Disappointing General Franco – ‘No Excuses’

KZN knockout - what's the point of Barrier Trials?

Punters took a few body blows early on in both regional Bipot bets on Saturday, with the red hot odds-on favourite General Franco running a dismal last in the Kenilworth opener.

After a scintillating debut, General Franco was tough to punt at 7-20 but was last for most of the trip – and that was where he stayed, finishing 5,75 lengths back in the small field under Greg Cheyne.

A naturally disappointed Snaith Racing spokesman Jonathan Snaith said that there were no real excuses that they could put their finger on at this stage for the poor effort.

“There wasn’t much pace – and the jockey found him pulling early. Greg Cheyne also said he felt like something was amiss in running and he was beaten a long way out . He seemed fine when we checked him after the race. He was given every chance and we’d rather not make excuses. He will be assessed tomorrow and if there is anything to report, we will do so. I’m sure he will bounce back to his best next time,” added Jonathan.

MJ Byleveld keeps Fearless Warrior at his task to hold Ossie Noach on Double Alliance(Pic – Chase Liebenberg Photography)

On the flipside of the coin, Vaughan Marshall’s Fearless Warrior was full of zest and vigour and the Klawervlei Stud-bred colt, who was Vercingetorix’ first winner back in mid December, stayed on powerfully to beat Double Alliance by three quarters of a length, with the favourite’s stablemate Marco Polo a further 1,75 length back in third.

Bred by John Koster, who was part of the breeding team who produced Vercingetorix, the winner made it two wins from three jumps and is out of Captain Al three-time winner War Path. He cost R275 000 on the 2018 CTS April Yearling Sale.

Vercingetorix, who produced his first Gr3 winner via African Warrior in the Godolphin Barb just weeks ago, was Equus Champion of 2012-2013 and was unbeaten in South Africa where he won both the Gr1 Daily News 2000 and Gr2 KZN Guineas.

Exported to Dubai, Vercingetorix won the Gr1 Jebel Hatta and Gr2 Al Rashidiya and also finished second in the Gr1 Dubai Duty Free where he accounted for the international Gr1 winners Dank,  Mshawish, Hunter’s Light and The Fugue.

The Greyville Bipot opener also delivered a knockout for punters and produced a minimum dividend of R16, when the longshot Oratorio debutante Mary O, who was beaten over 6 lengths in her barrier trial exploded through to beat the Hill family trained Electric Surge.

With the well supported, but poorly drawn favourite Innogen running a cracking third in her barrier trial, and favourite Lady Caroline Lamb winning hers like a star from fellow contestants Wintertime and Preferential – both in single figures – the genuine value of the barrier trials once as a punting tool once again came under the spotlight.

The Sporting Post has previously drawn the first-timer comment aspect to the attention of seemingly deaf ears – with certain individual trainers being willing to speak, but the system failing to deliver a genuine friendly solution for the end-user.

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