Millers dominate again

Kimberley 3 October

Bang in form. Cliffie Miller saddled two winners today.

A form reversal of schizophrenic proportions. That is the only way of describing the shock win at 25-1 by the Corne Spies trained Dancing Away on 3 October at Flamingo Park. Add to this the dismal run of the 9-10 favourite Sir Newton  in the final leg of the jackpot, and one realises again that, very often, anything goes at this venue.

A total of 52 lengths back at his last three Kimberley outings, the Spies’ three year old Alami gelding improved dramatically over the 2200m trip to shock exotic punters in what was generally thought to be a competitive fifth race handicap contested by just eight runners.

Ewert Pheiffer was the unpopular jockey who had the honour of driving the three year old through a gap and staying on to beat the hard-knocking Gold Trump and Golden Occassion, who had to be content with the minor place cheques.  Randall Simons had made the pace here on Cador and the Gauteng based rider had slowed things up in mid-race and this may have impacted on the disastrous outcome for punters. The trainer’s explanation of the turnaround will be awaited with interest once the Stipes Report is published. Watch this space!

The young Pheiffer had ridden a tremendous race earlier when winning the third event with a superb front-running effort on the Cliffie Miller-trained Danter. The unfancied Western Winter filly jumped from the extreme outside draw in the 1400m Maiden Plate,in a race where her fancied stablemate Fire Escape made no show.  Pheiffer’s 500-1 double showed what some jockeys can do with limited opportunity.

Winning again. Muzi Yeni rode a top race on Bader.

Voyager Miles Muzi was also back amongst the winners. Yeni, who travels to every corner of South Africa, is an enthusiastic and talented rider and he rode a great race on the former Glen Kotzen horse Bader who has found his feet on the sand. He won the MR69 Handicap over 1000m. He was just too fast on the Jaap Visser gelding for the Cliffie Miller trained Currahal who was backed to 9-10, and eventually ran third. Word has it that Yeni has curtailed his Western Cape conquest and won’t be travelling down there for now. We speculated about this possibility a week ago, and one can hardly blame him in view of the quality of rides he was getting.

Tellytrack presenter Gareth Pepper, or the ‘Fat Kid’ as he likes to refer to himself,  had a good afternoon in front of the cameras. It ages one just listening to him, as a twenty-four year, old calling commentator Alastair Cohen and trainer Shaun Miller  ‘young guys’. And Pepper was spot-on with his very brave negative assessment of the odds-on favourite Sir Newton, in the final leg of the jackpot. He cautioned punters that the favourite’s coat ‘looked off’ and suggested a bet rather on the 11-2 shot Trifolium, who he said looked as well as Sir Newton didn’t.  Trifolium eventually won by half the racecourse with Sir Newton falling in a large hole. It is commendable and enjoyable to hear the on-course presenters putting themselves on the line in what is a largely no-win ‘damned if they do and damned if they don’t’ predicament. Well done Gareth.

Staked his claim. Tellytrack's Gareth Pepper put his reputation on the line.

Shaun Miller chalked up his fourth winner of a great day when Donovan Mansour rode his second of the afternoon, when the inconsistent Ed’s Angel beat a competitive field in the last, an MR68 Handicap for fillies and mares over 1400m. The daughter of Alado had looked ‘terrible’ by her trainer’s own admission at her last start when running well below par. The young trainer admitted that her jockey that day, Gunther Wrogemann, had wanted to scratch her at the start- which must irk her backers as she started at 22-10 and took a bundle of PA tickets with her then. She remains a great advert for the ‘switch to sand’ option’. As Miller observed, the Kimberley stakes aren’t too bad and the keep is half the price of the major centres. Sounds like one could even make a profit – a foreign concept to most owners!

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