A dynamic and relatively new force in SA horseracing sends out his first Flamingo Park runner in the R100 000 Kimberley Classic on Monday. Johan Janse van Vuuren’s Newton Power looks well in and could make it a memorable inaugural raid in the Northern Cape.
The 31 year old Van Vuuren learnt his trade in one of South Africa’s top yards. The elite Geoff Woodruff ‘college of equine knowledge’ was Van Vuuren’s foundation stone and he started there at the bottom of the ladder as an 18 year old some thirteen years ago.
Van Vuuren saddled his first runner for his own account in November 2012 and has had four winners from his last eight runners, since opening his account with Casha at the Vaal on 7 May. He has 42 horses at his Vaal home base, where he is assisted by Monique Mansour.
The fledgeling operation is bang in form and on paper Newton Power must be regarded as a big runner in this non black type feature amongst a mixed bunch of fourteen 3yo’s. The son of Newton won his first three starts in Zimbabwe and was feature placed in his next two outings before being shipped off to Johannesburg and a new career with Van Vuuren.
Van Vuuren’s stable jockey Donovan Mansour’s father Geoff is a part owner of the gelding and the large internationally flavoured owner partnership has been boosted by an interesting new player in SA racing.
“Donovan met a gentleman by the name of Vicky Veeramootoo when he was riding in Mauritius. He is passionate about the game and has invested extensively in horses here.
His name will soon be recognised readily and it is also a remendous privilege to train for people like Grant and Keith Mansour, as well as the Zim based owners Paul Rugg, Grant Littleford, Spencer Murray and Mike Eaton,” said Van Vuuren.
Newton Power’s three South African starts have produced fair efforts, but as Johan says his merit rating is still quite high after his excellent form in Zimbabwe: “ He was bred at Bush Hill Stud and thus qualifies for a run in the KZN Breeders Million Mile at Greyville at end June. That’s our short term target and I felt it would keep him ticking over nicely to send him down to Kimberley for this run. The Newton progeny have done well on the sand too. It also keeps him off the hard going at home . If he runs to his ability, he will go very close as he is well,” he said.
His assistant Monique Mansour will travel down to Kimberley early on Monday morning to saddle their only runner on the day.
There are others to consider if Newton Power doesn’t take to the sand. Jaap Visser saddles the Albert Hall gelding Trade Hall. The two time winner has shown consistent form since relocating from PE, and he won his penultimate start going away by 4,75 lengths beating Fort Knox in an MR 72 Handicap. He was well beaten into second next time out by The Living Is Easy, to whom he was conceding 7kgs.
Visser also saddles the only serious prospect of a fairer sex winner in the Tobe Or Nottobe filly Sweet Latte, who has won her last two starts by almost eleven lengths.
While she now steps into the deeper waters of mixed company, she has won three of her last six outings and is a course and distance victor to boot. Regular rider Muzi Yeni gets aboard, but he wil have to be at his best to overcome her 12 draw.
Clinton Binda travels down from Gauteng with Magic’s Magic and Due And Payable. Magic’s Magic has only won once and has his first run on the sand. The son of Qui Danzig has some fair recent form to the likes of Dennis The Menace and Eagle Face, and will strip a fit horse after a fair fifth in a Vaal 1000m MR 74 handicap last Tuesday.
The Dupont gelding Due And Payable won at the first time of asking, but despite a six length third in the Listed Storm Bird Stakes to the brilliant Soft Falling Rain at his third outing, has failed to fire since. He has not been far off the action though, and could be the lurker if taking to the sand.
Cliffie Miller saddles Kingofmountain, who jumps from a less than ideal 10 draw. The son of Ravishing is another who has taken to the sand like a fish to water and has shown signs of some fair ability. He ran a cracking third behind Zulu King over 1200m last time and should enjoy his first try at a mile on this surface. He will obviously need to get lucky from his draw though.
Sarel Von Willingh Smit’s Grey Thunder won his maiden last time out by a country mile over the Flamingo Park 1400m. The son of Grey Eminence took 14 runs to shed his maiden, so is no star, but appears to have improved readily on the sand with blinkers. He is well drawn and could be a place prospect.
Johan Janse van Vuuren is a promising young horseman who has made a flying start to his new solo career. He was quietly confident when interviewed by us on Thursday of a big effort from his charge Newton Power, who has now had time to settle down and into the South African way of life. If he reproduces his Zimbabwe form he will be very hard to beat, and is a confident selection to take the lion’s share of the prize. The filly Sweet Latte and Jaap Visser’s Trade Hall could be best of the rest.
Editor’s Note: Donovan Mansour will be replaced on Newton Power as he is indisposed. No replacement rider has yet been announced.