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Kannemeyer Eyes Another Cape Derby

Letting his horses do the talking

After an impressive last to first victory at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth in Saturday’s traditional Derby trial, the Schweppes Gr3 Politician Stakes, Dean Kannemeyer has confirmed that Green With Envy is on track for a tilt at the SplashOut Gr1 Cape Derby at the same venue on 24 February.

The seafood and jazz festival is the traditional curtain call on the summer season of champions and is headlined by the Cape Derby and the Khaya Stables Gr2 Diadem Stakes.

Triumphant trainer Dean Kannemeyer looking ahead to the Cape Derby! (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

Dean won the Cape Derby in 2003 with the iconic Dynasty, and in 2013 with Capetown Noir, who also raced in the Khaya silks.

“There was talk and suggestions at the time to supplement Capetown Noir for the Met. But I have always been of the belief that if a 3yo is good enough, let him take his chances against his own age in the classics – he after all, only gets one chance to win a Cape Guineas or a Cape Derby!”

Capetown Noir had won the Cape Guineas and started a red-hot 4-10 favourite for the Derby. With a muddling early pace, things could have gone awry, but the astute Karl Neisius was in tune with the sprint for home and he duly arrived in style.

When asked to compare his past winners against Green With Envy, Dean cautions against comparing horses and says he prefers to let his horses do the talking on the racetrack.

Craig Zackey and Thando Mdlulu with Green With Envy at the pull-up (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

“Dynasty has been a breed changer – I think he has sired four Cape Derby winners himself! You will notice that Green With Envy doesn’t go with them early and only finds his feet late. Capetown Noir on the other hand had amazing cruising speed. Green With Envy is a classy sort with a really fantastic temperament, but also has plenty of maturing to do still and is far from the finished product,” he adds as he typically conservatively observes that he thought that his charge won ‘really well’.

“The going was on top at Hollywoodbets Durbanville in October. He produced a dazzling late run to win there but was then run off his feet. But our jockey Craig Zackey always said that once we get back to Hollywoodbets Kenilworth, he would show his real ability. His third in the Gr2 Cape Punters Cup and then fourth in the Gr1 Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas saw him running on powerfully. The extra 200m of the Politician Stakes on Saturday was right up his alley, and he showed up admirably carrying 60kgs. His Galileo dam won at 2400m in Ireland, so the stamina is there and I am of the opinion that he will be even better over the 2000m of the Derby.”

So how important is the Cape Derby to a trainer in the scheme of things?

“Important! One only has to look back over the years and see how many stallions and Equus champions have won this race. I may be showing my age now, but looking back the Cape Derby has been won by stars like Colorado King, Sea Cottage, Politician, Bold Tropic and Mazarin, who history shows were some of the finest racehorses ever to grace the South African turf. Then Colorado King, Bold Tropic, and Jay Peg all went on to enjoy further success overseas. The results are there!”

Pas De Quoi wins the 1990 Cape Derby

The Kannemeyer name has been synonymous with racing in the Cape for 75 years, and while the world has changed face in the fifty years since he first started riding work for his late Dad before school in the early mornings, the now 63 year old Dean has never deviated far from the ‘Peekay Pearls’ – one of which is a philosophy of patience.

“Time is money, but you will always be rewarded by patience with a racehorse. Pushing them inevitably comes at a cost. I am fortunate to enjoy the patronage of an owner like Lady Christine Laidlaw who always lets me do the training.”

A long-time supporter of racing in South Africa, Lady Laidlaw in fact enjoyed a great day on Saturday, with her super-consistent At My Command finally putting it all together to register his fourth career victory for trainer Brett Crawford  after 16 months of frustrating place cheques – albeit, often in the best of company.

Lady Christine Laidlaw congratulates Craig Zackey after Green With Envy’s terrific win (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

We asked Dean about the whereabouts of Gr1 star Gimme A Prince, who chased Charles Dickens in the Hollywoodbets Matchem Stakes and missed the Cape Flying Championship, and his 3yo full-brother The Real Prince. We had hoped to see the latter over the past two months after an eyecatching debut effort in early December.

“The top-class Gimme A Prince is lightly raced and we should have him back for the Diadem on Derby day. We had a setback with The Real Prince in Durban earlier last year, and I was happy to just get a run under his belt. He won really smartly as you observe, but I wouldn’t have pushed him into the deep end immediately. I would like to believe that he is a SA Champions Season kind of horse. Let’s see!” he smiles.

  • Entries for the R1,5 million SplashOut Gr1 Cape Derby close at 11h00 on Monday 12 February.
  • Supplementary entries close at 11h00 on Friday 16 February.
  • Declarations are due by 11h00 on Monday 19 February.

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