Eastern Cape horseracing is not for the faint of heart. That was proven once again when the favourite Way Clear came horribly unstuck in Friday’s R75 000 Racing Association Sophomore Plate run over 1400m at Fairview.
But as they say, one’s man meat is another man’s poison and trainer Yvette Bremner and her loyal owners Hedley McGrath and Marsh Shirtliff were smiling all the way to the bank.
Their Dupont gelding Double Nelson charged clear to win going away and record a meritorious win, off a handicap mark that gave him no chance.
The Alan Greeff-trained Racing Association Stakes winner Way Clear went in here having won his last three starts most impressively and looked handicapped to win it by a good few lengths.
But sadly, it was not to be. After seemingly being given every chance by MJ Byleveld, who had settled him in midfield early, Way Clear was the first horse beaten in the home run.
Muzi Yeni took the free-striding Blushing Peter up to lead and he showed the way from Cavalar, with Tealion and Dash’s Inn further back. At this stage Double Nelson and Cape visitor Skippyjon Jones were lobbing along in last place.
Into the straight, Blushing Peter rolled on as Lord Jonathan looked dangerous wide out, with Byleveld getting stuck into Way Clear.
Inside the final 200m Warren Kennedy produced Double Nelson with a storming late run that carried him into the lead. He went on to beat Lord Jonathan by 1,25 lengths.
Corne Spies’ Lord Jonathan is a consistent sort, who appears to have found his niche above the sprinting trips.
Blushing Peter stayed on well for third, with Skippyjon Jones pipping Way Clear for fourth. The warning signs were probably there, with the favourite drifting from 8-10 to a jump call of 16-10.
Running off a rating of just 69, the winner caught most people on the hop and went off at 13-1.
The very astute punter may have noted the fact that Double Nelson was exposed to feature company five months before even winning his maiden. So he, no doubt, shows his connections something.
Double Nelson was bred by Ian Kleinhams and is a gelded son of Dupont out of the four-time winning Becker mare, Lady Loch, who raced for Piet Steyn.
The R150 000 National Yearling Sale graduate was registering a second win from 15 starts, with 6 places, for stake earnings of R120 363.
Nelson refers to a score of 111 in cricket slang and Double Nelson indicates a score of 222.
It is thought by the superstitious that bad things happen on multiples of 111.
The late umpire David Shepherd made popular the longstanding practice of raising a leg or legs from the ground on Nelson in an effort to avoid bad fate.
On 11 November 2011, in a match between South Africa and Australia with the time at 11:11 and with South Africa requiring 111 runs to win, the majority of the crowd and umpire Ian Gould enacted Shepherd’s leg raise Nelson for that minute with the scoreboard reading 11:11 11/11/11.
That bit of triviality has hopefully helped punters, who were cleaned bowled by that awful result.