Kenilworth 9 July
Bernard Fayd’ Herbe rode a peach of a race to get the Mike Stewart-trained HOSPITALITY home in the Pinnacle Stakes over 2400m. The five year old son of Badger’s Drift is a relentless galloper and he ran his seven rivals into the ground from the start of this staying event. He has now won nine races and is always a factor over these distances, where our racing lacks serious depth, as gauged by the rather tired look of those that ran behind him.
Villandry’s half brother KUJA got the day under way with an impressive end to end win in the Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1200m. He was ridden to perfection by MJ Byleveld and easily held off the late challenge of Glen Kotzen’s MONEY FOR LOVE, who ran a smart race on debut. The fancied WELSH FACTOR was never in contention , but may be worth another chance and didn’t finish too far back in sixth position. QUICK OF FOOT , who had run a nice race on debut three weeks earlier, also ran a disappointing race to finish fourteen lengths off.
The R10 000 Vintage purchase TAKEYOUROATH showed good improvement at her third start, to win the Maiden Juvenile Plate for fillies over 1200m by 2,25 lengths. The daughter of Mellifont was tucked off the pace early , and then driven through late by the vastly experienced Fareed Anthony. The Snaith-trained DUMANI caught the eye on debut by running on well, and this beautifully bred filly can only get better. Another impressively bred filly, LA BELLE HELENE, was backed to win the race after two good runs, but the Bass inmate fell away to finish a poor eleven lengths off the winner.
The Carl Burger-trained CHRISALDON has been knocking at the door, and after an excellent run in mixed company last time, she won the third race, a Maiden Juvenile Plate for fillies, by 4,50 lengths. This was her sixth run in a relatively short space of time and she could turn into a really nice sort if not overraced and given time. EDEN ROSE improved to run second while the consistent ON A WING is surely ready to win a similar race very soon. Glen Kotzen’s DAINTREE DANCER should be watched next time as she ran into the shadows of the placed horses and looks to be going the right way.
The pacy Kabool colt MADE OF STEEL provided the Byleveld – Marshall partnership with their second win, when he won the fourth race, a Maiden Plate over 1200m , in spectacular style. Allowed to run freely, he was many lengths clear inside the final 300m, before being collared by DE LA REY, who cruised past to win. In a fascinating display of courage, MJ Byleveld gathered his mount to charge again and he downed the luckless DE LA REY in the shadow of the post. The question that needs answering is- how good is DE LA REY , or is he just a brass? TAIPAN caught the eye on debut here when losing five lengths at the start and running on well to finish fifth. This run will bring him on.
The Jackpot opener, the MR 72 Handicap over 1200m, had always looked a minefield and that is exactly the way the story unfolded. Dean Kannemyer’s REGAL MAN had battled to shed his maiden but got it right in a weak Grooms race at the end of May. His one subsequent run had been poor, but Ossie Noach produced him down the middle to win this event going away at 100-1! He loves the soft underfoot conditions. The list of disappointments here was a long one, with the backed TIGERS EYE at the top of the list. He obviously shows something at home and has been supported often in the betting, but he does not appear to be too good and he fell away to finish ten lengths off.
The Hodgson filly EMMAJO provided her sire Captain Al with another win as he bears down on Jet Master in the chase for the title of champion sire, and she won a really good race against some fair males in the MR 96 Handicap over 1000m. ISIDINGO cut out his usual suicide streak up front but faded at the 200m as EMMAJO and LENTON GROVE came forward to pick it up. HOWDOULIKEMENOW came from miles back to fly low for second. The son of Matty G is a shining tribute to Joey Ramsden’s fine skill of keeping fragile equine sorts on the boil.
The final race on the card, a Maiden Plate over 1600m, provided Justin Snaith and Richard Fourie with a smart win when Western Winter’s son SEA OF ICE improved nicely to beat the luckless ROYAL BLOODLINE, whose winning turn cannot be far off. The run of the race came from the Dean Kannemeyer-trained SERGEANT AT ARMS, who made up fifteen lengths from last into the straight and flew to finish just under two lengths off. Both the second and third-placed horses are worth following.
Scottsville 10 July
The Listed Queen Palm Handicap over 2400m produced an exciting finish with the smart Silvano mare RECONCILE showing her love of Scottsville and her affinity with jockey Anton Marcus, by producing a nice kick to win going away. Punters seem to have a mental block about Glen Kotzen’s mare as she was allowed to start at a ridiculous 4-1 after winning over this course and distance just three weeks back. The race was run to suit her and she has now won eight from 28 starts and looks to have a few more wins left as she shows great zest for racing. The favourite GIBSON GIRL is a model of consistency but was shoved into third by the capable ATAIR who ran a great race at the weights. The rest did not impress.
A KING IS BORN may have found the Derby at his last run too much to handle at this stage of his life and his return to handicap racing was celebrated with a good win in the third leg of the jackpot. He accounted for the gallant Windrush gelding WHITE HOUSE by 2,5 lengths in a win that was full of merit. The favourite ARABIAN EMPIRE was made a lot of use of and faded late to finish out of the money. He may be better over shorter and looks worth another chance.
Mike De Kock’s Kabool gelding INTERNAL AUDIT put up a powerful galloping display to win the final race, an MR 72 Handicap over 1400m at 33-1. Apprentice Keegan De Melo ignored his boss’ instructions to drop the four year old out from his wide draw and found himself in front after five strides. That is exactly where he stayed and could be better now that he is over his breathing problems. SOVEREIGN SOUND ran on stoutly for second place, and could pick up a third victory at any time.
Trainer James Goodman dealt punters a body blow in the sixth race, an MR 70 Handicap over 2000m when producing RECUSO in fine trim to win. The son of Encosta De Lago is a former De Kock inmate and his form following his maiden win over a year ago has been nothing short of abysmal. Whether he maintains this level of performance is a matter for debate. VIKING LIZZY ran his usual game race in second and has run 21 places in thirty starts. He should register his second win very soon. MISS DIANA moved up threateningly, but appeared to be squeezed out late and dropped away to run unplaced. She is better than this.
Jarred Samuel produced the Dennis Drier –trained longshot MIGHTY MARS with a sustained effort to win the first race , a Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1200m. DANSILI EXPRESS was supported to start 2-1 favourite but he never showed and ran seven lengths off. His trainer Mike De Kock confirmed afterwards that he would need further and expressed his outrage at the ‘misleading’ betting. In fact it was his stable companion IBSAAR, who went off at 7-1 under Kevin Shea, who ran the better race. The Australian –bred Keep The Faith colt finished nicely for fourth.