War Zone!

Kenilworth 30 November

Another Big Day. Joey Ramsden is all smiles as he produces the winners.

Smallish fields and ready-made bankers were the bear-traps for punters at the Kenilworth killing fields  on 30 November. The true story was told by the Pick Six payout of just 26% on a forgettable day for punters looking to grow their Christmas bonuses ahead of the fiscal demands of the silly season.

We have said it before, but really – will we ever learn from past experience?  The three bankers were staring us in the face. Silva Chant in the first leg. Icy Jet in the third leg.  Ce Loire in the fifth leg. Easy game this! But three gunshots later and none of them even ran a drum!

Joey Ramsden continued with his dream run when he celebrated a double with Gatsby in the second race and the impressive Var  looker, Virtuoso in the fifth race. Stable jockey Glen Hatt has jetted off for the International Jockey weekend in Mauritius  and Brandon Lerena took the gap with both hands, riding an accomplished race – even though favourite Icy Jet in the fifth race may be worth another chance as he was found to be not striding out behind after the race. Ramsden looks well on track for a serious tilt at the Cape Trainer Championship this season – but more about that title chase in another thought.  

Trainer Vaughan Marshall turned on the taps of the bloodbath in the Pick Six opener where he  produced the rather stoutly bred Tiger Dance filly Singha in fighting trim to score a shock win at 33-1.The Maiden Plate (F&M) had looked at the mercy of the Brett Crawford trained Silva Chant, but the daughter of Silvano proved again that she needs to strengthen up and grow a heart before her winning turn will come. She ran unplaced in a race where the form may prove marginal. Glen Kotzen’s Fort Wood filly Cape Floral looks to be the only placed filly with any real upward scope and she stayed on well for second place. And nothing beats the post-race interview as shell-shocked punters reeled.

Tellytrack on-course presenter Grant Knowles was so dumbstruck he called  her a ‘he’ and then proceeded to rationalise that there were ‘glimpses of improvement’ shown previously. Fair enough, she had  finished in the region of six lengths back at her second and third starts. But trainer Vaughan Marshall thankfully brought some sanity to proceedings by admitting that he had thought she ‘could run a place.’ The minimum Pick Six dividend after just one leg of R44 illustrated the enormity of the result and the last thing punters  want to hear is post-race merchants putting a smiley-happy slant on a bomb.

Better Byleveld. MJ rode a double today.

Jockey MJ Byleveld did his fractured confidence the world of good with a well taken double on Singha and then runaway winner Jean’s Pride in the sixth race.  Mike Stewart has always rated the Western Winter filly,  who is no doubt named in honour and memory of the late Jean Jaffee. The Cheveley Stud-bred filly has won two of nine starts and looks to have plenty of scope. She is quite fast – despite being out of a full sister to Gr1 Aussie Derby winner Headturner.

Jockey Devin Ashby doesn’t get many chances and he made the most of his opportunity in Grant Van Niekerk’s suspension-enforced absence, when steering the six year old mare Reptillian to a good win in the Jackpot opener. Shimmering Jet made the pace in the MR74 Handicap and Ashby had the Van Reenen runner loping along in fourth position. The big mare appears a bit one-paced and she really just stayed on best under a balanced ride to beat the 40-1 shot Mile High and the fancied Golden Dawn, whose winning turn appears just around the corner. This was Reptillian’s  third win at her 49th outing and she is a R30 000 graduate of a Plattner Racing dispersal of yesteryear. 

Drakenstein–based private trainer Michael Robinson and his stable jockey Grant Behr have an outstanding strike rate and they opened the day on a winning note in the Maiden Plate (F&M) over 1200m. The debutante Night Jet was Robinson’s sole runner on the afternoon and she showed terrific pace and maturity when leading all the way to hold off the more experienced Dumani, with the Drier first-timer Bambina Stripes staying on well to take home a third cheque on debut. Herecomesthebride and Molly R showed some nice pace, but both tired late.

Shew! Michael Robinson and Gaynor Rupert lead Night Jet in after her debut win.

The winner Night Jet is out of the Irish-bred Machiavellian mare Pleine Nuit and was bred by her owners, Drakenstein Stud. The same mare produced Pivotal Night, Robinson’s first ever winner trained off the beautiful Franschoek farm. Night Jet is a tall lanky light-framed filly, who apparently shows little at home but there was money for her and she won very well.

The word was out that the Plattner Racing Victory Moon filly Pacatuba was very difficult to beat in the final race of the day, where jockey Andrew Nienaber appeared to think he was riding Empress Club as he set a suicidal gallop on the Paul Reeves-trained Lemon Meringue. The pacemaker was dead and buried 400m out as Aldo Domeyer rode a clever race on Susanna to deny backers of the favourite.  Domeyer set the Bass filly alight at a crucial stage of the MR70 Handicap for Fillies and Mares, to grab first run on her field. Brandon Morgenrood was not given the easiest of rides on Pacatuba who appeared to lug in late – or was it just a clever piece of animated race-riding by Domeyer? The side-on picture showed that the first two finishers had moved perilously close to each other in the final 100m of the race. But Tellytrack made no announcement of a race review. Seventy four percent of the  Pick Six was carried over to the Avontuur Fillies Guineas Race-Day at Kenilworth on Saturday. But don’t take that as gospel, as  keeping track of the dynamic and complex Saftote Carry-over rules requires a full-time study of its very own!

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