Gr2 Victory Moon – last Friday at Turffontein
Smanjemanje put several Sansui Summer Cup hopefuls to the sword in no uncertain fashion when he returned from a five month lay-off to spring a 33/1 surprise in the Victory Moon Stakes on Friday night, writes MATTHEW LIPS.
Racing for the first time after being gelded, Smanjemanje didn’t merely win this conditions event over 1800m on the Turffontein standside course, he turned it into one-way traffic when scoring by almost four lengths and connections had to put a brave face on the fact that their five-year-old is not amongst the nominations for the Summer Cup on November 26th.
Perana had not won a race since he captured this event in somewhat bizarre circumstances twelve months earlier, but an encouraging seasonal debut on the inner course in October suggested he was on the comeback trail and he went off as the 33/10 favourite in a field reduced to 15 by the late scratching of his stable companion Berry Blaze. Soul Master had won the October race in which Perana finished third and was the 4/1 second favourite, attracting considerable support which was at least partly inspired by Geoff Woodruff’s gelding now facing Perana on 1 kg better terms. Sage Throne was supported from an ante-post call of 20/1 to start as a 6/1 chance, while consistent Ice A xe and dual Gr1 winner The Apache (who was making his seasonal reappearance) also having their backers.
Seal hopped out in front, but soon settled into second spot as House Of Wax set off to set a reasonable pace on perfect ground, with Ice Axe and Smanjemanje next in line. Perena and Sage Throne were waited with in the main group as The Apache raced amongst the backmarkers in his usual fashion. Ilsanpietro and Regal Ransom brought up the rear turning for home. The Apache’s stable companion Seal came forward to reclaim the advantage in the straight, with Ice Axe still right in contention, but both were under pressure more than 200m out.
With Perana compounding to a virtual walk and eventually finishing tailed off last, and with Soul Master not quickening when asked for an effort, it was Smanjemanje who took advantage of the golden opportunity which presented itself. Leading around a furlong out, he stretched right away from his field to win by 3.75 lengths under young Cape Town-based rider Grant van Niekerk, who was deputising for the injured Randall Simons. Ilsanpietro and The Apache ran on very strongly from near the tail of the field to respectively finish second and third, with a neck separating them. Captain Scott had every chance before he finished another three-quarters of a length away in fourth, with Soul Master and Ice Axe respectively fifth and sixth as Perana flopped over the line 34 lengths behind the winner. Sage Throne never featured and was beaten 8.5 lengths into eighth place.
The Apache put up a highly promising effort under 62 kgs in his first start since he won the Gr1 Champions Cup at Greyville on the final day of last season and will be amongst the main fancies for the Summer Cup. Gavin van Zyl’s four-year-old met Smanjemanje on 2.5 kgs worse terms than in a handicap and on that basis could be argued to have virtually run to form, but he can come on from this run and will warrant healthy respect on November 26th even if his 114 merit rating won’t make his life straight forward on the handicap terms of the Summer Cup. Ilsanpietro also ran a blinder for a horse who has never won over less than 2000m and who is widely acknowledged as being one of the best long distance specialists in training, but Soul Master didn’t do his Summer Cup prospects any favours even if he did have a poor draw to deal with here.
Smanjemanje is trained by Tyrone Zackey, who was winning his second Graded race in less than a week after sending Katy’s Lane out to win a Gr3 on the same course six days earlier. According to Smanjemanje’s co-owner George Barker, Zackey was reluctant to geld the horse but eventually the deed was done in August of this year and the result was plain to see. The Summer Cup may be off the table for Smanjemanje, but there could be other decent races to be won with him if he can be kept in this sort of form, although according to his trainer he does have his niggling problems. For all that, he has run well in defeat in Graded races before now and got to within half-a-length of Captain’s Wild in the Gr2 Colorado King Stakes last April, so it was always on the cards that Smanjemanje would pick up a black type race one day.
Smanjemanje is a son of leading KZN stallion Kahal and is the second foal and second winner of Model Man mare In Style, who won two races over 1800/2000m. Bred by Summerhill Stud and acquired for R210 000 at the 2008 Ready To Run Sale, he has won four times from 32 starts and earned R601 750 in stakes.
The Citizen Victory Moon S. (SAf-G2) (11/11)
Turffontein, South Africa, November 11, R300.000, 1800m, turf, good, 1.48.29 ncr (CR 1.48.92).
SMANJEMANJE (SAF), 51.0, b g 5, Kahal (GB) – In Style (SAF) by Model Man (SAF). Owner G Barker and Mr K P & Mrs N M Backos; breeder Summerhill Stud (SAF); trainer T Zackey; jockey R Simons (R187.500)
Ilsanpietro (BRZ), 60.0, b g 5, Mark Of Esteem (IRE) – My Little Life (BRZ) by Ghadeer (FR)
The Apache (SAF), 62.0, b c 4, Mogok – Apache Rose (SAF) by Dolpour (IRE)
Margins: 3¾, nk, ¾
Also ran: Captain Scott (SAF) 51.0, Soul Master (SAF) 51.0, Ice Axe (SAF) 54.0, Rudra (SAF) 60.0, Sage Throne (SAF) 51.0, Seal (SAF) 59.0, Aslan (SAF) 56.0, Dark Wind (SAF) 51.0, Regal Ransom (SAF) 56.0, House Of Wax (SAF) 51.0, Sidera (AUS) 50.0, Perana (AUS) 55.0