Fairview 17 June: The meeting started on a shaky note for punters in the 1400m Juvenile Plate where the local champion two year old IN A RUSH froze inside the final 200m when looking a winner. It may have been that he prefers 1200m and inexperienced a touch of uncertainty with ears pricked and head all over the place. But ACT OF SUPREMACY swept past him in the final stages to win impressively and he is certainly going about things the right way. The ntwinkle in trainer Hekkie Strydom’s eye afterwards was discernible.
A horse that looks like he will win again is the Gavin Smith-trained CUT AND THRUST who was an emphatic winner of the 1600m Maiden Plate. He is getting better with age and while he took some time to win and beat little of note, he has been unlucky running second on more than one occasion and now that he has the confidence is one to watch.
TIGER CAT stepped up his game to win at his third start in the Maiden Plate over 1200m. He has improved quickly from an unplaced debut in May and Gavin Coetzee gave him a confident ride. A big disappointment was the favourite BLACK THUNDER who blotted his copybook with a poor run after showing promise.
Justin Snaith has made no secret of the fact that he rates the lovely two year old filly OCEAN’S SWIFT who shed her maiden at her fourth start in good fashion at Kenilworth recently. While it was not a vintage field here, she came away to win the Listed Lady’s Slipper in great style.
KEY CASTLE put himself in line to win the Eastern Cape Champion Stayer award with a valiant win in the Gold Cup, South Africa’s longest race. He galloped through late to hold off FRENCH PEARL – she is so overdue – and the well travelled CAMPO DO SANTAN. BLUEMAMBO ran a shocker after being up with the pace most of the way and he went back to the Cape with his tail firmly between his legs. He got the message: Don’t take the PE manne at their game unless you can stay the distance!
What price FRENCH PEARL in fillies company next time? She flew late to get within a length of KEY CASTLE in the Gold Cup and should win another two races at this centre with astute placement. Be with CRIMSON TIDE next time over a mile. He is a gallant sort and a trier. He never seems to get a clear run and should be out of the maiden ranks in his next two starts if things go his way for a change.
TALL SHIP is still a maiden after ten runs but is something of a travelling salesman having competed in three centres. He had no luck in Cape Town, went to Johannesburg and is now based in PE. He ran on well in the 1200m Maiden Plate and will be much better over at least 200m further next time
Happy. Very Happy!
Kenilworth 18 June: Joey Ramsden’s HAPPY FOREVER was the singularly most impressive winner of the day when he won on debut in the 1000m Maiden Plate. Glen Hatt had him in attendance for most of the way after OUTSWINGER had done the usual donkey work. When asked for an effort , the Var colt bounced clear to win with authority. He is bred to fly and obviously showed plenty at home. His hindlegs were bandaged but that put nobody off as they came for him like soldiers. It is early days, but he looks very smart. We will follow his fortunes!
ACCELERO and FINAL BUTTON vied for attention at the top of the boards in the 1200m Juvenile Plate but it was the former who showed that his long-priced debut win was no fluke when he maintained his unbeaten record. He is a cheapie and looks really very talented. FINAL BUTTON is no slouch and may need further to show his best as he runs on late. ADMIRAL JOHN PETER will face Maidens next time and ran an eye-catching, albeit well beaten third.
HERALDS BAY is inconsistent but can sprint when in the mood. He won the 1200m MR 80 Handicap catching the 900m specialist ISIDINGO about 20 metres from the line. A great ride by Domeyer and ISIDINGO should win another race before he calls it a day. OUR SMOKING JOE returned from a rest and was pacy in stages although he tired late and finished unplaced. He will come on with the run and is one to include in his next two starts.
The formbook went out of the window in the 2000m MR 84 Handicap for fillies and mares where Robert Kathi brought the bravely named MARY HINGE through the middle to hold off SUMMERLEY. Why the connections are running SUMMERLEY from the front is puzzling, but she ran a corker by coming again late in the race. VALHALLA caught the eye when recapturing her form with a nice third. There were many disappointments here including RIGHT AND READY, SCARLET SKY and ATAIR, who may have needed it. How seriously do we rely on the form here is probably the biggest question!
The lightly-raced GRASP YOUR DESTINY sliced through late down the inside rail to deny JUST TIGER in the shadow of the post in the MR77 Handicap over 1600m. The finish resulted in a Fortune family portrait with young Aldo showing his Dad a thing or two. GRASP YOUR DESTINY was winning his second race in six starts and he looks above average. JUST TIGER deserves a change of luck and he could be a good thing next time in a Novice Plate.
LIGHT BLUE having her second run after finishing twelve lengths off on debut, was seen to good effect late when finishing with a rattle in the Juvenile Plate over 1200m to finish close-up in sixth. Has a coming on sort of look about her and worth following around turn next time.
LOCKED ON TARGET ran a shocker in the 1600m MR 77 Handicap. Much better than this and give him another chance.
DUBAI GINA had her first outing from an awful 15 draw in the 1400m Maiden Plate. She Showed maturity and resolve when storming up late for third. Should be an aimer next time with a single figure draw and a similar ride.
Clairwood 19 June: What a fighter! THE MOUSEKETEER won his fourth race from eleven starts in the KZN Breeders 1600 and looks like he is on the way up. And he did it the tough way, by leading from the front. A confident Anthony Delpech seems to get a kick out of riding this cheeky colt and he took the fight to the enemy with the advantage of a tailwind. It paid off nicely and the second placed ICE AXE had no chance with him. He should love the Greyville track and maybe we will see him out on July day?
QUEEN’S COMMAND found her form at her second KZN run when she came away from her field under MJ Odendaal to win the Fillies and Mares MR 82 Handicap. Running in the interests of Michael Leaf and Andy ‘Millions’, the Australian daughter of Commands has now won three races and she looks like she will pay to follow. It was a meritorious win by a three year old with topweight. The year older SALITA ran on well from her wide draw after a quiet spell recently and she has not won since November 2009. Pencil her in.
Muzi Yeni got BOLD ALLIANCE up to win the 1000m MR 76 Handicap holding off a determined finish by Marco Latorre on the longshot FLAMING AL. BOLD ALLIANCE has been threatening to win for some time and he loves the course and distance. GLENEAGLES showed nice pace throughout under the claimer and could be a more serious factor at Greyville where he could escape his field. He looks better than a one-time winner.
The nicely bred TALENTE won the Maiden Plate over 1200m in promising fashion at her second outing and she will be a better prospect over the mile. Anton Marcus rode a confident race to get her home from the equally well bred BESMA, who was the on-course whisper. She will be a hot order next time in the maidens. YOU ARE THE ONE and DRUMADOON both recorded eyecatching debut runs while the previously consistent LITTLE SWAN ran an uindistinguised ten lengths off.
ABINGTON has always been rated by his shrewd trainer Greg Ennion and he ran on quietly for third in the feature. He could pick up a minor race before making the trip back to Cape Town at the end of the season.
FOURTH ESTATE looked dangerous in the same race and this two time winner is one to monitor when facing slightly weaker next time. 1400m looks like his game.
Notebook:-ACT OF SUPREMACY (JH Strydom, E Cape)
ACCELERO (BJ Crawford, W Cape)
HAPPY FOREVER (J Ramsden, W Cape)
JEPPE’S REEF (M Bass, KZN)
THE MOUSEKETEER (S Tarry, KZN)