Three For Charles
Vaal 10th March: Thursday’s action took place on the turf where we saw an impressive performance in the opening maiden juvenile event over 1000m from the well supported ANNE BONNY. Backed throughout the day into 17/10 favourite, Charles Laird’s charge was caught for early toe and as a result she soon found herself some six lengths off the pace. She quickened very nicely from halfway though, and in what proved to be a real thriller she got up in the dying strides to deny the front running MIDNIGHT DRAGON.
Another to win very well in the maiden ranks here was ONLY ACHIEVER (27) who opened her account at just the second time of asking in the 1600m event. Taken straight to the front by Donavon Mansour, the daughter of Nysean led throughout. She was always doing it easily and although the formless HOCKUS ran on stoutly over the final 400m of the race, she cruised in by four.
A Conditions Plate over 1000m topped the bill and here the stable of Charles Laird were again on the mark when EXCLAIM’N’EXCLUDE (84) landed the spoils. Allowed to ease out to 8/1 from 5/1 at the track, Exclaim’n’exclude was always positioned close to the speed. He ran on strongly at the business end of the race and went on to beat the heavily supported favourite MAGICO fair and square.
Titbits – ELUSIVE RIVER won the MR94 Handicap over 1200m going away by two and three quarters and visibly had plenty in hand.
Newcomer EVE OF VICTORY ran on almost as well as the heavily supported Anne Bonny when third in the maiden juvenile event over 1000m.
Arlington 11th March: The listed Ibhayi Stakes over 1400m topped the bill in Port Elizabeth on Friday and as expected victory here went to the odds on favourite FRAGRANT AL. Allowed to ease out to 13/20 from 9/20 at the track as money came for the locally trained PEMBERLEY (10/1 into 11/2), Justin Snaith’s charge was taken straight to the front by Felix Coetzee and was always travelling well. The money horse did manage to put his head in front going through the 300m, but with Fragrant Al responding quickly when given rein, his moment of glory was brief. Fragrant Al reasserted his authority going through the 200m and went on to score comfortably by a length and a half from the running on LOCKHEED.
The easiest victory on the card was recorded by ADMIRAL CAMDEN who came home smoking in the MR84 affair over 2400m. Always one to race up handy, Alan Greeff’s charge was soon nicely positioned in third. He was asked to take up the running early in the home straight and after quickly grabbing a useful lead, he went on to score by four and a quarter.
The final event on the card was a MR65 Handicap over 1800m and here the stable of Justin Snaith were again on the mark when the rapidly improving COLOUR FAST landed the spoils. Nibbled at on course to go off a joint second favourite at 5/1, Colour Fast sat towards the back end of midfield for most of the journey. Once in the straight though, she quickened best of all and under a well judged ride from Wayne Agrella, she got up late to beat a wall of horses going away.
Titbits – The Guineas Plate winner Lockheed ran on very well from off the pace when a runner up to the classy Fragrant Al in the listed Ibhayi Stakes over 1400m.
Turffontein 12th March: They raced on the inner track on Saturday where the best bet on the card for most WELWITSCHIA (56) duly landed the odds. Deep in the red at 1/5 on the off, the recent Gauteng Guineas third placed runner was content to guard the rear for most of the journey. She quickened well when given rein coming off the strip though and soon reduced the deficit. She hit the front as they approached the 300m marker and went on to score very easily by three from the easy to back HAWKER HUNTER.
A Conditions Plate over 1450m was next up and in what proved to be a real thriller, victory here went to the former Cape Town campaigner REBEL KNIGHT (85). Now with trainer Gary Alexander, the Anton Marcus ridden Rebel Knight was always in touch with the leaders. The heavily supported favourite SNOWDON was the first to make a move in the straight and when that one struck the front 300m out, he looked to have done everything right. Rebel Knight ran on best of all in the short home straight though and just as if scripted, he got up in the dying strides.
The listed Drum Star Handicap over 1800m topped the bill and here an upset was to be had when the enigmatic HAPPY LANDING (74) was first home. Swiftly guided over from a wide draw by Musi Yeni, the son of Al Mufti was soon at the head of affairs. He kept up a healthy gallop throughout and answering every call from his up and coming young jockey, he just held on by the narrowest of margins from the running on ROYAL ARROW.
Titbits – The heavily supported IRISH GIFT (18/10 into 7/10) ran on nicely in the closing stages to win the maiden event over 1450m going away.
