Ramsden: ‘We must fight on’

Champion trainer Joey Ramsden on his two Met Day Group 1 second places

So Close! Bravura breathes down Igugu's neck in the dying strides.

Plenty will be written about J&B Met and Derby winners Igugu and Jackson in the weeks and months ahead. But spare a thought for the trainer of the two horses that ran second to these two stars.  Despite doing just about everything right with Bravura and Variety Club, there is no champagne served in the lonely second box.

But Joey Ramsden is a seasoned campaigner who has enjoyed a dream season and he was sportingly  philosophical afterwards.

Speaking to the Sporting Post on Sunday morning a pragmatic Ramsden said that he had been beaten in the two Gr1 races by two top horses:” There is absolutely no shame in being beaten by two top horses in these two great Group 1 races. Life goes on – I have no gripes. We will regroup and fight on, ” he said with a smile that only partially masked a hint of disappointment.

Lady Luck has seldom smiled on the very capable Bravura. The Normandy Stud bred recent winner of the Green Point Stakes pulled the widest draw in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate run three weeks ago, but still delivered a sterling effort in holding on for a not disgraced fourth position, just 1,80 lengths behind Gimmethegreenlight. A horse plagued with problems, he was having only his fifteenth career start when he cantered down impressively on Saturday.

Brave!Anton Marcus, Derek Brugman, Veronica Foulkes, JR and Fiona Ramsden.

Anton Marcus jumped Bravura well from his 12 draw and he went up front in an effort to dictate the pace. Up to 150m from home the plan appeared to be working sweetly, as it so often does when Marcus is at the controls. Ramsden confirmed that he believed Bravura to be a better horse when ridden from off the pace and said things may have been very different given a more advantageous draw and a ‘silly’ condition that ensured Bravura carried a 2kg penalty for a Gr1 race he won two years ago. It is that very 2kg penalty that probably cost Bravura the race in the end: “Ironically that penalty falls away on 1 February. But that is four days too late for Bravura,” he joked.

Bravura turned the Queens Plate tables on Gimmethegreenlight,  who was 1kg better off with him but who may have found the extra 400m of the Met a leveller. Of his conqueror Igugu, Ramsden said that Mike De Kock was not the national champion racehorse trainer without good reason and that he had achieved what had sounded impossible at times in the build-up. “ Group 1 race preps need to go smoothly. But brilliant horses and champion trainers overcome the obstacles as Mike showed on Saturday,” he said.

Chasing. Variety Club is no match for Jackson in the Derby.

Another horse who carries the Markus Jooste silks, Variety Club, ran a  gallant second to the outstanding Jackson in the Gr1 Investec Cape Derby two hours earlier. Ramsden said that he was beaten by the better horse over the distance on the day: “Jackson looks like something very special – a very good horse. And I am not quite sure yet that Variety Club stays the 2000m, which makes his effort all the more commendable . One thing I can confirm is that the real Variety Club turned up today – he was not there on L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate day! “ he said in a reference to his narrow beating by Gimmethegreenlight three weeks ago.

Ramsden added that Variety Club had done more than he could have asked of him since winning the Matchem Stakes at Durbanville in the first week of October 2011, whereafter he had scooped the Selangor and Cape Guineas double in scintillating fashion. The Derby was his fourth Group race in two months and he said that he would be freshened up with some thought being given to his programme in the next six months.

Stop That Jet! The grey Shades Of Indigo chases Divine Jet home.

Ramsden’s third second of the day, and probably the easiest to swallow of the three, came in the eighth race, an MR 96 Handicap. He sent out shock Betting World Merchants winner Shades Of Indigo under a welterweight of 62,5kg in a competitive line-up.  Gisela Burg and Martin Wickens own probably the best sprinting son of Indigo Magic and the seven time winner ran a cracker to chase the much trumped Divine Jet home. Dean Kannemeyer had Divine Jet looking a million dollars after his flat effort in the Guineas, and he may just have shown here that at this stage of his life, sprinting is his forte. Ramsden said he was ‘thrilled’ with Shades Of Indigo’s great effort and said that the winner looked to be a Gr1 sprinter in the making.

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