I see we are back to the dreaded Kenilworth winter old course and sadly this does not do a lot for me. I believe it gives rise to some of the worst racing in the world. It always makes me chuckle when they complain about the inside track at Turffontein and the short run in. Well, they should have a dip at this inside track and see what a short run in really is all about, writes Joey Ramsden.
From a personal point of view, I find Durbanville far easier.
The old course at Kenilworth so much suits the horse which is in the box seat. When you hit high numbers, life starts to become incredibly tricky. However, that is just my point of view and it is what it is. Our two runners in the Winter Classic ran well in a funny sort of race, with a horse screaming off to the front, something that one cannot allow to happen on the old course. I know they finished in a heap in this race but it is a tale of two races: a fast run one up front and a slow run one behind.
Usually something comes from the slow run one and does you from behind and if you are piggy in the middle, waiting for the one in front to come back, you quite often get done which seemed to be the case here. Anyway, well done to Mike Bass and Markus Jooste, Derek, Bryn and the boys on winning another big one.
It has been a smashing week’s racing and entertainment, not just the weekend with Saturday’s super card at Greyville but midweek as well. We ran a super filly called Flying Fiona. She had her first start at Greyville last Wednesday. The schedule is funny as one gets the poly track and one gets the grass and one never knows what one is going to get. However, if one has a good horse, then you can win on either. The turf at Greyville, through no fault of their own, is pretty firm and I would rather be on the all-weather track. Anyway, Flying Fiona did not disappoint her supporters and I am sure she will go on to bigger and better things.
Saturday saw the running of the Lonsdale Stirrup Cup at Greyville. The extremely well-handicapped Dean Kannemeyer’s Solid Speed won with ease. Sadly, I am sorry to say, he was chased home by our own Disco Al, who now looks destined for a penalty as well. He is probably pretty much in his place so this could make life tough for him. Coltrane found the hard going just a little bit too firm for him and we will have to give him a short break and freshen him up. Maybe a breather from the great man above (the handicapper) could be in the offing.
We decided not to run Act Of War from his wide draw and we might go elsewhere in the Durban season with him. Plans are fluid and he is doing very well and loving Summerveld and seems in particularly good order.
We are going to send out King Of Pain in the Gold Challenge, who hopefully has turned the corner. He looks magnificent and is loving his work, his ears are pricked and looks to be having a good time.
I hope he translates that into a really good and competitive run next time out. I am sure he will. He always runs well when I am not there and I will not be there this year either. I am away for a week at the Investec Oaks meeting in the UK and am looking forward to it. It is one of my few breaks away and although it is a bit of a busman’s holiday, what better place to end up than as a guest of Investec at what is probably the world’s greatest horse race.
It looks to be particularly open this year and is sure to be full of fun.
I will be spending a couple of days in London and seeing a few members of the family whom I have not seen in many a year. It is then off home to spend my last stint in Durban. I really hope Durban has some rain while I am away as they dearly need it. They are not used to holding on quite so long as we are here in the Cape. It must be tough on everyone to irrigate mechanically all the time.
Next week’s Gold Challenge is going to be a fascinating race and it is great to see Justin’s two stable stars out. He has not been having much luck in the feature races with his horse’s legs getting stuck in the hind gates. Funnily enough it happened to us with Brutal Force.
I do not blame them for allowing him to run but I would have been happier if they had taken him out. He came back with big contusions which have needed veterinary help all week to keep his legs from “blowing”. No one said it was easy.
Our runners in the Cape ran well on Sunday. I was really hoping Miss Saigon would get some bold black type but it is so competitive down here in the Cape. Anywhere else in the country and she would have earned it by now. However, the owners live here and want to watch her run and they are great, sporting people. I am sure she will earn black type soon.
Life Of Brian
It was great to have a win with Sir Henry. He is a funny old horse: people either liked him or did not like him. I was always on the side of liking him and it is great to see him get his Maiden under the belt, with an excellent ride from Bernard.
I think this horse will like the wet and will not stop here. I know these blinkers are not for everyone – and he might not run in them each race – but I think it was the kick he needed.
Well done, Finchie, on your expertise and suggestion. I always knew you had it in you on all those mornings at the track. It was a great result for Finchie as he bred him and I am very pleased for him and all the partners. It was smashing to end the day with a winner on what looked to be a fairly down day for all. Well done, team.
Having A Ball
Most importantly, I made a return to the golf course after a three year break. I had the time of my life. I could not actually get the ball in the hole – which is I suppose the whole point – but I struck it hard, well and straight. Only once did I look like a complete buffoon with a fresh air shot off the t-box.
Once I scraped the laughing Messrs de Kock, Crawford and Dita off the ground, they were able to play on. We played the most peculiar game called Wolf Man and you have to have a degree in physics and mathematics, as well as having Stephen Hawking controlling the computer to know what is or is not the final score. It is the most intriguing game on earth and heaven knows how or who ends up winning any cash. Somehow money ends up passing over but not usually in my direction. However, that could have something to do with my putting. I hope to be back on those green links soon. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and it was great to be back.
Read the full story on www.joeyramsden.com