Impressive Zulu Warrior
Clairwood 13th March: A Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1200m got proceedings underway at the garden course on Sunday and here a major upset was to be had when the totally unfancied HARD ROCK (24) opened his account. Freely available at 66/1 on the off (opened 20/1), Hard Rock was always nicely positioned close to the speed. He was asked to take up the running as they approached the 300m marker and comfortably accounted for RED LOTUS by three and a quarter.
The first favourite to arrive was the heavily supported IMPERIAL IMAGE (32) who did the business in the maiden event over 1450m. Backed throughout the day into even money from 22/10, Jeff Freedman’s charge was taken straight to the front by Anton Marcus and led throughout. He began to assert his authority going though the 400m and despite the efforts of the running on BIBBETY BOBBETY, he went on to score very easily by two and three quarters.
The most impressive performance of the afternoon though was undoubtedly that of the unbeaten ROYAL ZULU WARRIOR (87) who really does look like a top sort in the making. Tony Rivalland’s charge was again troublesome at the start, but once the gates opened he set off calmly. He was always handy and moved through to take up the running 400m out. The runner up RIDETHEBREEZE was within two lengths going through the 300m and for a fleeting moment it looked as if he might be a threat. Once given rein though, Royal Zulu Warrior took off in impressive fashion and with plenty in hand, he cruised in by six. This son of Mossman has won all three of his starts by a minimum of six lengths and is yet to engage the upper gears.
Titbits – The 3yo ROMANTIC MOON again won with authority when landing the Conditions Plate over 1100m and has now been successful in six of her eight starts.
Top speedratings for this weekend include:Turffontein Race 1: (14) Umgido 11 Race 2: (15) Super Boy 22 Race 3: (2) Izulu 3 Race 4: (4) Happy Archer 91 Race 5: (10) Royal Poet 48 Race 6: (15) Secret Ravine 51 Race 7: (6) Fly Olimpic 80 Race 8: (7) Cesar Borgia 58 Fairview Race 1: (3) Fiery Wood 10 Race 2: (1) Pegasus Road 11 Race 3: (13) Royal Squared 48 (EW) Race 4: (13) Revealing Belle 40 Race 5: (4) Golden Luci 82 Race 6: (4) African Swift 53 Race 7: (7) First Growth 72 Race 8: (12) National Power 37 Greyville Race 1: No Qualifiers Race 2: (4) Assign The Assassin 28 Race 3: (3) Al Shiba 8 Race 4: (4) Moon Raider 48 Race 5: (11) Trevor 48 Race 6: (10) Lady Magpie 97 (EW) Race 7: (7) Avalanche Way 55 Race 8: (12) The Lost World 63 Kenilworth Race 1: (13) Theatre Royal 12 Race 2: No Qualifiers Race 3: (2) Prompter 23 Race 4: (2) Catapult 12 (NAP*) Race 5: (9) Princess Magic 56 Race 6: (9) Fly American 47 Race 7: (7) Count My Luck 47 Race 8: (10) Denver Colorado 12 Vaal Race 1: (14) Sheiks Pie 26 Race 2: (7) Kakhulu 16 Race 3: (10) Simply Good 25 Race 4: (14) Mr Ronaldo 44 Race 5: (4) Dilys Delight 36 (EW) Race 6: (6) Cavern Club 40 Race 7: (2) Calanish 40 Race 8: (15) Mastende 39 .
Top rated winners last week included:-De La Patrie won 22/1 Urbane Knight won 11/1 Golden Pharoah won 9/2 Fly Emirates won 4/1 Castlethorpe won 5/2 Polina won 22/10 Sweet Silvano won 16/10 Imperial Image won 1/1 .
Notebook:-Eve Of Victory (W Marwing, Gauteng) Romantic Moon (D Howells, Natal) Royal Zulu Warrior (A Rivalland, Natal) Welwitschia (M De Kock, Gauteng) .
FASTEST TIMES(Shown in brackets is the number of races run in each category)
Vaal 10th March Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (8) Exclaim’n’Exclude Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (1) Only Achiever Fastest Long 1900-3600 (0) No Qualifiers . Arlington 11th March Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (4) Al Baaqir Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (3) Fragrant Al Fastest Long 1900-3600 (1) Admiral Camden . Turffontein 12th March Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (0) No Qualifiers Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (8) Rebel Knight Fastest Long 1900-3600 (1) Mirage Drive . Clairwood 13th March Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (5) Romantic Moon Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (3) White Mischief Fastest Long 1900-3600 (0) No Qualifiers