Kenilworth 29th May: Backed as if unbeatable to win the maiden juvenile event over 1200m in Cape Town on Sunday was FINAL BUTTON and he didn’t let down his supporters. Sent off at the prohibitive odds of 1/3 (opened even money), Eric Sands’ charge was soon up handy. He was ridden to lead as they approached the 200m marker and went on to score comfortably by a length and a quarter from the easy to back MADE OF STEEL.
Followers of the money were also on the mark in the first of the afternoon’s two feature events to be run, the listed Stormvlei Mile, when the well supported FREQUENT FLYER did the business. Backed into 22/10 favourite from 5/1, Brett Crawford’s charge was always positioned close to the pace. She quickened well in the straight and in what proved to be a thrilling three way finish, she got up late to deny the friendless APPROACH ME (10/1 out to 16/1).
The Gr3 Winter Classic over 1800m topped the bill and here we saw another smart performance from the rapidly improving CHESALON. Firm in the betting market at 5/1, Mike Bass’ charge was content to amble along at the back for most of the journey. Once in the straight though he quickened best of all and after striking the front approaching the 200m marker, he easily drew clear. Completing a hattrick here, Chesalon has now won four of his last five starts.
After racing in the rear, the newcomer ROYAL PERFORMANCE was running on nicely when fifth to the heavily supported Final Button in the maiden juvenile 1200m.
Runner up to Pelican Point in the MR78 Handicap over 1200m, MAXIXE finished strongly after not getting the clearest of passages.
Fairview 30th May: First up in Port Elizabeth on Friday was a Qualified Maiden Plate over 1600m and here it was nice to see the regular place getter TURBODANCE get her head in front. Racing a little closer to the pace than she has in recent starts, Alan Greeff’s charge was always nicely positioned to mount a challenge. She took up the running shortly after passing the 400m marker and went on to score easily from IMPERIAL RULE by two and three quarters.
The easiest victory on the card was undoubtedly that of THE MAJOR who came home lonely in the maiden event over 1200m. Soon up handy, The Major raced prominent throughout. He was ridden to lead going through the 200m and fairly cruised clear in the latter stages of the race to score by ten.
A MR89 Handicap over 1200m topped the bill and here the Alan Greeff stable were back in the winner’s enclosure when AL CARUSO registered his sixth career victory. Just four lengths covered all for most of the journey and nicely positioned in second, Al Caruso was always poised to strike. He struck the front 300m from home and kept on strongly at the business end of the race to beat the running on THE FORD by three quarters.
Friendless BYON (12/1 out to 33/1) ran on strongly from the rear in the MR72 Handicap over 1600m and might have caused an upset had he not been baulked for a run close home.
Newcomer ACT OF SUPREMACY came from the rear to win the maiden juvenile event over 1200m by two and a quarter lengths going away.
SHEE’S GONE WEST came from off the pace when winning the MR73 Handicap over 1200m and has now won three from five since relocating from Gauteng.
What A Blast
Vaal 31st May: Tuesday’s action took place on the sand where the opening maiden juvenile event over 1000m went to the favourite BREAKSPEAR. The first of three winners on the card for the much travelled Felix Coetzee, Breakspear led throughout. He raced two lengths clear and although he couldn’t extend that advantage over HORSE OF JOSIAH on the run to the line, he did have the rest many lengths adrift.
Another to win well from the front on this card was MASTER BLASTER when gaining his fifth career victory in the afternoon’s feature event a MR104 Handicap over 1450m. He was two lengths clear throughout and although both QUEEN’S BAY and ACROSS THE ICE chased hard over the final 400m, he didn’t surrender an inch of his advantage on the run to the line.
The biggest upset on the card came in the not so lucky last, a MR66 Handicap over 1800m when LILAC LACE landed the spoils. Priced up as one of the rank outsiders of the party at 50/1, the daughter of Woodborough was always handy. She was asked to take up the running shortly after passing the 300m marker and kept on strongly in the closing stages of the race to beat another unfancied runner in NATIONAL DANZIG by a length and three quarters.
Running on from the rear, TURKEY SHOOT finished just as well as the winner Great Khan in the MR72 Handicap over 1600m, and was only beaten a neck.
Scottsville 1st June: The biggest upset on Wednesday’s card was undoubtedly that in the opener where the 1/6 favourite ROYAL RIDGE got rolled. A runner up to the unbeaten DELAGO DELUXE in his first career start, Mike De Kock’s charge raced at the back of the five for most of the journey. He failed to assert any authority after moving up to dispute matters going through the 200m though, and in what proved to be a thrilling three way finish, he was pipped by the rank outsider of the party SIR NEWTON (45/1!).
One who did land the odds after finding good support on this card was the newcomer ALWAYS AL (39) who did the business in the maiden event over 1200m. Backed into 13/10 from 18/10, Sean Tarry’s charge was taken straight to the front by Anthony Delpech and led throughout. He began to draw clear of his fourteen rivals passing the 400m pole and with some in hand he went on to score by nine. In truth Always Al didn’t have a lot to beat here, but the manner of his victory would suggest that he could be quite useful.
