Seal The Deal

Gr3 Grand West Stayers Handicap at Kenilworth on Saturday


All Class. Gr1 winner Seal could bounce back in Saturday’s Cape Stayers Handicap

The classy stayer Seal could lift the spirits of the Gavin Van Zyl Racing team after a tough start to their Cape summer campaign. The son of Silvano goes to post as the proven class in Saturday’s Gr3 Grand West Stayers Handicap to be run over the Kenilworth 2500m.

Afield of ten will go to post for a race that has been won by some good sorts in the past and popularly known in years gone by as the Cape Summer Stayers Handicap. The presence of handful of ready made pacemakers should make for a true run affair, and while the obvious class is Seal, we have an eye on the still underexposed Abercrombie.


Seal is one of the games stayers in the country and the runner with the best credentials in this race. The 2011 Gr1 SA Derby winner has registered nine wins to date and opened his Cape campaign with a low key pipe opener in the Gr2 Premier Trophy last Saturday. He never showed when running stone last and 12,90 lengths behind the impressive Master Of My Fate, but may have need the outing after a seven week break from action.

The 1800m trip was probably below his optimum, although it is worth noting that Seal actually beat subsequent Durban July winner Heavy Metal in the Gr3 Jubilee Handicap over the same cut just six months ago.

Good Win

The Mike Stewart trained Paddy O’ Reilly recaptured his better form when winning the Listed Kenilworth Cup run over 3200m at his last start. Paddy O’ Reilly will be ridden again by Bernard Fayd’herbe and produced a cracking late effort to beat Posh Boy going away by 1,25 lengths. Paddy now meets Posh Boy on 1,5kgs worse terms, but could go in again if he is sound on the day. His career has been hampered by health issues.


Justin Snaith saddles the Casey Tibbs gelding Cigar Boy, who has been knocking on the door recently. He was pipped by Hot Ticket in the Woolavington last time out and may enjoy the extra 100m of this race. Hot Ticket underlined the strength of that form with an excellent flying fourth behind Master Of My Fate in Saturday’s Gr2 Premier Trophy. He remains a Met prospect, which adds lustre to Cigar Boy’s prospects.

The King

Joey Ramsden’s Crown Of Gold has not been at his very best lately, but is a capable stayer who is not without hope in this field. The son of Silvano finished fourth and 4,25 lengths behind Paddy O’ Reilly in the Kenilworth Cup, and is now 2,5kgs better off. Crown Of Gold has tended towards being slightly one paced recently, and may need a fast pace to produce his best.

Bass Boys

Mike Bass saddles a three way coupling, headed by the Trippi colt Abercrombie. Stable jockey Grant Van Niekerk rides the 4yo colt, who tries the 2500m for the first time. Abercrombie could be the dark horse of the field and his efforts in the KZN Derby and the Algoa Cup are worth noting.

In the KZN Derby he ran an excellent third behind Silvano’s Jet (subsequently Gr1 placed) and Hot Ticket, and then stayed on very well for third behind Disco Al in the Algoa Cup on the polytrack. Abercrombie showed his wellbeing and fitness by staying on strongly over a mile last time out just two weeks ago, and should strip fit and well here.

His year older stablemate River Crossing has failed to fire in three runs since returning from the KZN Champions Season where he registered a feature double in the Highland Night Cup and the Lonsdale. River Crossing was on the periphery of the Vodacom Durban July final field, and only needs to find his earlier best form to have a shout.


Paddy O'Reilly

Top Stayer. The Dynasty gelding Paddy O’Reilly is worth including if turning up sound

Riaan Van Reenen saddles the regular locals, the 8yo Posh Boy and Barossa Valley. They finished second and third respectively in the Listed Kenilworth Cup and are always capable of running a forward race in these kind of events. The two have won 15 races over ground between them.

Sean Cormack has been engaged at 1kg over on Barossa Valley, while Posh Boy comes in on a galloping 52 kgs in the hands of Morne Winnaar. Posh Boy is in fact 1,5kgs better off with Paddy O’Reilly on their last clash, and just seems to get better with age.

Tough At The Bottom

Both Neartic Dancer and Tippuana Moon are in under sufferance. Mike Robinson’s Tippuana Moon is a lightly raced course and distance winner, who has a handy weight and the ability to run on late. A winner of 4 of his 12 starts, he appears to have scope for further improvement and could be an upset possibility at best.

Neartic Dancer is the third of the Bass trio and he ran a disappointing race in the Winter Derby. He did show some spark over ground though with a good finish in the Eastern Cape Derby behind True Master, way back in May.


Abercrombie has all the signs of an improving stayer and he could produce the value at the expense of Seal and Cigar Boy. But none of the ten runners are without hope of lifting the main prize in what should be an intriguing staying spectacle.

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