within eight lengths of a winner in three starts since then though, and returning from another break here, one is not quite sure what to expect. A dark horse.


Erico Verdonese’s charge may not have proven to be the most consistent of characters thus far in his career, but he does undoubtedly have ability. He’s already found the winner’s enclosure six times and he did win going away when successful in his first start over today’s course and distance last time out. This son of Doowaley does now step up in class, but the manner of his latest success would suggest that there is more to come, and with question marks surrounding most of his rivals, he could, for the second time in his career, win two in a row.

Caribbean Coast

Veteran stable companion Caribbean Coast is without a win in thirteen starts now, but he does go well at this circuit and has regularly made the frame. He’s dropped seven points in the handicap during the course of 2011 and he did finish just 0,6 lengths behind Echohawk in that race won by House Of Wax when apprentice ridden last time out. Weichong Marwing takes the ride here. He has a shout.


Geoff Woodruff’s charge has shown his best form on the sand and at one time was rated 98 on that surface. He has also run some fair races on turf and earlier on in his career he was thought good enough to contest the Natal Derby. He was off the track for fifteen months after finishing well down field in the Aquanaut Handicap in Feb ’10, but did then come to hand nicely in his third run after the rest when winning over today’s distance on sand in June. He returns from another short break here and that has to be a concern. He does race here off a mark 5 points lower than that of his last effort on turf though, and if reproducing that latest sand run, he could be a threat.

Radiant Rock

Although Radiant Rock has not proven to be one of the better horses sired by Rock of Gibraltar, he can always be relied upon to give of his best. He’s rarely out of the frame and fully deserved his win over 2000m at the stand side track last time out. In the past he has battled to make his presence felt when stepped up in class as he is today. He is at the top of his game right now though and usually one to race up with the speed, he should be right there off just 52kg when the race begins in earnest.

American Gangsta

More often than not seen out on sand, Tyrone Zackey’s charge has not won on turf since picking up a MR71 Handicap over today’s course and distance way back in Oct ’09. He takes a big jump up in class here and in under sufferance to boot (even with apprentice Quale’s allowance), he is not easy to fancy.

About The Pace

Although just nine go to post, there is enough speed in the race to ensure at least a decent pace. Most would have a shout if finding there best form, but as already mentioned question marks are aplenty. The most likely improvers are Titano and Tara’s Son. Titano won well over the course and distance last time out and on that gets the vote.

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