Heel Against The Head

Gr3 Diana Stakes at Durbanville on Saturday

Hammie's Hooker

Overdue. The high quality Hammie’s Hooker looks a big runner in Saturday’s Gr3 Diana Stakes

Trainer Mike Bass has to go back seven years to the victory of the brilliant Sun Classique, to recall his last taste of Gr3 Diana Stakes champagne. The veteran Milnerton conditioner has a very strong hand in the R150 000 WFA feature this year with a powerful trio of runners.

Pure statistics tell a story of dominance by another powerful Cape yard in this feature. Current Cape champion trainer Justin Snaith has won three of the last four runnings of the Diana Stakes, and was only outdone narrowly last year by Piet Steyn’s Super Elegant, who upset the applecart. Snaith’s duo will give Bass plenty of headaches and strategical considerations, come Saturday.

Top Player

Bass sends out the highest rated runner in the small field. The Trippi 4yo Hammie’s Hooker has earned her high credentials by virtue of some excellent Group race efforts in the Cape summer. This included a forward third behind Blueridge Mountain in the Gr1 Majorca Stakes.

She returned after a five month break at the beginning of last month and was only held by a whisker by her stablemate Intimateconnection. Hammies Hooker now meets her conqueror on on 9,5kgs better terms. She would only need to recapture the brilliance of her multiple feature winning trot of five wins as a 2yo, to resume her winning ways here.

Night Attack

Fly By Night

Consistent. The Jet Master filly Fly By Night bids for her first win beyond 1200m when she contests the Gr3 Diana Stakes

A solid support arm for the Bass attack is the Jet Master filly Fly By Night, who gets stretched 200m after registering her two career wins down the Kenilworth sprint track. Not having run for seven weeks, since a 4,25 length fifth behind the brilliant Princess Victoria in the Gr3 Champagne Stakes, Fly By Night may just need the outing.

The Lake Coniston filly Intimateconnection is the third of the Bass runners. The Riverton Stud bred 4yo is all heart and is bang in form, having won her last two starts. The course and distance winner looks a little outclassed and outgunned at these terms, and could battle to earn in this company.

Top Record

Jet Supreme

Rested. Justin Snaith’s Jet Supreme has shown good ability but may just need the outing

Justin Snaith has a terrific record in fillies features and the two smart 4yo’s Jet Supreme and Captainofmysoul, would both be worthy winners. Jet Supreme is the ride of stable jockey Richard Fourie and returns from an unplaced, but not disgraced effort behind Do You Remember in the Gr1 Woolavington. The Umzimkhulu Stakes winner ran a cracking third behind Festival Of Fire in the KRA Fillies Guineas, and would only need to repeat that effort to have a chance here.

That even after a four month break. Captainofmysoul stayed put in the Cape during the recent winter and ran two excellent feature seconds in the Sweet Chestnut Stakes and the Stormsvlei. The daughter of Captain Al has drawn against the paint, and is a threat if not found wanting on fitness.


In a race dominated by Jet Master, Glen Kotzen sends out the only Silvano in the very promising 3yo, Omaticaya. She has won 2 of her 3 starts and has done nothing wrong since shedding her maiden in smooth style over the Kenilworth 1400m in July. She repeated the feat with an even more impressive victory in an MR 78 Handicap over the same course and distance three weeks ago, and comes in fit.

As an unexposed sort, Omaticaya is very difficult to assess against the higher rated runners, but it would be foolhardy to discount her. This will be her first run at Durbanville.


Paddy Kruyer’s Maximum Jet has her first run in the Varsfontein Stud white and scarlet silks and returns from a three month break. The Listed Stormsvlei Stakes winner is a lightly raced daughter of Jet Master, who has her first Durbanville outing. The Terrance Millard bred filly has won her three races from a mile to 1800m and should find this a trifle quick.

Solid Galloper

Paul Reeves’ Stagelight filly Nonki Poo has won 3 of her 18 starts and is a solid little galloper at best. She did not finish very far off the brilliant Blueridge Mountain in the Sweet Chestnut Stakes run over 1400m at Kenilworth in May. She won her last start against much weaker company when running on strongly over a mile at this track in an MR 89 Handicap at her last start two weeks ago. That is an indicator of her fitness, but Nonki Poo remains a longshot in our book.

Glen Puller’s Wood Nymph was formerly with Mike Azzie in Gauteng. She has been outclassed in all three career feature starts and must have other stakes goals this coming season. The daughter of Black Minnaloushe has not run for six months and is likely to need the outing.

Scrumming Down

It is difficult to comprehend that a filly of Hammie’s Hooker’s undoubted talent went a whole season as a 3yo without banking a winning cheque. The daughter of Trippi was a brilliant 2yo and she now gets the chance to get back on the scoreboard. The best of the rest may need their respective outings.

Then how good is Glen Kotzen’s lightly raced Omaticaya? If Hammie’s Hooker knocks on, the daughter of Silvano could be right there. Beware Omaticaya, but she needs to be on top of her game to get to Hammie’s Hooker.

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