Leading KwaZulu-Natal trainer Dennis Drier fires the first shot of his Cape Summer Season campaign at Kenilworth on Sunday with the obviously smart Jet Master colt Chave De Oura. They take on the might of Mike Bass and Tevez in the R200 000 Gr3 Cape Classic run over 1400m. History says that Drier must be a brave man.
It will be a veritable baptism of fire for the visitors as the Avontuur-bred Tevez looks top-class. The Bass attack is backed up by the Trippi colt Paterfamilias, who won’t be a walkover either. And who would want to meddle in the Bass family’s love affair with the Cape Classic? The statistics speak of an unparalleled local dominance since the turn of the century, and a story of the visitors struggling to get on to the board.
After all, Mike Bass has won it six times in eleven years. That’s top drawer from an established outfit, who won’t be in a charitable or welcoming frame of mind when the Drier float pulls into Kenilworth on Sunday.
On a more sobering housekeeping note, we note that from Bass’ first 21st century Cape Classic winner to his most recent, the stake has only doubled from R100 000 to R200 000.
The Bass winners include familiar names to most of us.
They are the subsequent Cape Derby winner Ultrasound, who was ridden by Jeff Lloyd to victory in 2001. Then the gallant Chief Warrior, who went on to run third in the famous Cape Guineas when Domino Man toppled Dynasty, won it in 2002. Chief Warrior went on to race with success in Mauritius.
The Bass domination continued when current day stallion Tobe Or Nottobe won it in 2003 in a streak of winning his first seven career starts. He was defeated for the first time when going third to the brilliant Winter Solstice in the 2004 Winter Guineas.
One of the very few dual Merchants and Derby winners ever, Jet Master’s Floatyourboat won it in 2005. Current Riverton Counter Action stallion Blue Tiger won the race in 2007 and recent Emerald Cup runner-up Captain’s Secret completed the Bass biography when scoring in 2009.
Enough of the sentimentalising. Those are some huge footsteps to follow in.
Like the brilliant Tobe Or Nottobe, Tevez is a son of Caesour . Probably more famously he is the champion sprinter Val De Ra’s half-brother. A winner of two of his three starts, he has all the characteristics and attributes of a colt with classic potential and he appears to have plenty in his favour.
Tevez made his debut in March and was only beaten by inexperience when going down to Albert Mooney over the Kenilworth 1000m. He reappeared seven weeks later over 200m further under Bernard Fayd’Herbe and proceeded to annihilate his opponents by six lengths. Fair enough, the second placed Wilmington was to take another four races over five months to win a race. But Tevez had tasted blood.
Anton Marcus rode him to his impressive win in the Listed Sophomore Sprint, where after a break of four months, he produced the big-game acceleration to beat the game Half Moon Hotel by 1,25 lengths. Tevez is well drawn on Saturday and will have veteran Karl Neisius in the saddle.
Tevez’ stablemate Paterfamilias was less fortunate with the draw, but in his favour has the advantage of having been –and won – around the turn.
Paterfamilias shed his maiden at his second outing over the Kenilworth 1500m, but it was in his last start in a Durbanville mile where he really impressed.
Running against some fair sorts in an MR 77 Handicap, he flew late to beat Nordic Jet and Readytogorightnow. Nordic Jet may have put things into perspective to a degree when flopping at his next start last Saturday, but it was the mature and assertive manner of Paterfamilias’ win that made the lasting impression.
Drier’s Chave De Ouro is rated on a par at 94 with Tevez and receives a kilo from him.
Chave De Oura has won his last two starts in KZN with ease and last time drew off smartly to win a MR 74 Handicap over 1200m at Clairwood, beating the twice -winning Catalectric by 3,25 lengths.
He had two horses behind him in Protest Song and Giles , who both went on to win their next outing.
Chave De Oura has fortunately pulled the 1 draw in his first sortie around the turn and should be an even better horse over the extra ground.
We don’t know too much else about him, but the dogs have been barking for ages about this one.
Vaughan Marshall fields Black Toga and Tight Ship . He won the Cape Classic back in 2004 with the Casey Tibbs gelding Play Catch, for his late patron Roy Eckstein. Ridden by Karl Neisius, Play Catch e beat his stablemate Tiger Shark in a race run for a stake of R125 000 and sponsored by Alf Duncan Auctioneers.
Anton Marcus travels to Cape Town and will partner Black Toga, one of five Jooste connected runners in the field. Did Anton have the choice of rides for the five? The answer to that question would be helpful, as Superman won the Sophomore on Tevez and it would tell us a few things.
The highest rated runner in this race, Black Toga has his first outing in the Cape and is a winner of 3 of his 5 starts to date.
Marcus has been in the saddle on all three occasions and this powerful front-runner will be looking to build on his excellent record. A winner of the Listed Gatecrasher Stakes over 1450m at Clairwood, he has shown himself equally effective over left-handed and right-handed tracks and should handle the Kenilworth circuit with aplomb.
Black Toga misbehaved when pulling hard and then being outrun late in the Gr1 Premier’s Champion Stakes by The Hangman, and similar nonsense will cost him dearly against the likes of Tevez and Chave De Oura on Sunday. His fitness may also be in doubt after his 99 day rest.
Marshall’s other runner Tight Ship carries a galloping 52,5kgs but took 8 runs to shed his maiden. He has not shown Group race winning potential and will need to show dramatic improvement.
Gr3 Godolphin Barb winner Twitter runs in the in the interests of Paul Foo-Kune following the late Roy Eckstein dispersal sale. He is now trained by Brett Crawford.
