The pressure builds

Scottsville 10 July

Fighting spirit! Shannon Hill leads Reconcile in after her win in the Queen Palm.

Fred Crabbia’s gallant Silvano mare Reconcile continues to lift her game late in her career and she ran on strongly to win the Listed Niresh Gayadin sponsored Queen Palm Handicap run over 2400m at Scottsville on 10 July.  She appeared to have surprised jockey Anton Marcus,  who was winning a second consecutive race on her,  and the eloquent rider seemed to have had a list of reasons why his mount should not have won this event.

Marcus and Anthony Delpech continue to dominate affairs in the jockey championship stakes with the former  winning today’s duel  3-1,  and thus pulling two back over Delpech. The Seychelles born Delpech flew to Port Elizabeth on Friday and rode four winners but expressed the sentiment after winning the sixth race at Scottsville on A King Is Born that he was a ‘little tired’ of the demands of  the much publicised duel  between him and Marcus and said that the travelling was costing him his work-riding experience for the Mike De Kock yard,  which he said he enjoyed and found beneficial.

As a professional with choices, Delpech must decide if he wants his cake and eat it. He cannot have it both ways and Marcus appears far more relaxed. Nobody is forcing anybody to chase the score on the board.  Like most top jockeys, Delpech earns big money. He also enjoys a blue chip sponsor in Avontuur and  benefits from all the trappings of being a successful international sportsman. In our opinion he owes it to horseracing and to Joe Public,  whose money funds the industry, to go all out and add the excitement so desperately lacking at times.

Reconcile’s win in the Listed Queen Palm Handicap was a triumph for Paarl-based trainer Glen Kotzen,  who has done wonders  with this mare since taking her over from Joey Ramsden  at the end of 2009 and he continues to keep her hungry for winning and her zest for racing and heart is quite amazing. At the weights she shouldn’t have beaten the odds –on favourite Gibson Girl but she won this race with authority and  it was left for Joey Ramsden’s Rakeen filly Atair to chase her home. Shannon Hill, son of former top jockey Robbie Hill, now works for the Glen Kotzen team and he lead the smart mare in. He added that feature wins made the tough grind of training horses worthwhile and said that he was ‘thrilled’ at the win.

A good man! Recuso is led in by trainer James Goodman after his shock win.

Trainer James Goodman and Apprentice Anthandiwe Mgudla are becoming known as the terrible twins for punters after producing a couple of shock results in recent weeks and they colluded again to produce the 28-1 Australian bred Recuso to knock Jackpot and Pick Six hopes in the sixth race, an MR 87 Handicap over 2000m. The former Mike De Kock-trained son of Encosta De Lago ran on too strongly for the late challenge of the consistent Viking Lizzy.  A bemused Goodman said afterwards that the three  year old was still growing into his frame and getting stronger. Although he beat little of note, watch him in the weak handicap staying events.

The Australian-bred first timer Dansili Express started  at 18-10 favourite to win the first race for the De Kock – Delpech partnership but he was never a threat and finished a well beaten seven length adrift in eighth place, behind the 50-1 Dennis Drier trained Mighty Mars who gave jockey Jarred Samuel a welcome winner.  De Kock said after he had won the final race on the card that the starting price on his horse was ‘ridiculous’ and suggested that the public were being misled by the betting on a horse who was ‘nice but needed much further.’ What evil forces is the straight-shooting De Kock alluding to here and what structures exist to protect punters from these practices?  

It figures! Keegan De Melo wins his seventeenth as Internal Audit come home in the last

Trainer Mike De Kock had to wait for the last race of the day to lead in a winner. Promising apprentice rider Keegan De Melo rode his seventeenth career winner on the 33-1 shot Internal Audit who was returning from a wind operation and a six month rest. De Kock said afterwards that he had not given the Kabool gelding any chance and had in fact instructed the apprentice to drop the chestnut out. De Melo had other ideas though and rode a no-pressure race from the front to win really well.  The champion trainer conceded sportingly afterwards that his runner would probably not have won had his jockey ridden to instructions.

When questioned about Vodacom Durban July winner Igugu’s future plans, De Kock said he had ‘scrapped the Dubai trip’ and that the superstar would be staying in South Africa to continue her career. This is great news for local racing fans and it is understandable that De Kock does not want to put his horses through the unnecessary punishment of a lengthy stay in quarantine. He said that she after all, ‘didn’t have leprosy’  but that ‘they were being treated like lepers!’

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