From the Mountain

Gr3 East Cape Derby over 2400m on Sunday at Arlington

Tribal Dance - Derby type who tries ground for the first time

The Western Cape 3yo’s have an away game this weekend as they take on their Eastern Cape rivals on their Arlington home ground in what looks a fascinating Gr3 East Cape Derby. History shouts from the very extremities of Table Mountain that it should pay to side with one of the Mother City’s quartet.

The visiting Western Cape trainers really do have an outstanding record in this race with Joey Ramsden and Justin Snaith having won it twice each since 2005. Glen Kotzen and Brett Crawford make up the impressive six –from-seven record with a win apiece.

Those are big names in this game and we would suggest that the locals are going to have to pull something special out of the bag to withstand the foreign onslaught.

Lucky Number

The Windy City Warriors have the advantage in pure numbers with nine of the thirteen runners based in Port Elizabeth. But this is not always a numbers game and the four quality Western Cape three year olds that make the scenic ten hour road trip up the Garden Route hold the clues to unravelling the intrigue .

On the assumption that he travels well, Tribal Dance looks a logical first choice, particularly if the handicapper has judged the ratings correctly. This son of Tiger Dance is ironically and sadly yet another Roy Eckstein runner going in the right direction this season. Tales Of Bravery was an impressive winner of last Saturday’s Drill Hall Stakes and the same trainer and jockey combination travel to Port Elizabeth this Sunday to carry the bright yellow flag.

Tribal Dance has only raced seven times for one win, but his last two runs were extremely encouraging. And the form was made to look even better after Saturday’s Gr2 KRA Guineas at Greyville, where the outstanding miler Variety Club accounted for Jackson rather easily.
Tribal Dance ran a promising, albeit non-threatening, third 5,75 lengths off Jackson in the Investec Cape Derby on Met day. On the Cape’s big day he stayed on rather than dazzled, but it was his comeback run three weeks ago that spoke of better to come. He ran in the Winter Guineas over a mile and finished well to get within 2,25 lengths of Variety Club. Once again the sobering perspective of who finished behind him and how match fit Variety Club found himself should be mentioned. But it was over a distance patently short of what looks his ideal trip and he was running on. That speaks of well-being and he hails from a stable that is riding the crest of a wave.


Crown Of Gold

Tribal Dance’s dam won up to 2400m and he has all the looks of a Derby sort who probably wasn’t quite ready or good enough for the Western Cape version of the Classic. He takes a good few steps down here in genuine class and may well be equal to the task.
Joey Ramsden despatches a coupling. The one a career pacemaker innovatively baptised A Boy Named Sue and the other a fast improving Silvano gelding who is getting better and better by the month. This fellow’s name is Crown Of Gold and he is one of only three here to have won over the ground he travels on Sunday.
The other two that have proven credentials over this ground are A Boy Named Sue and the no-hoping filly Tiger’s Smile. By elimination that makes Crown Of Gold a very attractive proposition who has done little wrong since winning his maiden over 1800min February. He came out three weeks later and beat A Boy Named Sue going away over 2400m at Durbanville. At his last outing, Crown Of Gold made up yards to win an MR 79 Handicap over 2000m in good style against older horses.

Why are we so enthusiastic about Crown Of Gold? One only needs to take heed of his trainer’s comments after he won his maiden. The normally reserved Ramsden suggested then that we would see the best of Crown Of Gold in six months’ time after he had filled out and matured a little. Let’s assume he has improved even quicker. He also settles well and is a half-brother to the top-class Silver Mist.
JP van der Merwe deputises for regular pilot Glen Hatt who is suspended and having a small operation.

Ground Hog

A Boy Named Sue is the obvious pacemaker and this son of Caesour has come very well since trying ground. He has won two and is a perennial one-paced sort who stays all day. He could keep going when the heat is on over the final 200m of the short Arlington home run.

