Maingard All Smiles As Alitalia Flies Home

Mauritian Racing in the Spotlight

Trainer Ricky Maingard’s well thought out plan to win the premier Mauritius sprint classic all came together on Saturday. The Princess Margaret Cup was won in emphatic fashion by the talented Alitalia after Maingard  made the tough call to withdraw Capitaine after he drew badly. Winning jockey Rye Joorawon was seen at his best as he pulled off a double with Prince Of Prussia, to share the riding honours on the day with Corne Orffer.

It was a race of true speed and changing fortunes as Short Corner showed tremendous early speed with  Juanfra also going very fast to  edge him after a few strides. Always A Pleasure then went past both of these two at  the beginning of the back straight to set a blistering gallop. At the 600 metres mark Juanfra was the first to make his move as Short Corner went after him, while Alitalia was just behind and waiting for a run down the inside at the beginning of the final straight.


Always A Pleasure had cried enough as they turned into  the home straight, at which point  Juanfra looked a winner. All the while  Alitalia was running on from the inside rail, while Profit Report had to shift right to the outside to make his run. The Cardinal had to check badly as Short Corner hung out and this undoubtedly affected his chances. Alitalia had hit the front at the 100 metres as Juanfra faded and Profit Report,  under an energetic ride by Corne Orffer,  was finishing fast. The winning post came just in time for Alitalia who won by a short head. Short Corner held on for the third place. Ricky Maingard said afterwards that it was a great performance by Alitalia in his first start at this level and that it was unbelievable to recall that he started his career here in the lower divisions and had now won his first graded race:

“ Luck was just on our side and I would say that Alitalia,  who has now won ten races since arriving here, has earned a good break,” said an elated Maingard.

Rye Joorawon was in top form as he enjoyed some good fortune in the opening event of the day on the Gilbert Rousset trained favorite, Prince Of Prussia. He encountered traffic problems and was hampered more than once during the race but managed to produce the better finish to win from Place On The Bay. South African jockey Corne Orffer was lucky to escape injury after a fall from the newcomer, Eternal Light in the second race. As the stall – gates opened, Eternal Light was nervous and Orffer was thrown from the saddle.  Richard Fourie won the race on Betrayed and led from pillar to post to hold Rye Joorawon and Burnt Sun at bay.


A slightly shaken Corne Orffer was back in the saddle on Traianius in the third race. . In stark contrast to his last start, he travelled close to the pace throughout and when put under pressure at the 400 metres, he quickened smartly to draw away and win well. Outsider, Mark Of Mariner ran second.  Orffer,  who was unlucky on  Profit Report in the main event,  completed his double on Gamekeeper in the seventh race. . Everything went his way this time as Gamekeeper travelled in third position throughout behind Stateship and Cape Rainbow. Gamekeeper quickened nicely at the 400 metres mark and he kept going well in the home run to win easily from Power Control.

The in-form Johnny Geroudis saved his day with the well supported, Steel Of Approval who made it three in row in the fourth race. Steel Of Approval won from pillar to post to beat Amalgam  by almost four lengths. But the race soured for Geroudis after he incurred a fine – see People In The News. An unlucky loser of his last start, I’ll Be Back made amends on Saturday to win easily. Glen Hatt had a difficult time of it trying to settle his mount in the first 300 metres. But he succeeded and I’ll Be Back responded well when put under pressure to win easily from a hard ridden Man Of His Words, with Richard Fourie up. French jockey Gaëtan Faucon made no mistakes with the odds-on favorite, Il Magnifico, in the eighth race. He travelled in second position throughout just behind Roofing and quickened nicely at the 500 metres mark to enter the final straight in first position. Il Magnifico kept going well with the former Duncan Howells trained Cocktail Parade a bit unlucky in  second place.


It is not all wine and roses and Johnny Geroudis experienced something of a dampner to his recent purple patch when he was fined Rs 20 000 for careless riding on Steel Of Approval in the fourth race .Australian jockey, Aaron Spiteri has parted company with the Vincent Allet stable and according to reports, Spiteri has not been happy for the last three weeks and asked for his release. Vincent Allet is apparently looking to sign a new jockey from Singapore.

Aussie Shane Dye, who was  fired by the Rameshwar Gujadhur stable has not been able to find another job here. He  has received an offer to ride in India but said that he was going to go to Hong Kong before considering the Indian offer.


The Top FM Challenge Cup to be run over 1500m is the feature event on this Saturday’s programme and the well-performed Strike Again is the standout horse amongst the initial seven nominations received. Bright Stone and Modern Monet will be no pushovers, however, and the well performed Capitaine may well be supplemented, depending on what his trainer Ricky Maingard, decides on Wednesday.

Strike Again has been a model of consistency  since the start of the season with two wins and two places from his only four starts. The handsome bay gelding from the Serge Henry stable has been kept fresh since his last outing and has been impressive at track work. He is in his  peak form at the moment and with jockey Corne Orffer bang in form, he should have a huge winning chance.

Bright Stone is another consistent sort and he has also won two races and finished in the money three times in six starts. He ran a good race against Disa Leader in his last start over 1600 metres and if given the gap to set the pace without too much pressure, this resolute galloper stands a good chance of winning.

Modern Monet won a race beating Capitaine earlier this season but the Gujadhur charge is not the most onsistent sort on the island. He finished a good second over 1000 metres a month ago but was disappointing in his last start. The 1500 metres should suit him better and if he resurrects his finishing power that we know he is capable of,  he could surprise.   Flaminglight is coming to form nicely. He finished a good second at both his last two starts and with a bit of luck in running, he could go close. The former Justin Snaith-trained Fingal’s Cave ran a very average race  on his debut and with this run under the belt, he may have come on and could  be a quartet inclusion at his best. Both Pick Six and Stunning Do have been very disappointing and look unlikely to cause an upset in this competitive lineup.

Entries: Bright Stone, Fingal’s Cave, Flaminglight, Modern Monet, Pick Six, Strike Again and Stunning Do.

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