Improving Quickly

Unhappy Endings


Vaal 24th May: Tuesday’s action took place on the turf where we saw a very easy victory in the opening maiden juvenile event over 1000m for the Romeo Francis trained ROMEO’S REWARD (30). A running on second to KEY RIDGE last time out, the son of Fan Club’s Mister was taken straight to the front here and led throughout. He was always in command and quickening well over the final 400m came home lonely.

Another to win very easily in the maiden ranks on this card was CARTWHEEL (40) who opened his account over 1200m. Soon up handy, Spike Lerena’s charge raced prominent throughout. He was asked to take up the running as they approached the 200m marker and went on to score easily from the 12/10 favourite BULLARD (later reported as being lame on off the fore).

The afternoon’s feature event was a MR90 Handicap over 1700m and here a bit of an upset was to be had when MATHAFA (51) registered his third career victory. Nibbled at into 9/1 from 12’s at the track, Alec Laird’s charge sat sixth for most of the journey. He was ridden to lead as they approached the 300m marker and with the benefit of first run he went on to beat the running on HORS D’OEUVRE by a length and a quarter. Positioned at the back of the fourteen entering the straight, Hors D’oeuvre was gaining rapidly at the finish.

The lucky last was a maiden event over 1700m and under a very cool ride from the vastly experienced Felix Coetzee, the favourite LIVING THE DREAM (51) sent the locals home happy. She got away well when the gates opened and was soon at the head of affairs. She was always travelling well, but when ROSEY’S SONG put her head in front 400m out, it looked as if she would have to settle for a place. Felix hadn’t moved a muscle up until then though and clearly aware of what was underneath him, only asked his mount for an effort 100m later. Living The Dream quickened well from there onwards and after regaining the lead 150m out, she went on to win by three quarters. Sadly for connections though, she was reported as having broken down on the near fore after the race and has been indefinitely suspended.


The aptly named newcomer TO REMEMBER caught the eye running on strongly late and did well to get up for second in the maiden event won by Living The Dream.

Only beaten by the narrowest of margins, KAPOW sadly collapsed and died after the running of the MR86 Handicap over 1200m.


Devastating Form


Greyville 24th May: Champion jockey Anton Marcus has been in devastating form of late and he gained the first of his four winners on Tuesday evening’s card when WINTER SKYE (29) got off the mark in the opening maiden juvenile event over 1400m. On leaving the stalls it was the 17/20 favourite HOLLYWOOD CHIEF who elected to make the running whilst the son of Western Winter raced close up in second. He quickened well early in the straight and after striking the front 200m from home, he went on to score comfortably by two and a half.

Another youngster to win well under the guidance of Anton Marcus was the Charles Laird trained JETER who opened her account in the girls division of the maiden juvenile 1400m. Sent off a rather uneasy second favourite at 33/10 (opened 28/10), Jeter was soon up handy. She was ridden to lead as they approached the 200m marker and drew clear easily in the closing stages of the race to beat the favourite CASTLE QUEEN by four and a quarter.

Race five on the card was a MR79 Handicap over 1600m and in what proved to be a real thriller victory here went to the lightly raced EMPENOSO HENN (54). Allowed to drift as if he had lost a leg on course (18/10 2nd fav out to 13/2!), Mike De Kock’s charge raced in midfield for most of the journey. The Marcus ridden favourite WEST COAST SWING made the running and still two lengths clear of her nearest rival 200m out, she looked to have the race in the bag. Just as he did in his only previous start nine months ago though, Empenoso Henn produced a very nice turn of foot in the latter stages of the race and just as if scripted he got up in the very last stride. Empenoso Henn can still improve stacks and carded to run in the Gr1 Daily News 2000 this Saturday has clearly been showing up very well at home.

A MR95 Handicap over 1600m topped the bill and despite being first past the post, Anton Marcus again had to settle for second after his mount ICE AXE carried the heavily supported odds on favourite CASTLETHORPE (8/10 into 11/20) off a straight course. The pair came together 250m from home and after a thrilling tussle in which Castlethorpe was carried several lengths across the track, Ice Axe only held the advantage by the narrowest of margins. After viewing the patrol videos from various angles, the board in their wisdom were of the opinion that but for the interference Castlethorpe would have beaten Ice Axe and therefore amended the judge’s result.


LORD LONDON ran on strongly in the MR85 affair over 1200m and gaining quickly at the finish only failed by the narrowest of margins to reel in the winner Coffee Sheik.


Three For Karl


Durbanville 25th May: The best bet on the card for many at the country course on Wednesday was GOLDEN DAWN in the maiden juvenile event over 1600m and she didn’t let down her supporters. Heavily supported throughout the morning into 5/10 from 12/10, the daughter of Goldmark was always handy. She was ridden to lead going through the 300m and although she didn’t find it as easy as the betting market had suggested, she did nonetheless do the business.

A maiden juvenile event over 1600m was next up and here we saw a very promising debut performance from the Dean Kannemeyer trained HOLLARD STREET. Freely available at 16/1 on the off, the poorly drawn son of Lundy’s Liability raced second last for most of the journey. Once in the straight though, he quickened well and under a well judged ride from the vastly experienced Karl Neisius, he got up very late to deny the well supported COUNT ME LUCKY (5/1 into 28/10 fav). Hollard Street finished well and is clearly one to keep tabs on.

