The Cape winter and tricky handicaps are inevitable ingredients for a cocktail of healthy exotic bet payouts. That looks the case on the ten race Kenilworth public holiday programme on Monday, where the enigmatic Andrew Fortune will be keen to emerge from his hibernation with a long overdue return to winning ways.
Fortune is a legendary crowd favourite in the jockey ranks with his genius in the saddle and his self deprecating ways out of it. He will probably not be thrilled by the fact that he has not ridden a winner in the Cape in close to two months, although to be fair, he has only had a handful of rides.
Fortune has a good a chance as any of five runners, when he partners the Var gelding Lord Jonathan for Corne Spies in the day’s mainliner. The 3yo, like most of the Spies horses, is probably the fittest horse in the race. Lord Jonathan is a winner of 5 of his 23 outings to date.
While four of those victories were registered in the Eastern Cape, he has won at Kenilworth over 1400m. He also has the pace to carry the day here. A glance down his formline shows a smart Listed race two length second to a certain King Of Pain in his baby year. If anything, Lord Jonathan has improved dramatically and strengthened with racing. Fortunes rides him for the first time, and will give him every chance.
Love The Ground
Trainer Bill Prestage sends out a powerful thirteen win coupling of the Indigo Magic gelding Moonlight Gambler, and the two year younger General Assembly. Both of these fellows enjoy the winter going! Moonlight Gambler has been around forever.
He is also a stakes winner over the course and distance, albeit a long time ago. He won the 2008 Listed Sophomore Sprint at his third outing beating a fair field, none of whom are racing anymore. Since then he has clocked up the mileage and lines up for the 63rd time on Monday.
It would be unfair to label him with the derogatory tags of a mudlark or wet weather wonder, as he has won all year round. But there is no denying that with the mellowing of the years, he enjoys the sting out of the ground and the fact that the sharper sprinters are wrapped in cotton wool at home.
Apprentice Girish Goomamy takes a handy 4kgs off his back here and after being bumped last time behind the capable Dressed In Cotton, he will appreciate the extra 200m here. He is also 6,5 kgs better off with his stable companion, General Assembly, who finished just over 3 lengths in front of him there.
His stablemate also lines up with a claiming apprentice. General Assembly has won 7 races and has his 27th outing. Apprentice Jason Smitsdorff, who has won on him previously, got him to spark nicely when running on stoutly behind Dessed In Cotton last time. He finished two lengths behind Dressed In Cotton conceding a half kilo, and could be finding something close to peak fitness again.
Glen Kotzen’s Roaring Wind is a dual course and distance winner, who although a winner over a mile in PE, returns to what appears to be his best trip. The son of Deep Sleep produced a flat second run after a rest effort last time in heavy going over the Kenilworth 1400m, when fading late. Prior to that he ran a cracking second to Dressed In Cotton over the minimum trip at Kenilworth. That was a great run considering that he returned from a nine month break.
Justin Snaith and Bernard Fayd’herbe team up with the well travelled The Plunderer. The son of Spectrum was a shock course and distance winner on Met day when beating the well thought of Tevez in a quality MR 100 Handicap. He has since won again in Port Elizabeth over 1400m, but looks well held by Moonlight Gambler on his 13 March course and distance outing.
Yogas Govender’s Bad Winter is a three time winner, who seldom finishes far off the action. He is 2,5 kgs better with The Plunderer on his penultimate course and distance start when finishing marginally behind the Snaith runner.
Dean Kannemeyer’s Cypress Point obviously has his soundness issues nd has also developed a bad habit of jumping tardily, which does not help in races down the straight. The son of Right Approach is battling to regain his best form, but when feeling right is a very capable sort with an electric turn of foot. He must be included on trust.
The second of the Kannemeyer runners is the Victory Moon gelding Equitoria, who has his first run since gelding and returns from a 611 day rest. He showed a penchant for more ground when winning two of his first four starts and is likely to be outpaced and lacking match fitness.
Pride Of Place
The only filly in this race is Mike Stewart’s Jean’s Pride. The pacy daughter of Western Winter has won 3 of 27 starts and is endowed with plenty of speed. She was reported not striding out last time in a fillies handicap and just seems to lack the puff to run all the way to the wire. Jean’s Pride has a tough task here.
Watch The Weather
In a tough contest where the weather and the going are likely to play a major outcome, we are leaning towards Moonlight Gambler to edge out Roaring Wind, with Lord Jonathan a likely challenger with that legend in the saddle. If in the mood and on top of his game, General Assembly should offer some fair value as a serious danger.