The 2012 running of Saturday’s Durbanville feature, the R125 000 Listed Settlers Trophy run over 2400m, produced the winner of South Africa’ premier staying race in 2013. Gr1 Gold Cup winner Jeppe’s Reef has set the bar rather high for the eight runners that go to post this year, although when they stay, they always have a chance.
Veteran trainer Mike Bass would probably not have wagered the family silver on the fact that a win in this rather modest event would be the precursor to the Jallad gelding Jeppe’s Reef’s Gold Cup win ten months later, but the staying scene is a fascinating one.
Consider the fact that the 2012 Gold Cup winner In Writing was beaten just a length in this event by the Riaan Van Reenen trained Sun City the previous year. That adds plenty of credence to the argument that when a horse stays, he always has a chance.
While the 2014 Gold Cup winner is likely not in Saturday’s line up, there are a few fair sorts worthy of going on with it. One of these is Darryl Hodgson’s Miesque’s Approval gelding Putney Flyer ran second in this race last year and could go one better this time round. The 5yo was despatched to Gauteng for a stint at Weiho Marwing’s yard earlier this year.
He failed to win, but ran a cracking second to General Sherman in the Listed Drum Star, before finishing on top of the placed horses in the Colorado King Stakes. Outclassed in the Gr1 President’s Champions Challenge, his solid fourth just under four lengths behind Kolkata in the Gr2 Gold Vase on July Day was a better indication of his ability. Rested thereafter, Putney Flyer has had two pipe openers and looks fit and ready to take on a challenge he is very capable of winning.
Richard Fourie and Justin Snaith have made a terrific start to their season and they team up with the Casey Tibbs gelding Cigar Boy. The 4yo ran a 1,50 length second to Texas Flood last time and is now 1, 5kgs better off with the Elley runner. While Cigar Boy is yet to win at this distance, his excellent third in the Gr3 Winter Derby to Gifted For Glory earlier this year, indicates that he will have no problem with the trip.
The Listed Glenlair Trophy winner Paddy O’Reilly has his first run since a terrific effort in the Gr1 Gold Cup on Super Saturday. Paddy O’Reilly finished fifth in the big marathon and under 3 lengths back to Jeppe’s Reef after finishing well.
It was a great effort considering his soundness issues and the fact that he had travelled by road from his Noordhoek base to contest our premier staying event. The highest rated runner in the race, Paddy O’Reilly’s wellbeing has to be taken on trust.
The Stan Elley trained Texas Flood is a stayer who continues to befuddle his detractors, and always seems to come up trumps when least expected. The son of Surging River battled for sixteen runs to shed his maiden, but has hit top form having won 4 of his last 11 starts. Denies Lee piloted Texas Flood to a smooth win in an MR 96 Handicap over the 2400m last time, and she is engaged again.
Texas Flood beat all of Cigar Boy (2 lengths), Posh Boy (6,65 lengths), Political Playboy (9.90 lengths) and Nysean Bolt (10,40 lengths) there. They are all varying degrees better off with him this time, but the gallant course and distance winner is bound to be fit and full of fight again.
Glen Kotzen’s Political Playboy is all of 3kgs better off with Texas Flood on their last clash and should go closer. The one eyed Australian bred 5yo son of Dehere won three on the trot in early 2011 and was even thought good enough for a possible July bid. He has failed to reach those heady expectations and while his disability is obviously a hindrance, he appears capable of winning a race of this nature.
Trainer Riaan Van Reenen has a knack with training stayers and he won this event in 2011 with Sun City. His representative this weekend is the 8yo Manshood gelding Posh Boy, who goes for his ninth win at his 64th start. The course and distance winner is always capable of surprising as he stays very well and is never far off.
He turned the corner briefly when travelling to Corinne Bestel in KZN late last year when he won two races on the trot and comes in with a galloping weight here. He also is 3,5 kgs better off with Texas Flood on their last meeting.
Greg Ennion’s 6yo Nysean Bolt is one of the most frustrating horses racing in the Cape. The son of Nysaean won the Gr3 Winter Derby in 2011 and was being spoken about as something special in the making. Two years on and many disappointments later for his supporters, he remains a winner of 3 of his 24 starts. Nysean Bolt appears to have overcome his starting stall issues, and has not been disgraced at his last two starts.
Having tumbled down the handicap from a rating of 99 to 84, it stands to good reason that he has the capabilities required to win this race if finding his best feet. And if he jump, of cpurse!
The stakes winning mare Dancing Dynasty is the only representative of the fairer sex in the field, and will be ridden by the in form Glen Hatt. Lightly raced as a winner of 2 of her 11 starts, she goes 2400m for the first time on Saturday. Both her wins were achieved over a mile, although she ran a fair third in the Listed Winter Oaks run over 2200. On breeding she should go the distance and despite lacking recent form, could be a danger for the quartet.
Step For Gold
A fascinating staying battle is on the cards, with the likes of Putney Flyer, Paddy O’Reilly and Cigar Boy likely to fight it out. Putney Flyer looks to have had a nice preparation and should enjoy running at them late off a good pace. If sound, Paddy O’ Reilly will be right there. Gigar Boy will also be a popular inclusion.
Please note: The Checkers Battle of the Braai Competition has been postponed.
Racegoers can brush shoulders with the celebrity judges who will be on hand to judge the Battle of the Braai Competition.
Entrants will be required to create a mouth-watering recipe from the wide selection of quality A-grade meat available at Checkers. All meat must be purchased at the following stores, Checkers Durbanville, Checkers Willow Village and Checkers Hyper Brackenfell.
Entry forms for the Checkers Battle of the Braai competition are available from these stores. The winner will walk away with a R5000 Checkers voucher; second place will receive a R2500 Checkers voucher and third place a R500 Checkers voucher. Enjoy the relaxing vibe of the Beer Garden, come and taste Checkers’ exclusive Odd Bins wines – wines from leading estates at a fraction of the price – and visit the Checkers Championship Boerewors stand where they will be selling South Africa’s best.
An arts and craft market will also keep the adults entertained, while free kiddie’s activities including free popcorn and candyfloss for the first 100, will ensure the younger set are kept busy. The gates open at 11:00.