Justin Snaith has the benefit of a permanent satellite base in Port Elizabeth and the yard’s fortunes have lifted with the arrival of the experienced Juan Nel as his new assistant. Snaith takes his chances with the Casey Tibbs gelding Why Worry who was bumped when trying ground in January. That told us nothing as he never got into the race and finished seven lengths adrift. He did run an eyecatching third to the improved Laurie’s Gold over 1400m last month at Durbanville, but it is difficult to envisage him getting the better of our top two.

Vocal Local

The Port Elizabeth challenge is headed by Alan Greef’s Lord Badger who just appears to be getting better with racing. The son of Badger’s Drift has won five races and his last two on the trot. He won the Listed East Cape Guineas and a Derby Plate over 2000m last month and is a fit horse.

Being out of a Montjeu mare and with his style of running on late, he should enjoy the 400m extra here and jockey Warren Kennedy knows him well. He won his debut over 1000m and is maturing very fast.He has hardly had a break from racing of late and if not jaded he could go close. He is a really lovely courageous sort of horse.

Big Bird

Indian Hawk

Gavin Smith sends Indian Hawk to post and this son of Black Minnaloushe is very talented on his day. He was transferred up to Ivan Moore in KwaZulu-Natal and took his chances in the SA Classic at Turffontein where he ran thirteen lengths behind the luckless Slumdogmillionaire. He then ran third behind Lord Badger in the Derby Plate back home in April. There is no evidence that he stays this far and his tough recent programme is a cause for some concern.

The Victory Moon colt Blaze Of Fire had won four of his fifteen starts before his connections took their chances with a bash at the SA Derby two weeks ago. He finished nine lengths behind Pomodoro after showing up promisingly late in the race. It seems a big ask getting him to run another Derby in a different province so soon. Mind you, would Yvette Bremner risk a promising young horse if she didn’t believe he could do it?

Hekkie Strydom’s Act Of Supremeacy started his career with a bang winning his first two starts and even conquering the champion juvenile of last season In A Rush in the process.

He ironically hasn’t won for almost a year and while he runs on and knocks regularly, having run five places, the door remains shut and he is struggling for that third win. One wouldn’t have thought that when he was being spoken about as being worth huge sums of money at one point , and this R22 000 Vintage bargain buy needs to prove that he wasn’t just a precocious young upstart.

Dig This

Mitch Wiese’s Classic Flag colt Forest Digger is a four time winner, but ran disappointingly last time when running a lukewarm fifth four lengths behind Lord Badger when very fancied to win that Derby Plate. He was worryingly one-paced late that day and while he may not have been feeling up to it, he probably warrants another chance. Although we don’t see him getting the better of Lord Badger.

Poulnabrone is a three time winner who shows flashes of good ability and while we are inclined to label him a touch outclassed here, he could sneak a place. He has won all of his races at this track.

Grant Paddock’s Sunny Spain flew up late at 12-1 in the Derby Plate won by Lord Badger and is difficult to assess as he only won his maiden at his previous start. On paper he won’t stay this trip, being by Cataloochee out of a Keefah mare who only won up to a mile. But he could be anything and horses can make fools of us.

Girls, Girls

The two fillies look rather optimistic entries. Jacques Strydom’s Can Do is game and while she shed her maiden over 1000m, her racing style indicates she may be finishing well. That is if she stays this trip. She did run on well last time behind shock winner Alvilda in the Oaks Plate over 1800m, but she looks hard pressed to make her presence felt against the better boys on these weight terms.
Tiger’s Smile definitely stays this trip, but ran a shocker in the Oaks Plate last time out when finishing 18 lengths behind. She should start any price and deservedly so.

Summing Up

An unbiased selection points to the Capetonians fighting this out. Tribal Dance has a touch of class about him but lacks Crown Of Gold’s experience. And Joey Ramsden goes for a double after Vengence won it last year in the boardroom. Vaughan Marshall’s stable is red hot though.We hope that this one is decided on the turf and without the interference of men in suits. It looks like it will all come down to a bit of luck in the running and whoever gets that crucial first run turning for home. We suggest Tribal Dance to pip Crown Of Gold with A Boy Named Sue hanging on for third.

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