Twitter opened his seasonal campaign two weeks ago in an MR 89 Handicap over 1400m at Durbanville. After drifting alarmingly in the betting from 7-2 to 10-1, he never showed and finished one from last and 10,75 lengths behind the Govender winner, Marchant.
That was Twitter’s first run after a 3 month break and his first try at going beyond 1200m.
His trainer alluded to the fact that he was going to be taught to settle and allowed to run on. The race really told us nothing in the end and will probably mean that he will start at double figure odds for his supporters here. He is not well drawn either, which will not help the cause. We don’t believe in discounting Group winners lightly, but Twitter now needs to bounce back and show his mettle.
The Umkomazi winner Ottimo and the Australian-bred Readytogorightnow make up the Justin Snaith coupling. Snaith won this race in 2010 with the Lammerskraal owned and bred Solo Traveller.
Readytogorightnow is the far better drawn of the two and may be the stable elect with Felix Coetzee in the saddle- despite the fact that weight considerations probably influenced the jockey bookings.
Readytogorightnow shed his maiden over the course and distance with ease beating the rather moderate Shepherd’s Purse, who has failed to score in his subsequent two starts, and in fact ran poorly when finishing ninth behind True Master on Saturday.
Readytogorightnow caught the eye amongst some older horses at his last outing when running on smartly for third in an MR 77 Handicap over the mile at Durbanville. He was beaten 1,1 lengths by Paterfamilias when receiving a kilo from the Bass runner, and now gets an additional kilo in his favour. He may have the Trippi colt’s beating on that weight turnaround and with a more favourable draw.
The grey Ottimo is drawn in Youngsfield Military Base at 16, and has his second run since relocating from Ivan Moore in Durban.
Ottimo’s Sophomore Sprint effort was a poor one as he fell away to finish stone last, and this followed ordinary runs in the Gold Medallion and Golden Horseshoe. While he is a Listed feature winner, he looks to have a mountain to climb to prove that he is going to train on into something promised in his juvenile days.
The rather shrewd Kotzen family R20 000 purchase Kirtling Towers enjoys the assistance of Striker Strydom and won his last start in good style over the Kenilworth 1200m. He showed genuine fight and courage winning that MR 78 Handicap beating his senior, Strike Hands, by 0,3 lengths. He had subsequent impressive winner November Rain well beaten into fourth.
He looks and runs like a sprinter and Kirtling Towers has failed at his two attempts at 1400m. But he is by Doowaley out of a Centenary mare that won up to 1400m and could get the trip-particularly in the caring hands of Piere Strydom.
Corne Spies’ Lord Jonathan was quite a forward juvenile and has his first run as a 3yo.
He didn’t feature in the Langerman and then ran poorly in the East Cape Champion Juvenile Stakes. He comes off a rest of 104 days and has his second run since gelding. He will need to show improvement.
Piet Steyn produced the shock in the recent Dian Stakes winner Super Elegant, and he will be looking for a similar giant-killing act here.
His Ashaawes gelding Sanshaawes proved something of a dilemma for punters in his juvenile season – seemingly battling to shed his maiden ticket, while at the same time running a cracker in the Langerman when beaten only a half-length by King Of Pain in the Langerman.
Sanshaawes followed up on his maiden win at his seventh start, when staying on well behind the year older River Crossing in a Novice Plate at Durbanville last month. Sanshaawes had the Dean Kannemeyer-trained Last Emperor three lengths behind him there. We saw how well the latter won last Saturday!
Greg Ennion slaps the blinkers on Fred Crabbia’s Shimmer And Shine, who has gone a little cold after his forward effort to run second behind War Horse in the Gr1 Golden Horseshoe on July Day.That was an outstanding post-maiden run and he looked to have a bright future. Things have not gone according to plan, it seems.
Shimmer And Shine has had two runs since returning to Cape Town, but went badly backwards at his last outing when fading dismally to finish 12,85 lengths off Changingoftheguard in the Matchem Stakes two weeks ago.
Paul Reeves’ Tiger Tiger returns from a six week break after battling to make an impression in the Sophomore Sprint. His Langerman and Winter Juvenile Stakes runs to King Of Pain would may have flattered him slightly and it will be interesting to see if he has made the interim improvement.
The lightly raced Awesome Power has done little wrong and after winning on debut, ran a great third beaten 1,45 lengths behind Tevez in the Sophomore Sprint at level weights. The son of Surging River now receives 3kgs from Tevez and must come into the picture from his good draw if he stays the trip.
Patrick Kruyer’s Hellzapoppin came back from a long break to run tailed off behind What A Winter last Saturday in a high quality Pinnacle Plate. He looks an optimistic entry and will need to improve dramatically to have any chance here.
The unraced Spectrum colt Robertson is an interesting runner making his racecourse debut in a Group race –around the turn to boot. That is not something we see often in South Africa. The betting may be the best guide, but he will obviously have to be above average to have any chance against his more proven and experienced counterparts.
With the visitors in town, the serious racing season is getting into full stride. This is a competitive feature where the collateral interprovincial form and strength will have its first serious test.
Dennis Drier is a master judge and doesn’t bring passengers and travelling companions down to Cape Town . So while we hold Tevez in high regard as our partisan first choice, we are most respectful of the potential classic ability of Knut Haug’s Chave De Oura.
Throw in the naughty talent- laden Marshall runner Black Toga coming out fresh under Marcus and then Snaith’s well-weighted Aussie import Readytogorightnow, and we have all the ingredients of a great race on our hands.