The Spirit Of Speed

Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint at Scottsville today

Here Comes Billy wins at Vaal on 2013-08-31

Topweight Here Comes Billy ran a great race in the Drill Hall Stakes and is an accomplished sprinter

The R750 000 Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint hosts an exciting showdown of our sprinting big guns as the feature attraction on Scottsville’s biggest day of the year. The race looks wide open with plenty of class at play. With the added leveller of this unique track, it should provide for spectacular entertainment.

Only good horses win this event and the honour roll is well endowed with some of our great names over the past few decades.
One of the secrets to success is that being armed with the attribute of speed alone is insufficient weaponry for this war. Victory requires more.

Like serious ability, a big heart, jockeyship and of course the inevitable unknown of luck in running. The draws are expected to favour the inside runners. Last year’s winner Contador is back. He won it from a 5 draw in a field of 16. But good horses overcome obstacles.

Value Bet

The best evidence of how open the race is probably lies in the fact that our highest rated runner Regal Eagle is likely to start at generous double figure odds.

The son of Silvano comes in with a galloping weight, jumps from a reasonable draw and has proven ability over the course and distance.
A winner of 5 of his 10 starts, he has failed to show at his last two outings but will strip fit at his third run after a rest here and cannot be left out.


Red Ray wins at Kenilworth on 13-10-26

The boom 3yo Red Ray is the choice of Anton Marcus and is reported to be fit and ready to win

An interesting attraction and crowd puller will be the return to match action of Joey Ramsden’s boom colt, Red Ray. Anton Marcus had choices and opted to ride him.  So a big tick in the right box there.

The 3yo son of Western Winter returns after a 17 week break following his second behind Via Africa in the Cape Flying Championship at end of January.

Joey Ramsden went on record recently: “Red Ray has been doing well and I’m hoping that he won’t prove to have needed the run. He can be a bit lazy so I am sure he will come on from it but we have got quite a lot of work into him.”

Red Ray is one of a group of three 3yo’s in the field and with this age group having won seven of the last nine runnings, it is worth sitting up and taking some notice.

Red Ray’s stablemate Happy Forever was only just over 4 lengths off Copper Parade in the Computaform Sprint. The son of Var has a fifty percent career win strike rate and will be right there on his best form if turning up sound.


Weiho Marwing’s Here Comes Billy carries topweight and the game son of Muhtafal ran a cracking fourth in the Drill Hall Stakes behind the brilliant Beach Beauty. He is first and foremost a class sprinter though with a thundering burst of acceleration that will stand him in good stead here. We expect him to be competitive despite the weight burden.

Var Duo

Charles Laird saddles the Var coupling of last year’s winner Contador and the recent In Full Flight Handicap winner, Normanz. With Anton Marcus having opted to ride Red Ray, it is not difficult deciding where our favour lies. Contador is set to lump 6kgs more this year but has won 3 of his last 4 starts and is in top form. Normanz is the lightest weighted of the 3yo’s and bounced back with a smooth win in the In Full Flight Handicap last time.

Alec’s Hope

Chekilli wins at Turffontein 2014-01-21

Alec Laird’s pacy Chekilli will enjoy dropping in trip

Alec Laird’s Chekilli is the third of the 3yo trio. The son of Greys Inn ran poorly in the KRA Guineas after showing pace. He will enjoy the reversion to this trip. He has plenty of toe and will make them gallop if sufficiently recovered from the Guineas debacle.

Trainer Sean Tarry continues with Whiteline Fever’s trip to the July and the son of Right Approach may well be worth a second look. Piere Strydom rides him again and he was only nabbed late by Snowdon over the same trip last time. The Scottsville track could suit him nicely.

Dennis Drier’s Barbosa showed for a long way when holding on for second in the Listed In Full Flight Handicap last time out. He failed in this race as a 3yo last year when 8 lengths off the winner, but has matured nicely and warrants consideration.

Snowdon tries again after finishing over ten lengths behind Contador last year. He is fit and well having won his last start, and is always capable of earning place money.

Bass Bombs

Mike Bass saddles Tevez and Castlethorpe. Tevez is 3,5kgs better off with Red Ray for a length beating in the Cape Flying Championship and has the same advantage over Normanz for a 2,50 length beating last time.

The in and out Castlethorpe ran on best of all in the Listed In Full Flight Handicap last time and gets the services of the top class Kevin Shea.
He only ran just over two lengths off Delago Deluxe in this race two years back, and now gets what is probably his last chance to win a Gr1.


Patt Lunn’s Mr Whatever ran an awful race in the Computaform Sprint and will need to up his game to have any chance here. Justin Snaith’s Readyto-gorightnow returns from a rest of close on a year. The son of More Than Ready won the first two legs of the 2013 Cape winter Triple Crown. He shed his maiden over this trip and the betting could be the best guide as to his fitness. He is drawn against the paint. Piano Man and Lake Arthur look somewhat outclassed.

Centre Of Speed

Scottsville Racecourse in Pietermaritzburg, the centre of speed in South African racing, hosts the Golden Horse Sprint race day for the 52nd time on Saturday.

The venue has been a focal point of South African racing innovation over the years with the country’s very first Jackpot being staged there as well as the first international jockey challenge. The R750 000 Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint was also the very first sponsored race in South Africa when it was first run as the Gilbey’s Stakes in 1962.

Unique in South Africa as the only meeting staging a Jackpot of four Grade 1 races and for many years the only meeting boasting four Grade 1 races on the card, the first running of the Golden Horse Sprint was such a major success that the two juvenile races, the R600 000, Grade 1 Allan Robertson Championship and the R600 000, Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Medallion – the latter starting life as the Smirnoff Plate – were introduced to the programme the following year.

In 1971, the Gr 1 South African Fillies Sprint was added to complete the Grade 1 quartet. Initially run as the Natal Fillies Sprint and making its appearance on the programme for the first time with a stake of R5 000, this weight-for-age race for fillies and mares is the ultimate test for the ladies on the South African calendar. The status of the race was upgraded in 1984 when it became the South African Fillies Sprint and has carried Grade 1 status for some years.

The Allan Robertson Championship was first run in 1964 as the Breeders Champion Fillies Stakes and is the top sprint for juvenile fillies in the country. The name was changed to the Allan Robertson Championship in 1974 in honour of Mr Allan Robertson, who founded the Thoroughbred Breeders Association of South Africa.

Great names of horses, jockeys and trainers have been associated with the winners of this race including Charlie Barends, Michael Roberts, Herman Brown senior, Terrance Millard, David Payne, the late Aubrey Roberts and Johnny Dawson who all won the race more than once.

The Tsogo Sun Medallion was first run in 1963 as the Smirnoff Plate and is the top two-year-old sprint in the country. Some of the finest speed horses in the land have added their names to the roll of honour. Among them was one of the most magnificent thoroughbred specimens bred in South Africa, National Currency, who went on to beat some of the world’s best in Dubai.

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