We had a smashing weekend, winning two Guineas. I thought The Conglomerate’s win was seriously impressive. He has surprised me in how much he has improved over the autumn and the thought of running him over his correct trip of ten furlongs is mouth-watering, writes Joey Ramsden.
We did not have much luck with our two Kings – Kingvoldt and King of Pain. With one, we already know the problem but the other we are still trying to get to the bottom of it. King of Pain did not seem to want to get going early on but finished strongly. As a trainer, it is quite difficult to decide if one would rather have an obvious problem which causes hassles and sticks out like a sore thumb or have nothing show up at all and leave one scratching one’s head until a bald patch appears. At the moment, I am on the scratch patch route. Hopefully we will get to the bottom of the problem soon.
It was an unfortunate incident that saw Legislate having to be scratched from this year’s Drill Hall with his leg getting stuck in the gate.
Watching on the TV, the horse looked to be slightly wrong when getting him out of the gates but he did appear to be trotting pretty sound. I was obviously not the vet down at the start and the horses safety and well-being is the number one concern. It was the right decision to pull the horse out, particularly as he was such a short priced favourite but it must have been extremely tough for Justin. It now leaves him in a bit of a quandary as to where to start his big horse off for the Natal season coming up. He is obviously trying to keep his two big horses apart and Saturday’s incident will not help him with this.
We also had a great day at Kenilworth with Act of War proving that a lengthy lay off and fresh tactics are no problem for him. He is truly a special horse. Brutal Force was also an easy winner and it looks as if we will stick to sprinting with him. He looks to have a useful future ahead of him and we might have a crack at one of the Golden Horse races at Scottsville. Being a three year old, he should come in quite nicely in the handicap. Who to ride him will be my next problem.
East Cape Derby
It is all pack up and go for St Tropez in this year’s Eastern Cape Derby. I freely admit this is a race we try and target – and win – each year. I have strong roots in the Eastern Cape and try and go back regularly. I thoroughly enjoy racing there whether we win or not – although winning is obviously the better option. This year, instead of travelling up from the Cape as usual (probably the slightly easier route) we are coming down from Natal where the journey is slightly longer.
However, our race transporter, Peter Choice, has assured me there will be no problem and he will have the smoothest journey possible. Poor old Anton has had to give up his regular Sunday Greyville winners to travel to the Eastern Cape to ride him. As usual, I know we will get the most professional effort from one of the world’s best.
This year’s jockey championship looks like turning out to be an exciting affair. It will be interesting to see if the great man, Piere Strydom, makes an effort in the last few months to try and regain one of his long-lost titles. There appears to be plenty of interest in the betting around the outcome of the winning rider. It will be interesting to know who is trying to win and who is not? I suppose it is out of the NHA’s jurisdiction but there certainly could be some non-triers in that race!
We have some smashing runners in the Western Cape this Saturday. Sadly we don’t have any fillies but in the colt’s race we look to have a reasonable hand. Most have won first time out but the most experienced of them, Tar Heel, was running on nicely in his third start. At the moment, with the two year olds, it is a bit like primary school. One is looking to see which are more advanced and are ready to race, which ones need some more time at the same level and which need to go to the farm for the winter where they can grow and mature. All four of our runners seem nice horses and it will be interesting to see how they go and where they finish. It is extremely interesting listening to the various jockeys and one ends up more confused than Mac Maharaj having to do one of Jacob Zuma’s press releases.
And finally, one of our colts, owned by Bernard Kantor, is named after a very special man in the Kantor household, Macduff. The real Macduff was at our stables this morning to watch the horse that carries his name have a spin on the grass.
Hopefully it will carry the name to bigger and better things. Macduff (the human one) thoroughly enjoyed watching his equine namesake work and seeing all the going-ons in a racing stable. It was fantastic to have him there.
Full article available on www.joeyramsden.com