Leaving It Late

Racing: Clockwatcher's column to 30 Jan

Fairview 28th January

Captain In Command

They raced in Port Elizabeth on Friday where victory in the opening maiden event over 2400m went to the deposed favourite MEDIEVAL ERA. Allowed to ease out to 4/1 from 5/2 at the track, Justin Snaith’s charge raced in midfield during the early part of the race. He ran on best of all down the long home straight and in what proved to be a real thriller, he got up in the very last stride to deny the friendless LORD CAMDEN (16/1 out to 25/1).

The easiest victory on the card was recorded by CAPTAIN’S COVE who came home smoking in the MR79 Handicap over 1200m. Soon up handy, the daughter of Captain Al raced prominent throughout. She was ridden to lead as they approached the 300m marker and went on to score very comfortably by three and a quarter from the improving KWACHA.

The afternoon’s feature event was a MR100 Handicap over 2400m and here victory went to the only female in the race LOVETORN. Confidently ridden by apprentice Andrews, the Giant’s Causeway mare raced towards the rear of the six for most of the journey. She ran on best of all over the final 400m and under a well judged ride she got up late to beat the in form OCTOBER CLUB by a neck.


MILLION MILES ran on stoutly in his first post maiden start and with the rest well beaten he only went down to a good sort in GAJA by the narrowest of margins.

Turffontein 29th January

Home Alone

Saturday’s action took place on the inner track where the easiest victory in the maiden ranks was recorded by MICRO JET (18) in the 1800m event. Soon up handy, Stuart Pettigrew’s charge raced prominent throughout. She was ridden to lead at the top of the short home straight and went on to score very easily by three from FLIGHT SPECIALIST.

A MR72 Handicap over 1450m was next up and here we saw a smart performance from the Weiho Marwing trained FORT ANNOUNCE (43). Freely available at 15/2 in what soon became a very strung out field, Fort Announce was positioned in the rear as the fourteen runners came off the strip. Once in the straight though, he fairly flew and after striking the front 150m from home, he easily drew clear. Fort Announce won well and is clearly better than his current record would suggest.

The final event on the card was a MR73 Handicap over 1800m and here we saw a very easy victory for the 3yo BELMONTE (41). Nicely drawn in gate two, the son of Windrush was soon positioned close to the speed. He was asked to take up the running as they approached the 400m marker and with the other handily placed runners all coming under pressure from that point, he went on to win unchallenged by seven.


DANCEWITHTHEDEVIL ran on very nicely in the latter stages to take second in the MR86 Handicap over 1450m and is clearly much better than currently rated.

Kenilworth 29th January

Past And Present

The first of the three Gr1 events to get underway on Saturday was the 2000m Investec Derby and in what proved to be a real thriller, victory here went to the Vaughan Marshall trained TOP SELLER. Freely available at 22/1 on the off, the son of Al Mufti sat in midfield for most of the journey. The much more fancied IL SAGGIATORE raced with him and when that one struck the front 100m from home, he looked to have done everything right. Top Seller finished marginally the stronger at the business end of the race though and in an event where less than a neck separated the first three home, he got up in the very last stride.

The Gr1 Majorca Stakes over 1600m was next up and sent off a rather uneasy favourite here was the Gauteng raider GIBRALTAR BLUE. Allowed to ease right out to 22/10 from 12/10 on course as money in the main came for COVENANT and LOVE IS IN THE AIR, Gibraltar Blue was soon in her favourite position at the head of affairs. She was three lengths clear entering the straight and still in command of a useful advantage approaching the 200m marker, it looked as if she might hold on. The vastly experienced Karl Neisius had gradually been reeling her in aboard the well supported Covenant though, and under a well judged ride Mike Bass’ charge got up late. Covenant has shown considerable improvement in her last two starts and clearly has a very bright future ahead of her.

The prestigious Gr1 J&B Met over 2000m topped the bill and in what was a dream come true for jockey Gerrit Schlechter, the 4yo PAST MASTER was victorious. Skilfully guided over from a wide draw by Schlechter, Past Master was soon handily positioned. He kicked nicely when asked for his effort 500m out and after striking the front 200m from home, he kept on strongly in the latter stages of the race to hold off the recent Queen’s Plate winner MOTHER RUSSIA.


Positioned in the rear going through halfway, the heavily supported COPPER PARADE (6/1 into 33/10) fairly flew at the business end of the MR94 Handicap over 1200m and did very well to get up for second.