A MR101 Handicap over 1500m topped the bill and here jockey Karl Neisius (rode 3 winners on the day) was again on the mark when the top weight KISS AGAIN registered his sixth career victory. Shouldering the super heavyweight burden of 62,5kg here, Mike Bass’ charge was always in touch with the leaders. He moved through to take up the running 250m from home and in what proved to be a real thriller he just managed to hold off a very determined challenge from A DAUGHTERS LEGACY by the narrowest of margins.

Also worthy of note on this card was the performance of FLIGHTY’S LAST in winning the MR82 affair over 1400m. Soon up handy, the most fancied of Justin Snaith’s three runners, raced prominent throughout. She was ridden to lead shortly after passing the 200m marker and went on to score comfortably by two and a quarter from the pacemaker VICKY VIOLET.


As well as the winner Hollard Street, ASGARD also finished very well in the maiden juvenile event over 1600m.

MARWOOD BOY ran on nicely in the closing stages to take fourth in the MR76 Handicap over 1600m.


All The Way


Vaal 26th May: They raced on the turf on Thursday where as expected victory in the maiden juvenile event over 1200m went to the Weiho Marwing trained ESKIMO INN (25). Not surprisingly sent off at the prohibitive odds of 1/3 having had the rest some twelve lengths behind her when only beaten a neck by the highly regarded AMANEE on debut, Eskimo Inn was soon at the head of affairs. She kept up a healthy gallop throughout and although both LALOU BELLE and BALKIS ran on strongly over the final 200m, she went on to score quite comfortably by a length.

Favourite backers were also on the mark in the boys division of the maiden juvenile 1200m when DAN’S APPROVAL            (23) did the business. Another to win from the front, Alec Laird’s charge led throughout. He was always in command and ran out a very easy winner by four.

The bookies did get some back in the MR72 Handicap over 1400m though, when DECAMERON (54) registered his second career victory from just four starts. Freely available at 33/1 on the off, the son of Almushtarak raced prominent throughout. He was asked to take up the running shortly after passing the 400m marker and in what proved to be a real thriller he just held on by the narrowest of margins from both PERO VALIENTE and WOOD BE.

Race nine on the card was a MR80 Handicap over 1800m and here it was nice to see TITANO (60) bounce back to form. Usually one to run on stoutly from off the pace, Erico Verdonese’s charge was always in touch with the leaders here. The well supported Mr Tobin (5/1 into 75/20) was the first to make a move and on striking the front 300m out, he looked to have done everything right. Titano finished best of all at the business end of the race though and with the rest well beaten he got up to deny Mr Tobin close home.


Despite being cut on the near hind and having been cramped at the 500m marker, APPROACH THE BENCH ran on nicely in the closing stages of the maiden event over 1700m.


Top speedratings for this weekend include:-


Race 1: (2) Ntbane 1
Race 2: No Qualifiers
Race 3: No Qualifiers
Race 4: (1) Adam 5 (NAP*)
Race 5: (3) Steel Butterfly 2
Race 6: (3) Hypothetical 67
Race 7: (11) Manenberg 50
Race 8: (4) Kaslee 62
Race 9: (4) Asiatic Moon 5
Race 1: (4) Sidestep 46
Race 2: (1) Ayoba 25
Race 3: (3) Detectorist 18
Race 4: (10) Atlantic Oak 75
Race 5: (3) Paddy O’reilly 91 (EW)
Race 6: (1) Igugu 88
Race 7: (2) English Garden 92 (EW)
Race 8: (5) Wicket Maiden 84
Race 9: (10) Kushoni Langa 65
Race 10: (1) Sugarformyhoney 32
Borrowdale Park
Race 1: No Qualifiers
Race 2: (6) Shuffle Up 36
Race 3: (7) Bingo Bango 20
Race 4: (4) Ezulwini 19
Race 5: No Qualifiers
Race 6: (1) Sea Battle 34
Race 7: (8) Imperial Dice 80
Race 1: (1) Ibhola 11
Race 2: (3) Atmospheric 21 (NAP**)
Race 3: (2) Approach The Bench 6
Race 4: (2) Miss Kiwarra 14
Race 5: (5) National Fleet 22
Race 6: (6) Salutation 83
Race 7: (12) Star Of Destiny 72
Race 8: (2) Radiant Rock 58
Race 9: (8) Pacific Destiny 37
Race 10: (14) Pollyanna 38
Race 1: (9) Offertory 4
Race 2: (2) Toadinthevillage 16
Race 3: (5) Woodridge 9
Race 4: (10) Denver Colorado 12
Race 5: (1) Play Nice 76
Race 6: (7) Lola Bud 40
Race 7: (1) Variety Club 26
Race 8: (10) Blanic 66

Top rated winners last week included

Kaska won 10/1
Romeos Reward won 5/1
Trust Fund won 4/1
Living The Dream won 2/1
Restraint won 17/10
Winter Skye won 15/10
Beach Flight won 9/10
Dan’s Approval won 5/10


Empenoso Henn (M De Kock, Natal)
Hors D’oeuvre (S Tarry, Gauteng)
To Remember (St John Gray, Gauteng)


(Shown in brackets is the number of races run in each category)


Vaal 24th May
Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (5)   Romeos Reward
Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (5)  Mathafa           
Fastest Long 1900-3600 (0)     No Qualifiers   
Greyville 24th May
Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (3)   Coffee Sheik   
Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (5)  Castlethorpe    
Fastest Long 1900-3600 (1)     Solera
Durbanville 25th May
Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (2)   Trust Fund
Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (6)  Kiss Again       
Fastest Long 1900-3600 (1)     Monseur Jay
Vaal 26th May
Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (5)   Maji Moto
Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (5)  Flying Mo                    
Fastest Long 1900-3600 (0)     No Qualifiers               

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