South Africa’s most elegantly sophisticated royal and regal triple feature raceday is drawing near with the announcement of the final big race fields for Saturday 7 January. The afternoon’s bumper bill is headed by the R1 million Gr1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate to be run at weight-for-age over a mile.
And what a field go to post! Two champion roses in Justin Snaith’s Ebony Flyer and Mike De Kock’s Gibraltar Blue take their place amongst the nine thorns that comprises the star-studded eleven strong line-up for the 151st renewal of South Africa’s premier mile contest.
The young dynamo and rising star of the SA horseracing training ranks, Justin Snaith, sends Team Valor International’s Ebony Flyer to post here after a dazzling third as an immature three year old in last year’s race. She is peaking at the right time and looks a huge runner with internationally experienced jockey Felix Coetzee in the saddle. For the lucky number studiers, she runs from a 9 draw with a 9 saddle-cloth.
Snaith also sends the imported Australian bred Gimmethegreenlight to post for J&B Met winning owner Hassen Adams. Top SA jockey Piere Strydom returns from a broken jaw recuperation to partner the top three year old.
Mike De Kock’s daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar, Gibraltar Blue, is very fast and the Joburg Spring Challenge winner will be flying from her 3 stall-gate to ensure a red-hot gallop. She has a proven turn of foot and could be the dark horse of the race. Link Man is a talented son of Toreador and jumps from a 2 stall-gate under Weichong Marwing. As the only grey in the race, he will be the most photographed horse in the feature.
Joey Ramsden is enjoying the season of his life and he sends Guineas winner Variety Club out from the widest gate, with the services of SA Champion jockey Anton Marcus. Ramsden’s onslaught is backed by Derby winner Bravura and Gr2 Peninsula Handicap winner Lion In Winter.
The R1 million Gr1 TBA Paddock Stakes to be run over 1800m was rocked earlier today by the news of the shock withdrawal of the 1-5 favourite and SA Horse Of The Year, Igugu. The race has been thrown wide open and while lacking in quantity, the quality is there with any of the six contestants a likely winner.
The third of the afternoon’s three features is the R125 000 Listed Politician Stakes run over 1800m, and which will be the final leg of what should be a bumper Pick Six pool. A competitive field of thirteen three year old males will go to post for this informal Derby trial, and all of the Cape’s top yards are represented, as well as one top-class visitor in the Mike De Kock-trained Australian-bred Mushreq.
De Kock doesn’t travel for the fun of visiting South Africa’s most beautiful city, and Mushreq forms the third of his powerhouse feature raiding trio. This son of Flying Spur ran a top-class second to the ill-fated Fighting Warrior in the Gr1 Golden Horseshoe on July day and won his last start by 7,5 lengths after a somewhat disappointing campaign.
Former Vodacom Durban July winner Dynasty is well represented by two highly promising sorts in Taipan and Jackson. Dean Kannemeyer, who conditioned Dynasty to win the Vodacom Durban July, trains Taipan for the well known owner trio of Marsh Shirtliff, Bryn Ressel and Warren Laird and Karl Neisius’ mount has done little wrong in winning his last three outings on the trot – the last a meritorious effort against older horses. Jackson is highly rated by his Phillipi trainer Brett Crawford and has won two of his three career starts. He is a smashing good looker and a horse on the upgrade.