Spot The Stayer

The longhaul ranks get shallower every year

We have galloped past the halfway mark of the 2017/18 season and there isn’t a genuine standout stayer on the horizon.

Equus champion Hermoso Mundo (Pic – JC Photos)

It is generally accepted that we don’t breed to produce stayers in this country and our ranks in that category, when scanning the merit rating listings on the National Horseracing Authority website, confirms that.

Check the official ratings here

So who will Charity Turf Challenge players opt for when looking to structure a balanced team of 12 to carry their dream of winning the R100 000 first prize?

Krambambuli – retired

Krambambuli – who won the Gr2 Western Cape Stayers in 2017 – is our highest rated stayer off his rating of 111. But the versatile galloper was retired after running unplaced in the Sun Met.

With the SA Champions Season still ahead of us, it is probably premature to be speculating on a champion stayer for the season.

The unofficial stayers ‘Triple Crown’ of the Gr3 Gold Bowl, to be run at Turffontein on Champions Day,  the Gr3 Gold Vase and the  Gr3 Gold Cup – the latter two both at Greyville in July – is still to be run and the chances are that something of note can still emerge.

Interestingly, the highest rated entry so far amongst the seven received for the R500 000 Gold Bowl is Geoff Woodruff’s MR 98 – rated Pagoda.

Entries close at 11h00 on Friday 20 April and we may see a few more coming in – like last season’s Equus champion Stayer Hermoso Mundo, who  hasn’t run since finishing unplaced in the Summer Cup last November.

So we may have to look lower down the ladder  – and there are two 4yo’s with scope who may be worth following and catch the eye.

(Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Strathdon wins Woolavington (Chase Liebenberg Photography)

Justin Snaith’s Strathdon has won his last 4 on the trot, including the Gr3 Cape Summer Stayers and the Listed Woolavington. He hasn’t been out since December, but was mentioned as a SA Champions Season prospect by a stable who have the knack of producing the goods.

Brett Crawford’s Gr3 Chairman’s Cup (3200m) winner Our Emperor is another scopy sort who seems to be getting better with racing.

Our Emperor – showed promise and is improving

But frankly none of the mentioned horses are ‘champions’ yet, by any stretch of the imagination.

By our calculations, we have had 11 staying (2400m plus) features so far this season. Nine were handicaps – and two conditions races.

Let It Rain stays well  (Pic – JC Photographics)

The highest ranked race so far was the Gr2 Western Cape Stayers – a conditions race over 2800m on Met day won by Let It Rain.  He is another who may run in the Gold Bowl on Champions Day after a pipe opener at Turffontein on Tuesday evening.

On the face of it, there are no genuine standouts in the longhaul ranks at this point – or have we missed one?

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