Two smart sons of one of our greatest sires of the past two decades match strides at Kenilworth on Tuesday. Dressed In Cotton and Villa Del Largo carry the Jallad flag in a competitive sprint handicap that should produce a rousing finish.
The seasonal switch of timing sees the Cape midweek racing reverting to Tuesday afternoons. In terms of National Fixtures Committee policy, KwaZulu Natal will race mainly on Wednesdays for the duration of the Champions Season from May to July, and the Western Cape will occupy the Tuesday slot. The status quo will revert from 1 August onwards.
Our champion sire of 2002, the irrepressible Highlands based son of Blushing Groom, Jallad, now 25 years old and retired, occupied a top five position on our champions sires table for longer than we care to remember. South Africa’s leading stallion manager John Freeman wrote some time ago:
It’s amazing how quickly our market forsakes past champions. We have never lost faith in Jallad as he has never failed to get a star performer in every one of his crops to date. The evidence that he passes the large heart gene to both his male and female progeny is irrefutable. We learnt long ago never to say die! When Mexico was 26 we decided not to buy a well-made full brother to a colt we’d had success with “because the sire was too old” – this full brother became the 3rd Bloodline Million winner Fast Gun. Jallad will produce more stakes winners!
That’s stirring stuff and while Tuesday’s prize is hardly the pittance of dreams, the two Jallads could fight it out.
Darryl Hodgson trains Dressed In Cotton for Hassen Adams, who also bred him. The 4yo gelding has recorded all of his 3 career wins over Tuesday’s course and distance, and won a good race last time when catapulting clear late to win an MR80 Handicap by 1,50 lengths from Bashir. The latter mentioned subsequently went on to win a lowly rated sprint on the Worker’s Day public holiday a week later.
Dressed In Cotton was rather worryingly coughing after the race, and steps up in class here. But he has the stamp of a maturing horse who, but for his problems, would be winning more races. Regular rider Fareed Anthony is obviously unable to make the weight, and Glen Hatt jumps aboard for the first time.
Bernard Fayd’herbe will ride the year younger Villa Del Largo for Justin Snaith. It may just be 200m too short for him, but he looks progressive. A winner of his penultimate start in PE, the R750 000 purchase ran a fair race last time in a strong Progress Plate over 1400m, when just 2,55 lengths behind the Champions Season bound Punta Arenas He has his first attempt at 1000m here, and the authoritative manner of his 1200m wins suggest that he will cope with the more onerous pace demands here.
Karl Neisius rides Captain Harry for Eric Sands. The entire has not won a race since September 2011, but hasrun some fair races over the course and distance behind the likes of Cape Royal, and more recently, What A Winter.
His last start when just over two lengths off the Champion sprinter What A Winter in a Pinnacle Stakes was a superb effort at the weights, and Captain Harry has an undeniable shout here if he repeats that level of performance.
General Assembly and Moonlight Gambler represent the Prestage stable. Both are winter types, but are capable and have won 13 races between them. The former has been rested 122 days and only has his second outing of 2013.
He is a capable sort who appears to have soundness issues, and has lost his form at his last three outings. A look back historically shows his preference for the kinder winter going, and rain would aid his cause dramatically.
Moonlight Gambler appears to be holding his form well and stayed on strongly at his last start in an MR 94 handicap over 200m further, when just a length behind President Of Pop in a five horse field.
Joey Ramsden’s Matty G gelding Howdoulikemenow has his 67th start, and while a winner of 8 races, has not troubled the judge in some time. He coughed at his last outing when finishing some 5,35 lengths off Dressed In Cotton, whom he meets on a kilo better terms. Howdoulikemenow is capable of a solid turn of foot if caught in the right mood, and may be worth including in quartets.
Glen Kotzen’s Deep Sleep gelding Roaring Wind is a capable sprinter who has won 3 of his 8 starts. He obviously has his soundness issues and returns from a 263 day rest. Var’s son Peanuts has relocated from Roy Magner to Vaughan Marshall and has his fourth run since being gelded.
The 3yo has obviously fair promise judging from some of the challenging races he has been exposed to, but is likely to need this after his 234 day break from action.
While Captain Harry ran a great race behind What A Winter last time and comes into the picture, we are going with Dressed In Cotton to register his fourth win at the expense of Villa Del Largo.The recently improved again Moonlight Gambler may be best of the rest. It is difficult making a compelling case for any individual in a race of such varying profiles.