Pinnacle Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein (stand side) on Tuesday
Night racing returns to Turffontein on Tuesday and with the big guns now being put through their paces in preparation for forthcoming features, the 36 nominations for the Pinnacles Stakes over 1400m has whittled down to just ten, writes Steve Furnish.
Highest rated of the ten, and indeed best in at the weights, is the veteran Rudra. A winner of the prestigious Gr1 Summer Cup back in 2008, Rudra is rarely seen racing over a trip this short. He did run a good fourth in the Gr2 Hawaii Stakes when last raced over today’s course and distance though, and his most recent win did come in a similar event over 1450m at the inner track. Rudra comes off a six month break here, but he has done well racing fresh on several occasions.
As well Rudra, the powerful stable of Mike De Kock is also represented by both Kavanagh and Dark Wind. Placed in the Dingaans, as well as both the Cape and Gauteng Guineas last season, this son of Tiger Ridge is very close to the best of his generation. Those efforts were all over 1600m, but interestingly, Kavanagh is yet to win over a trip that far. He’s gained all three of his career wins at this circuit and he is unbeaten in two starts over today’s course and distance. He too comes off a bit of a break, but Mike’s horses do usually come out with all guns blazing and with Anthony Delpech in the saddle one would expect him to be the stable elect.
After shedding his maiden tag in just his third career start, the 4yo Dark Wind reeled off four in a row. Those successes were all gained over a minimum of 1800m though and he has only previously raced over a trip shorter than 1800m when finishing twelfth on debut over 1000m. He can still improve, but out at the weights to boot, he is perhaps best just watched here.
The stable of Michael Azzie has been in good form of late and in the Strike Smartly gelding Two Tone they have a very serious runner here. He’s usually kept to sprinting and is yet to win beyond 1200m. He does command a very nice turn of foot on his day though, and his style of racing would suggest that today’s trip will be right up his alley. He will no doubt have been in need of the run when staying on strongly behind the speedy Gibraltar Blue in the Gr3 Joburg Challenge after a break just ten days ago, and is sure to have come on for the run.
Usually seen sprinting, Gary Alexander’s charge has won the last two runnings of the Gauteng Merchants. At first glance then today’s trip would seem to be a little far, but in our book he has proven to be equally effective over 1400m and he has earlier won over today’s course and distance. As with most here, he comes off a bit of a break. He is very fairly treated at the weights with most though and if ready is not without a chance.
Formerly with Glen Kotzen in Natal, the veteran Thunder Creek proved to be a very powerful front runner on his day. Most of his wins have been gained over a mile, but his two latest successes were both gained around today’s distance. Since gaining the latest of those successes back in March though, he’s failed to make his presence felt and not particularly well treated at the weights here, he has no easy task.
D J Detzky
Louis Goosen’s charge won the listed KZN Breeders Stakes at Clairwood fifteen months ago and he had earlier picked up five races in the Eastern Cape. He battled to find his form when first arriving in Gauteng, but in recent starts he has undoubtedly been coming to hand. He was only two lengths off the July runner up Pierre Jourdan in a conditions event last time out and being one of the few that is fighting fit, he should be thereabouts.
This son of Captain Al has run some tremendous races in his career, most notably when fourth in the 2009 Summer Cup. Since picking up a conditions event in March of last year though, he’s failed to find the winner’s enclosure in thirteen starts and having been reported as blowing (usually a sign of pain or fright) on his return from a seven month break last time out, he is perhaps best just watched for now.
This lightly raced son of Model Man came to the track with a big reputation and after winning the listed Falcon Sprint in just his second career start he looked to have a very bright future ahead of him. He was laid off for seventeen months after finishing seventh in the Gr3 Graham Beck Stakes next time out though and has only raced five times since. Sean Tarry’s charge did win with some in hand when well in at the weights in a graduation event on his return from a three month break last time out and on that effort is sure to have his supporters here. Massimiliano is not well treated at the weights here though and having been reported as lame on the near fore when winning last time out one has to have concerns.
Having won two from seven, the 4yo Dublin Dude has done little wrong. Those successes were gained over a minimum of 2400m though and some 19kg out at the weights with the likes of Kavanagh here, he is totally out of his depth.
About The Pace
Although there isn’t a great deal of speed in the race, both Thunder Creek and D J Detzky have done well racing from the front and should ensure at least a decent gallop. Rudra, Two Tone and Kavanagh are the three most favoured by the weights and although it doesn’t stop there they could well fight it out.