BASTILLE DAY ran on stoutly from the back in the Cape Derby and was only beaten 1,9 lengths.

Vaal 30th January

Two To Follow

They raced on the turf on Sunday where we saw two very smart performances by newcomers from the Mike De Kock stable. The first of these was BERRY BLAZE (27) who was sent off a rather uneasy 28/10 favourite in the maiden event for the girls over 1200m. Not the quickest into stride, the daughter of Danehill Dancer raced in the rear during the early part of the race. She was easily eight lengths off the pace going through halfway and at that stage was looking very unlikely to place let alone win. Once realising what was expected of her though, she quickened in good style and did very well indeed to get up in the dying strides.

Stable companion WELWITSCHIA (29) was always in the red to win the second division of the maiden 1200m. She too wasn’t the quickest into stride, but despite that she was soon up handy. She was ridden to lead shortly after passing the 500m marker and with plenty in hand she easily accounted for POLISH LADY by seven and a half.

A MR97 Handicap over 2400m topped the bill and here it was nice to see the 6yo HEROD THE GREAT register his fifth career victory. Nibbled at on course into 5/1 from 7’s, Ormond Ferraris’ charge was always handy. He ran on stoutly down the long home straight and after a thrilling tussle with LION’S BLOOD, it was only by the narrowest of margins that he got the verdict.


The two Mike De Kock trained first time winners Berry Blaze and Welwitschia are both behind at weight for age and can be expected to improve plenty.

Top speedratings for this weekend include:-

Flamingo Park

Race 1: No Qualifiers

Race 2: No Qualifiers

Race 3: (15) Vasco 2

Race 4: (14) Hard Wood 6

Race 5: (14) King Joshua 52

Race 6: (15) Supreme Lecture 46

Race 7: (3) Crown Of Power 74

Race 8: (4) Look For Light 39

Race 9: (2) Snazzy Jazz 43 (EW)


Race 1: (6) Pageant 9

Race 2: (2) Copperloochee 15

Race 3: (10) Day By Day 31

Race 4: (15) Princess Tina 11

Race 5: (9) Eliza Maria 78 (EW)

Race 6: (8) Beat The Wind 43

Race 7: (11) Cindy Cee 70

Race 8: (11) Arabian Sands 55

Race 9: (2) September Moon 9


Race 1: (1) Hidden Beauty 18

Race 2: (2) Carlito Brigante 26

Race 3: (8) Simply Good 11

Race 4: (1) Dancewiththedevil 53 (NAP*)

Race 5: (4) Count Express 99

Race 6: (12) Tobrusky 56

Race 7: (10) Cavern Club 47

Race 8: (9) Gold Game 83


Race 1: (1) Dark Journey 4

Race 2: (1) Mister Gone 17

Race 3: (7) Chosen Kid 4

Race 4: (8) Six To Six 44

Race 5: (11) Stirling Range 49

Race 6: (8) Royal Magic 59

Race 7: (8) Mombasa 75

Race 8: (2) Boobalina 7


Race 1: No Qualifiers

Race 2: (2) Skyblade 14

Race 3: (2) Let It Be 24

Race 4: (9) Jamberoo 26

Race 5: (1) Sayadaw 71

Race 6: (1) Onehundredacrewood 70

Race 7: (11) Forest 84

Race 8: (15) Midnight Charger 54

Race 9: (14) Lightning Mcqueen 57 (EW)

Race 10: (1) Winning Wild 28

Race 11: (14) Strike Master 5

Top rated winners last week included:-

Hobbit won 16/1

Past Master won 15/1

Covenant won 4/1

Ephraim won 3/1

Ireland won 28/10

Kimberley Gem won 5/2

Century Girl won 18/10

Micro Jet won 15/10


Berry Blaze (M De Kock, Gauteng)

Dancewiththedevil (St John Gray, Gauteng)

Past Master (D Hodgson, W-Cape)

Welwitschia (M De Kock, Gauteng)


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

Fairview 28th January

Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (3)  Captain’s Cove

Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (3)            Gaja

Fastest Long 1900-3600 (2)    Lovetorn

Turffontein 29th January

Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (1)  Regal Roxy

Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (8)            Fort Announce

Fastest Long 1900-3600 (0)    No Qualifiers

Kenilworth 29th January

Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (3)  Princess Victoria

Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (4)            Prince Of Troy

Fastest Long 1900-3600 (3)    Top Seller

Vaal 30th January

Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (5)  Shalako

Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (3)            Royal Insignia

Fastest Long 1900-3600 (2)    Gwadule

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