The Var Syndicate are the innovative sponsors of the R150 000 Var Need For Speed Sprint to be run over 1000m at Kenilworth on Saturday. Ten quickies go to post in a race that looks tailor-made for Dean Kannemeyer’s classy Cape Royal.
Besides re-investing into the sport of kings, the move by a syndicate of the owners of a leading sire to create interest and a focus on a generally neglected competition medium, is thought to be a world-first.
The result is that we have all become more appreciative of the entertainment value provided by the speed merchants and this is largely thanks to the Var hype and marketing efforts of those associated with the sire sensation.
This currently non black-type event will also hopefully be upgraded in the years ahead.
The son of Forest Wildcat is represented by three smart individuals in Casual Var, Gogotine and Gooi Mielies, but the added bonus of a Var win for the sponsors looks unlikely.
That is largely thanks to the presence of the outstanding Royal Academy 3yo, Cape Royal.
Dean Kannemeyer’s sprinter looks really well in on the weight terms here and beat three opponents in a canter at Kenilworth last Wednesday in a Graduation Plate. Sweep Forward, Panama Man and Code Of Honour were run off their feet by a colt that has not had the perfect Summer Season prep thanks to scaring off any prospective opposition along the way.
While he will doubtless still be off his peak come Saturday, he may prove a bit too classy for his nine opponents.
Cape Royal is a winner of 3 of his 6 starts and has recorded his best efforts over the course and distance. He looks to be too fast and talented for his opposition.
Justin Snaith’s Casual Var has won his last 3 starts on the trot and has to give Cape Royal 2 kgs- a task that may prove tough after a close to three month break.
Gavin Smith makes a rare raid from Port Elizabeth with the very quick Muscatt. The son of Victory Moon won his first two starts by a combined margin of 17,75 lengths and then may not have enjoyed the best of professional rides when beaten by Piere Strydom on November Rain at his third outing. Muscatt will be ridden by Aldo Domeyer here and could make his presence felt.
The other two visitors are the Dennis Drier coupling of Barbosa and Panama Man.
Barbosa is piloted by stable jockey Sean Cormack, and followed up on his Clairwood maiden win with an emphatic victory in his first Cape start. He beat subsequent good winner Western Movie in an MR 88 Handicap over Saturday’s course and distance. We may not yet have seen the full potential of this son of Captain Al.
Panama Man is a half kilo worse off with Cape Royal for a 2,50 length beating last Wednesday.
One of the fastest sons of stallion Doowaley, Glen Kotzen’s Kirtling Towers is a handsome strapping chestnut who has registered two solid seconds at his last two outings after being outclassed in the Cape Classic.
Carl Burger fields a three-way coupling in the bright yellow Van Huyssteen silks.
Western Movie looks the best of the trio and the son of Western Winter showed tremendous resolve when winning on the public holiday Monday meeting last week.
The gelding looked dead and buried at the 300m there, but rallied well under Sean Cormack to go on and beat Just Harry by 1,50 lengths
His grey stablemate Stormy Ridge has won two of his last three starts, but is held by Cape Royal on a line through Sweep Forward.
Gooi Mielies may find this tough.
Joey Ramsden’s Gogotine gets the blinkers for the first time and is a winner of 2 of his 4 starts. He may not have stayed the 1400m last time when fading out, and could appreciate the minimum trip.
Clearly the highest-rated horse and the class in the race, Cape Royal will be a good few notches fitter than at his last winning run a matter of ten days earlier.
He looks destined for bigger things and will be expected to win this race with something in hand.
There is plenty of speed elsewhere in the event, and the visiting trio of Muscatt, Barbosa and Panama Man may be the best of the rest.