Vaal 26th July: Tuesday’s action took place on the sand where victory in the opening maiden juvenile event over 1450m went to favourite TILMAN (14). Another valuable winner in the race for the championship for Anton Marcus, Tilman raced prominent throughout. He was ridden to lead as they approached the 400m marker and clearly streets ahead of his rivals, he bolted clear to win by eleven!
Race three on the card was a Qualified Maiden Plate over 1450m and here it was nice to see the well tried FUNWAYO (11) open his account. Making his 23rd racecourse appearance here, the son of Muhtafal raced at the back early on and turning for home there were serious doubts as to whether he would make the frame let alone get off the mark. Undeterred though, Jockey Yeo took him through the gears and in what proved to be a real thriller he got up in the dying strides to deny the formless TEXAN.
A Pinnacle Stakes over 1600m topped the bill and here we saw a smart performance from the 4yo EASTERN COBBLER (80). Off the track since finishing third to BURMESE CAT in April, Roy Magner’s charge found few friends on course and eventually left the stalls at 50/1. He raced in midfield for most of the journey, making his move going through the 600m. He struck the front 300m from home and cruised clear in the latter stages of the race to beat the running on THE WHITE HORSE by four and a quarter.
A MR90 Handicap over 1200m was next up and as expected victory here went to the improving ART WISH (70). A very easy winner by eight over 1450m at this circuit last time out, Robbie Sage’s charge got away well when the gates opened and was soon up handy. He was ridden to lead shortly after passing the 500m marker and although the nibbled at PRIME MOVER (14/1 into 8/1) finished well from off the pace, he went on to score very comfortably by two.
Positioned in the rear turning for home, runner up KRUGER GOLD ran on best of all in the straight and had the rest well beaten in the MR74 Handicap won by Boss Cat.
Kenilworth 27th July: As was the case with most of the meetings in midweek, champion Anton Marcus was aboard a red hot favourite. His ride DANDYMAN CAN was deep in the red at 1/3 on the off, but even he couldn’t get this one home. Always handy in this qualified maiden event over 2400m, Dandyman Can moved up to challenge his only serious rival in the betting market as they approached the 400m and held every chance. FLORENTINA (21) quickened nicely when asked the question though and cruised clear in the latter stages of the race to win as Dandyman Can had been expected to by four and a half.
The easiest victory on the card was recorded by SPRING ORCHID (19) when opening her account in the maiden juvenile event over 1400m. Ridden by the title chasing Anthony Delpech, Spring Orchid raced prominent throughout. She was ridden to lead at the top of the short old course straight and drew clear easily from there onwards to score by five and a quarter.
The afternoon’s feature event was a MR96 Handicap over 1600m and here we saw another smart performance from the hat trick seeking FOREST OF DEAN (88). On leaving the stalls it was the veteran GENIUS MY KING who elected to set the pace, whilst the well supported son of Silvano (4/1 into 28/10) raced close up in sixth. The easy to back BLANIC (10/1 out to 12/1) was the first to make a move in the straight and struck the front going through the 400m. Paddy Kruyer’s charge quickened best of all at the business end of the race though and after quickly getting the better of that one, he fought off a determined challenge from FACING FEDERER to score by a length and a quarter.
CARAVAGGIO (28) had always looked to be the right one in the lucky last, a maiden event over 1200m, and so it proved to be. Confidently ridden by Anton Marcus, Dean Kannemeyer’s charge was always up with the speed. Second Favourite DE LE REY was the only one that could go with him when he quickened the tempo 300m out, but despite having the remainder well behind, he in turn was outpaced late on
Although never near enough to get in a blow at the winner General Assembly, the totally unfancied RAGING BULL (80/1) ran on nicely to take third in the MR78 Handicap over 1000m.
Anton’s Big Five
Vaal 28th July: They raced on the turf on Thursday where victory in the opening maiden event over 1200m went to the heavily supported favourite LA PROMESA (14). Deep in the red at 11/20 on the off, the Anton Marcus ridden La Promesa raced close up in second for most of the journey. She was ridden to lead shortly after passing the 400m marker and despite the efforts of the nibbled at SCIENTIST she went on to score very easily by three and a quarter.
Seemingly unstoppable in the title race now, Anton Marcus rode five winners on this card, the most impressive of which was the victory of the 3yo HOUSE OF WAX (66) in the bill topping MR90 Handicap over 1400m. Soon into stride, Geoff Woodruff’s charge was always handy. He made his move going through the 500m and after striking the front 250m or so later, he drew clear easily in the closing stages of the race to win by five.
Another to win well for the combination of Anton Marcus and Geoff Woodruff here was ONLY ACHIEVER (61) who did the business for favourite backers in the MR80 affair over 1400m. Backed into 5/10 from even money at the track, Only Achiever was taken straight to the front and led throughout. SIMPLY BLUE threw down a determined challenge going through the 400m and at one stage they were neck and neck. Only Achiever quickened nicely in the latter stages though, and Simply Blue (later reported as lame on the near fore) couldn’t go with her.
