Seal Dives For Gold

Gr2 Gold Bowl, at Turffontein on Saturday


Marathon Magic. Gavin Van Zyl’s Seal is a top quality stayer who could have the measure of his opposition in Saturday’s Gr2 Gold Bowl

Seal has fast earned himself the title of something of a minor Superman of the South African staying ranks. The 2011 Gr1 SA Derby winner has hit peak form as a 5yo and won 3 of his five races this year over a combined distance of close on 13km! Will that count for or against him in Saturday’s R500 000 Gr2 Gold Bowl to be run over the Turffontein 3200m?

Trainer Gavin Van Zyl is obviously proud of the achievements of his son Chesney. The young man has shown maturity beyond his years while managing the Van Zyl Gauteng satellite base, and he was the subject of jockey Piere Strydom’s glowing commendation after Seal’s gallant last win.

Great Feat

Strydom suggested that it was quite some feat of horsemanship as to how the Van Zyl team kept the big stayer on song for an extended period of time. The son of Silvano has certainly had a tough programme. He is a winner of 8 races from his 30 starts, and he Strydom and Van Zyl have developed into a combination to be taken very seriously over ground.

Seal won the Listed Aquanaut Handicap three starts back, and then was a trifle unlucky to find Masai Warrior in a galloping mood in the Caradoc Gold Cup. He won a slowly run Pinnacle Stakes over 2600m last time and is a fit horse.

Seal finished only 2,50 lengths behind In Writing in last year’s Gr1 Ladbroke’s Gold Cup, and definitely stays the 3200m trip. But it is sobering that on paper at least, Masai Warrior has his measure.

Better Off

On Saturday Masai Warrior is 2,5kgs better off with Seal. Mike Azzie’s Wolfhound gelding popped out of the shadows to spring a surprise 0,75 length win over Seal in the Caradoc Gold Cup, when receiving 3kgs from him.That was Masai Warrior’s first glimmer of form in quite some time, and he tries 3200m for the first time in his career.

Tale Of Woe

Mike De Kock’s Canterbury Tale is marginally in under sufferance here, and ran a downright awful race when finishing many lengths behind in the Caradoc Gold Cup.

Prior to that he ran a 0,75 length behind Seal in the Aquanaut Handicap, and is now 1,5kgs worse off with Seal. Canterbury Tale will have to up his game, but he is worth including in larger permutations.

Another in under sufferance is Luminous Love,who has had his fair share of trainers, including Mike Bass in Cape Town and then moving to Geoff Woodruff.

He campaigns out of the Sean Tarry yard these days and the 5yo son of Count Dubois suffered bad luck last week in a 2000m handicap at the Vaal, when moving through like a winner down the rail, before being done in by a rider in front of him. He finished 1,50 lengths behind and it is pure conjecture whether he would have won or not, but things really hardly went his way after jockey Simons also weighed out a half kilo overweight on him.(Stipes Report note:At approximately the 150 metre mark TEQUILA SUNRISE (R Danielson) shifted in, resulting in LUMINOUS LOVE (R Simons) becoming cramped for galloping room, being forced to ease and switch out for a clear run. An inquiry will be held into this incident.)


The sole out of province raider is Duncan Howells’ lovely grey Knight To Remember who comes off an unplaced run in the Easter Handicap.He finished only 2,35 lengths behind Roman Wall after a six week break.

The Ashburton based gelding, the 2011 KZN 2000m Chapter Challenge winner, has been rather lightly raced since being touted a promising stayer earlier in his career. He has a fine record of 6 wins from 18 starts though, and if not lacking race fitness could challenge.

The Corne Spies coupling of Heyouneverknow and Campo De Santana inspire little confidence. Beyond match fitness. That won’t be enough to beat the better ones.

Weiho Marwing’s Avenue Of Gold faded badly in the Caradoc Gold Cup and finished a forty length last there. As a course and distance winner she must be considered for a place cheque, but will not be allowed to run free in front against this level of opposition.

Rhythmic Roxy hails from the red hot Woodruff yard. The daughter of Requiem has won 3 races from her 13 starts and won the Sun Chariot, before running a nice third on soft ground behind Salutation in the Listed Spook Express a fortnight ago. Her half brother by Shalford, Chico Azul, is a fair stayer and she may enjoy the 3200m trip.

Gallant Girl

Sunningdale is a gallant 7yo mare that formerly campaigned out of the Lafferty yard in KZN. Now with David Niewenhuizen, she is 3kgs worse off with Masai Warrior for a 4,75 length beating. Sunningdale has won 5 of her 55 starts, but just never seems to be able to get there. Particularly against the males.

Spike Lerena’s 4yo two time winner Changing Moon has not won in ages and is another who goes the long way round for the first time in his career. He is out of a Badger Land mare, so should not lack for puff, but quite frankly looks outclassed and out of his league.


Seal has bigger fish to fry down Champions Season way but in what should be a fascinating race, he is selected to hold Luminous Love with Canterbury Tale chasing the minor money.

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