Switch does the trick

Vaal 22 September

Different horse. Fort Lodge seen winning his maiden at Durbanville.

Owners of turf non-performers should never give up until they have given their charges a chance on the sand. The former Joey Ramsden inmate Fort Lodge turned his career around in under two minutes at the Vaal on 22 September when he charged home in scintillating style to win the MR72 Handicap over 1800m at a healthy 25-1!

The Klawervlei-bred cost owner Grenville Wilson all of R300 000 as a baby and had only won once in twelve starts while in the capable Western Cape hands of Joey Ramsden. By Fort Wood out of a Lear Fan dam, he is certainly bred nicely enough and could now go on to recoup some of his owner’s outlay in the Woodruff camp.

Geoff Woodruff has two Gauteng bases – one at Randjesfontein and the other at the Vaal, where he keeps his sand specialists and youngsters. Fort Lodge was obviously sent to Woodruff with the specific aim of testing the assertion that Fort Woods love the sand. He had stepped out after an eight-month break over a too short 1450m in his first Gauteng effort three weeks ago, and today he stripped a more experienced and fitter horse.

Donovan Mansour had him well off the pace set by Valiant Be, after jumping from a wide draw. The wily Piere Strydom looked to have the race sewn up about 300m out on the favourite Pimp My Ride, but was overcome by both Leading The Field and Cuve, who seemed poised to fight it out. But Mansour had other ideas and he forced the Woodruff horse up from wide out to win going away.

Quiet day. Piere Strydom rode one winner at the Vaal.

Piere Strydom started the day on a winning note when he kept the long overdue Burj Dubai on the job to shed his maiden from a shocking draw over the mile. The Western Winter gelding is trained by Tyrone Zackey and ran barefoot, as do most horses from that yard.  Gunter Wrogemann rode a good race to win the third race on the Wally Britz owned and bred Shattered Image. This filly was having her third run and won in great style. She is a Britz bomber through and through – being by his four-time winning Rakeen colt Damage Is Done, out of Brute Imperial – who Wally also raced.  That is quite an achievement for an owner of ordinary stock in this day and age – one hopes the RA will acknowledge Brits’ achievement.

The Paul Peter yard continue to churn out the winners and they got the lot in the final event of the afternoon. Their good looking grey Muhtafal gelding Horse Of Josiah is an unsound but  talented fellow when in good health and he was backed from 8-1 to 7-2 to win the MR72 Handicap over 1000m. Having shed his maiden over the course and distance at his third start, admittedly beating a moderate bunch, he rose in class here after a disturbingly diabolical last start in an MR66 Handicap over the distance. He finished an undistinguished 16,50 lengths off Kwaaiwater that day. This afternoon was a different story though. Derreck David had him within touch of the pace for the whole game, and he strode out late to win well.  He can run, but should be followed with caution.

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