We Will Rock You

Gr3 Godolphin Barb Stakes at Clairwood on Sunday

Punk Rocker

Trippi’s debut winner Punk Rocker could follow up in the Godolphin Barb

Black type for juveniles looks to be cheap these days in KZN. Relatively few youngsters have been seen out to date with so many rained-off meetings. It results in rather pathetic fields for the Godolphin Barb and its filly-equivalent over 1100m at Clairwood. Imagine the waffle that’s going to fill that long hour of Tellytrack pre- and reviews on Sunday afternoon.

Three of the seven runners in the 1100m Godolphin Barb are winners of their only starts. They have ratings, of course, but should improve on those, yet by how much – who knows. Vaughan Marshall has a great record as trainer of juveniles, and fields Man From Milan. He’s a son of Antonius Pius, also no slouch when it comes to 2yo’s. Man Of Milan made his debut at Kenilworth in the middle of February, drifting to 8/1 from opening odds of 7/2. He raced handy throughout, and hung on by a nose from runner-up Pigeon Flyer. To date no other winners have come from that race, from 9 runners. Even so, that isn’t saying much as juvenile races in the Cape have been few and far between. Taking the betting as gospel, Man Of Milan may not have been fully wound-up that time and good improvement looks on the cards.

Doug Campbell is represented by First Answer, who won his sole outing late in December. There were three 1000m events that day, of which the juvenile race was the slowest (the MR 74 went over 2 seconds faster. From 29 runners that race didn’t produce a winner, which makes the form iffy. That said, First Answer (at 5/1) could do no more than winning. His long break may well be due to the fact that there weren’t suitable races for 1-time winners since then in KZN!

The third of the unbeaten winners is Punk Rocker. Entered to race twice for rain-off meetings in March, he finally made his debut two weeks ago at Scottsville, starting at 9/10 (from 16/10). Always handy, he scored by two lengths in a time slower than the other juvenile (fillies) race on the day. Runner-up that day was another newcomer, Beckedorf. Trained by Dennis Drier, he drifted from 6/1 to 14/1 on support for Punk Rocker. Slowly away, he raced midfield, got to the front 200m out, but had no answer to the charging Punk Rocker. Beckedorf should come on for that run, but it’s hard to see him turn the tables on level terms.

National King made a good debut in January, when second to Varachino, having seen his opening odds of 14/1 slashed to 6/1 at the jump. He didn’t have a clear passage, and might have been an unlucky loser. National King reappeared a week later over 1200m at Clairwood. Backed from 12/10 into 7/10 he raced always handy, to win comfortably by over two lengths. The race time was the slowest of the four 1200m on the day, and from 8 runners the race subsequently produced no other winners. National King returned to 1000m a month later at Clairwood, starting at 4/1. Always handy, he seemed to be hanging and finished over 3 lengths in third. That might not have quite been his best, and he should not be ruled out in this field.

That leaves the two Charles Laird runners (assuming both will run…). Brendon Lerena has the mount on He Rocks, who ran fourth on debut in February (at 12/1), showing pace. Two rained-off entries followed in March, and he only made his second start last week. Drifting from 7/2 to 5/1, he again showed pace but had no answer to Antwerp, who went on to win by six lengths. He Rocks is blinkered for the first time here. His stable companion Nisa’s Machine has the services of Anton Marcus, so presumably is the stable-elect. He was entered to run early in February, but scratched, reportedly cast in his box. A month later rain caused his intended debut to be washed out. The Australian bred son of Hussonet is out of an unraced mare, and there’s nothing to go by. The betting may be a guide.

In summary, a very mixed bunch. Punk Rocker looks to have the best credentials and should win – unless the Laird newcomer Nisa’s Machine is something really special (which the betting will show). After that it’s anyone’s guess who’ll fill the places.




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