The not so lucky last was a maiden event over 1600m and here a bit of an upset was to be had when the friendless CYCLONE MICHELLE (32) opened her account. Freely available at 50/1 on the off (op 14’s), Wallace Tolmay’s charge was positioned towards the rear during the early part of the race. Once given rein though, she quickened well and after striking the front 250m from home, she drew clear easily late to score by five and a quarter. She won well and is clearly one to keep tabs on.
PENNY FARE quickened well after being baulked for a run 350m out and running on stoutly at the finish was only beaten a half length by the favourite Verbatim.
PACIFIC DESTINY also had to switch out for a run at a crucial stage in the MR64 Handicap over 1400m and was gaining quickly at the finish.
Fairview 29th July: The best bet on the card for most in Port Elizabeth on Friday was BLACK THUNDER in the opening maiden juvenile event over 1000m and he didn’t let down his supporters. Backed into 4/10 from 11/20 at the track, Alan Greeff’s charge was taken straight to the front by the busy Anton Marcus and led throughout. He was always in command and despite the efforts of the newcomer DAVIE BOWY, he ran out a very easy winner by four and a half.
The listed East Cape Paddock Stakes over 1600m topped the bill and in what proved to be a real thriller victory here went to the visiting MY KAZZIE. Allowed to flirt with 11/2 at one stage after opening up at 7/1, Justin Snaith’s charge raced in the back end of midfield for most of the journey and with the runners being well strung out, she had plenty to do as the sixteen turned for home. GENEROUS ANNA made the first move and on striking the front 250m from home she looked to have done everything right. My Kazzie ran on best of all in the closing stages of the race though and interfered with a little by Generous Anna shifting right across to the outside running rail, she was awarded the race in the steward’s room after failing to get up by the narrowest of margins.
Another exciting conclusion was to be had in the non black type Wedgewood Handicap where FRENCH PEARL landed the spoils. It was the rapidly improving INCA’S SPIRIT who led them into the straight and still four lengths clear of French Pearl 200m from home, she looked to have the race in the bag. Yvette Bremner’s charge fairly flew under a determined ride from Karis Teetan below the distance though and in another breathtaking finish, she too got up in the very last stride.
The day ended as it had began with Anton Marcus in the winner’s enclosure. Sent off a heavily supported favourite to win the final event on the card, a MR76 Handicap over 1000m, his mount PINK MARTINI (18/10 into even money) was soon in contention. She was asked to take up the running as they approached the 200m pole and although AVILA finished well from the rear, she went on to score very easily by four.
Off the track since October, the 3yo ENVEE raced second last in the maiden event over 1000m and after making up many lengths over the final 400m did very well indeed to get up late.
WORLD OF MAGIC ran on nicely from the rear when third in the maiden event over 1600m.
Top speedratings for this weekend include:-Arlington Race 1: No Qualifers Race 2: (1) Royal Laine 8 Race 3: (1) Chekeche 51 (NAP**) Race 4: (5) Shipwreck 83 Race 5: (1) Chica Bonita 53 Race 6: (6) Importantisimo 56 Race 7: (5) Time And Love 94 Race 8: (2) My Best Pal 16 Clairwood Race 1: (7) Golden Sheik 13 Race 2: (10) Make It Real 25 Race 3: (11) Railway Best 28 (NAP*) Race 4: (16) Aegis-Fang 31 Race 5: (6) Flutter Bye 41 Race 6: (7) Miss Maddie 71 Race 7: (7) Bold Alliance 74 Race 8: (16) Destiny Bay 52 Turffontein Race 1: (3) Detectorist 18 Race 2: (1) Fun City 24 Race 3: (8) Atmospheric 18 Race 4: (6) Lady Beatrix 67 Race 5: (1) Mr Black Tom 74 (NAP*) Race 6: (5) Kalurooz Jet 71 Race 7: (7) Morning Patrol 66 Race 8: (13) Memories Of Mozart 33
Top rated winners last week includedFestival Spirit won 15/2 Platin won 3/1 Tilman won 16/10 Beach Beauty won 1/1 Vincent won 8/10 La Promesa won 11/20 Black Thunder won 4/10 Like Paradise won 4/10
Notebook:-Envee (S Van Rensburg, E-Cape) House Of Wax (G Woodruff, Gauteng) Only Achiever (G Woodruff, Gauteng)
FASTEST TIMES(Shown in brackets is the number of races run in each category) Vaal 26th July Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (4) Holy Smokey Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (5) Tilman Fastest Long 1900-3600 (0) No Qualifiers
.Kenilworth 27th July Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (4) General Assembly Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (3) Forest Of Dean Fastest Long 1900-3600 (2) Monseur Jay
.Vaal 28th July Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (3) Verbatim/Pilot Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (6) House Of Wax Fastest Long 1900-3600 (0) No Qualifiers
.Arlington 29th July Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (4) Pink Martini Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (3) My Kazzie Fastest Long 1900-3600 (2) Malbec