Fourie’s Festival Five

Fairview 21 October

On Fire! Richard Fourie rode five winners at Fairview.

The Western Cape visitors overwhelmed the local challenge on the first day of the Eastern Cape’s Festival Of Racing on 21 October. Justin Snaith and Richard Fourie were the individual Victor Ludorums winning five races on the card, with a Drakenstein Stud-bred slamming a smart field in the Listed Racing Association Stakes.

Changingoftheguard was a first stakes winner for Lammerskraal Deputy Minister stallion Go Deputy, who is starting to look genuine value for his R10 000 service fee.

It was the Snaiths third winner and second feature race winner for Team Valor International  in the space of less than a week after the champion Ebony Flyer had gotten the snowball rolling in the Gr3 Diana Stakes at Durbanville last Saturday. The fact that they send out fifteen runners on Sunday on the second day of the Festival must be a frightening thought for opposition trainers.

Changingoftheguard was a low-key entrant in the feature event after having had just two career runs for Neil Bruss in KZN before relocating to the Snaiths. He had not run since winning his maiden in Mid-June and although receiving up to six kilos from local champion In A Rush, looked hard pressed to win this.  But he won it with contemptuous ease.

Muzi Yeni positioned In A Rush in a great striking position as his stablemate Solar Charged made the pace. With 400m to go Yeni asked the Gavin Smith star for an effort and he moved up the middle with his familiar gait and giant stride looking ominously threatening. Richard Fourie had other ideas though and he skipped away from his field as Changingoftheguard doddled in to beat a flying Act Of Supremacy, who was sweated up in the preliminaries. The Cape challenger Agarkar also flew late to pip In A Rush,  who appeared one-paced late and gamely clung to the back end of the stake cheque queue.   

Feature Winner. Changingoftheguard looks a top sort in the making.

How good is he? Notably the least experienced colt in this feature and he was receiving considerable weight from the better rated locals. But he won so readily it is difficult to see them reversing it with him soon and it was a sobering afternoon for the Eastern Cape hopes who were brought down to earth with a bang. The three-time winning Lord Badger struggled in his step up in class but may be better over a bit more ground. In A Rush appeared to have every chance but has not yet carried his earlier career explosive sprinting displays through to his three year old season.

Richard Fourie must take much of the credit for the other four Snaith winners as none of them won with the casual ease of Changingoftheguard.They started the day on a positive note when Fourie got the better of a duel with Derreck David in the Maiden Plate over a mile. Avilda had not shown much in five career outings but Fourie got her over from her 18 draw and she showed courage when fighting off Red Scent, who also jumped from a wide draw.

The promising Amber Palace was backed into the red to win the third, a Graduation Plate over 1400m. But the highly-rated son of Dynasty made heavy weather of beating the older horses and it was only Fourie’s professional coaxing that kept him in front of Mister Gone and a flying September Morn. Amber Palace is going to have to lift his game if his connections have any classic aspirations with him. The consistent grey son of Spectrum Apolo Grey was rewarded with a smart win in the MR90 Handicap over 1000m. Jella Loochee made the pace as usual, but has lost the plot after a great start to his career and fell away as the seven-time winner Finance Minister looked threatening. Apolo Grey finished well though to beat a nice field of speedsters.

Fourie and Snaith closed the day as they had begun it – with a great win from a bad draw. The Casey Tibbs gelding Why Worry was given a chance early on in the Novice Plate over 2000m as the free running Her Perogative made the pace.  When asked for his effort halfway up the home straight, he drew clear to win easily. Roused ran on best of the rest for second, while the Stage Call filly Marionette caught the eye with a great post-maiden effort in third.

No Whinge. Glen Kotzen trained Mary Hinge to win the seventh race.

In an unusual twist, local top dogs Gavin Smith and Alan Greeff went home without a winner’s cheque and Grant Paddock and Yvette Bremner were the only local trainers to have a say on the day with a win each. Paarl-based Glen Kotzen won the seventh race and thus made it six out of eight for the visitors. The game Second Empire filly Mary Hinge runs in the interests of Sue Whitmore and Judy Wintle and she was nicely positioned just behind the leader by Sean Cormack in the Conditions Plate over 2400m. Richard Fourie shrewdly dictated a slow pace on the Snaith’s Audrey Rose, but this tactic was not to prove effective.  Entering the final 300m Mary Hinge stayed on best and drew clear to win easily and give Cormack and Kotzen a welcome winner after a quiet spell. This was her fourth win from thirteen starts and the awkwardly name lady has now earned over R200 000 in stakes.

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