A MR88 Handicap over 1950m topped the bill and here we saw a smart performance from the up and coming SAGE THRONE (54). Allowed to ease out to 28/10 from 2/1 at the track as money in the main came for STORM SAGAZ (8/1 into 11/2) and YURAKING (10/1 into 15/2), Sage Throne was always handy. Storm Sagaz raced just ahead of him in second and with that one getting his head in front 200m out, he clearly did nothing wrong. Sage Throne finished best of all at the business end of the race though and after he in turn struck the front 100m later, he drew clear in good style late to score by a length and a half. Sage Throne has now won two from four and could well complete a hattrick if not thrown in too deep next time.
A winner of his only previous start, the 2yo TERRIBLE GULCH (52) ran on best of all in the MR72 Handicap over 1400m and won going away. The third horse WAY WARD STORM also finished well in that event.
MISS DIANA was fairly flying at the finish of the maiden event over 1950m and would no doubt have gotten up to beat the well supported favourite Celestial Cloud (3/1 into 22/10) had she not been hampered 300m out.
Vaal 2nd June: They raced on the turf on Thursday where the best bet on the card for most MJ THRILLER (29) duly landed the odds in the opening qualified maiden event over 1000m. Supported throughout the morning into 5/10 from 8/10, Louis Goosen’s charge was soon up handy. He was ridden to lead shortly after passing the 400m marker and kept on strongly in the closing stages of the race to beat the running on outsider TIMBER BARON by two and a half.
The afternoon’s feature event was a MR87 Handicap over 2000m and here an upset was to be had when the lesser fancied of Geoff Woodruff’s two runners FORT PETERSBURG (33/1) landed the spoils. Fourth in the Dingaans back in 2009, Fort Petersburg raced towards the rear for most of the journey. Once in the home straight though he quickened well and under a typically determined ride from Sherman Brown, he got up late to beat his nibbled at stable companion FOREST (op 8/1 touched 11/2) by three quarters of a length.
Race eight on the card was a MR68 Handicap over 1400m and here we saw a nice performance from another outsider FAST FORWARD (31). Nibbled at on course into 18/1 from 33’s, Paul Matchett’s charge raced in midfield during the first half of the race. Once given rein though, he quickened well and got up nicely in the closing stages of the race to beat KAPELLMEISTER a little bit more easily than the official winning margin of just three quarters of a length would suggest.
The final event on the card was a MR70 Handicap over 1000m and here followers of the money were on the mark when EMPIRE RULER registered his second career victory. Backed into 75/20 from 11/2 at the track, Leon Erasmus’ charge was taken straight to the front by the in form Sherman Brown and led throughout. He kept on strongly from halfway and despite the efforts of the chasing favourite STRIKE PRINCESS, he went on to win comfortably by a length and a half.
Runner up BELL HARBOUR ran on best of all in the MR70 Handicap over 2000m and would surely have troubled the winner Special Interest had he not been baulked for a run 350m out.
Considerably up in class here, SICILIANO ran on well in the latter stages of the race won by Fort Petersburg and was only beaten a length and three quarters.
Top speedratings for this weekend include:-
Arlington Race 1: No Qualifiers Race 2: (6) Forest Blade 16 Race 3: (7 Tijgerbeech 32 Race 4: (1) Gorgeous Al 1 Race 5: (1) Katsamba 8 Race 6: (1) Rosette 76 Race 7: (2) Main Miracle 57 (NAP*) Race 8: (5) Scripture 87 Race 9: (10) Float On Air 43 Clairwood Race 1: (6) Bold Alliance 55 Race 2: (11) Royal Ridge 44 Race 3: (1) What A Winter 92 (NAP**) Race 4: (7) Catcha Call 66 Race 5: (6) Beaches 83 (EW) Race 6: (6) Badge Of Choice 67 Race 7: (8) Covenant 90 Race 8: (13) Dancewiththedevil 102 Race 9: (11) Ice Diamond 88 Race 10: (11) Stern Line 50 Turffontein Race 1: (1) Eskimo Inn 25 Race 2: (3) Dawn Light 36 Race 3: (1) Crown Heights 43 (NAP**) Race 4: (1) Sublime 27 Race 5: (7) Midnight Charger 50 Race 6: (15) Decameron 78 Race 7: (10) Wittenberg 96 Race 8: (2) Officer Class 64 Kenilworth Race 1: (20) Spring Orchid 12 Race 2: No Qualifiers Race 3: (2) Florentina 4 Race 4: (7) Lemonade 89 Race 5: (12) Pasadera 63 Race 6: (6) Social Master 85 Race 7: (1) Grafton Street 84 Race 8: (1) De La Rey 1 .