Some top 3yo’s have won the Gr3 Graham Beck Stakes over the years, and none less so than the Goldkeeper gelding Cerise Cherry, who was trained by Paul Matchett to win it in 2008. The feature is still worth a rather humble R200 000 four years on. But the sums prove that this can be a stepping stone to better things.
Cerise Cherry’s rather timeous win this past weekend in Hong Kong’s Gr2 Premier Bowl for the second time, having previously won the race back in 2010, would have been a reminder for connections that despite the red tape and political bickering, the sky is the limit in this game.
And four years on, the Sandown Stud-bred R220 000 purchase off the 2007 Emperors Palace National 2yo Sale has now won four times in Hong Kong for prize money in excess of $2 million! Work out the returns for yourself.
So who wants to win the Graham Beck Stakes?
Well this is one race where we are not siding with Mike De Kock as an automatic first choice, despite his four runners. We are rather suggesting that other good horseman Alec Laird, and a relatively new stallion looking for his first stakes winner.
The Mullins Bay’s have shown that they can run, and we may see his first big winner a few races earlier where the undefeated Tinchy Stryder sets out to win the R2,5 million Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup. That won’t count as a first stakes winner though, and while not wanting to put the mockers on anybody, his son Gitiano will be looking to achieve that distinction.
The top three horses stand out here and while not the highest rated runner, Gitiano looks the likely winner.
The good-looking chestnut is yet to run a poor race and on debut got to within 5 lengths of an experienced The Hangman. Gitiano was quick to win at his next start when cruising in oer the Scottsville 1200m to beat Craig Eudey’s Flyfirstclass.
Gitiano’s last start caught our attention. Running in a generally ordinary looking MR 72 handicap over 1450m at Turffontein, he showed smooth acceleration to draw off and beat the rated Rock Of Arts giving away 1kg by 2,25 lengths.
While, unlike The Hangman and War Horse, he is untested at Group level, he looks like the sort who could continue to improve. The Laird – Randolph combination is also red hot at the moment.
A serious danger must be the Gr1 Premier’s Champion Stakes winner The Hangman, who won the big 2yo Super Saturday feature going away at a rather generous 8-1. Sean Tarry’s gelded son of Jallad won’t be bothered by the 11 draw as his style of running and his top jockey will sort that out.
War Horse was some 3,35 lengths behind The Hangman on Super Saturday and then was beaten a similar margin when they clashed again in their season return sprint two weeks ago over the Turffontein 1160m.
War Horse was touted as the 2013 Durban July winner by his ecstatic trainer after winning the Gr1 Golden Horseshoe on July day. He has Felix Coetzee from a 2 draw, and we don’t need to hear any excuses if he doesn’t come up trumps here.
De Kock Quartet
Mike De Kock’s four runners are all well-bred, classy sorts and if not showing here, will win their races.
First choice jockey Anthony Delpech has opted for the poorly drawn Reign As Kings. The son of King Of Kings showed plenty of speed and promise winning three early races, but did not show in the Gold Medallion and a subsequent sprint at Turffontein last Tuesday evening.
The Silvano colt Cannon has won 2 from 4 for a combined winning distance of 11,25 lengths.He won a weak Novice Plate over the Turffontein 1800m at his last outing, and as the experts say, he culd hardly have ‘done more than win.’ Whatever that means, it may just apply here and he may be the dark horse quartet kicker that is worth gold to punters.
De Kock’s longtime feature wizard Kevin Shea jumps aboard the Dubawi colt, Dubai Dizzy. A winner of 2 of his 3 starts, the last an MR 78 Handicap over 1300m at Greyville on Super Saturday, he looks promising but may need the run after a three months rest.
The Argentinian-bred Dancing Spirit has only run twice,and won his maiden last time out. He is difficult to assess.
Piere Strydom and The Hangman should prove a difficult act to down here, but Gitiano and War Horse look likely to be breathing down his neck in the final 100m.
De Kock’s quartet cannot be excluded and the master showed with Link Man and Silver Flyer’s recent wins that his good horses can go quiet, but often bounce back. If he wasn’t so poorly drawn, we’d fancy Reign As Kings as a danger. And then there is our dark horse, Cannon.
Through it all, there may be another Cerise Cherry lurking there somewhere.