Wild West down Flamingo way

Kimberley 27 June

Muzi Yeni. Won the second at Kimberley.

The Flamingo Park meeting on Monday 27 June developed into something of a minefield for punters as the results produced one blow after the other. While the element of the unknown forms  an integral  component of the mystique and allure of finding the correct combinations, some of the decisions by professional trainers invite question and debate by those of us who love our racing and search for the answers in the mathematics and logic of it.

This question was highlighted over this past weekend during the running of the Gr3 Tekkie Town Winter  Derby run over 2400m at Kenilworth. Camden Park gelding  Campo De Santana was being bustled along by jockey Gerrit Schlechter to get nearer the pace as they went through the 1000m marker. Nothing remarkable about this, other than  seven days earlier and 1000km away the same horse was storming through late to run a gallant second to Key Castle in this country’s longest race, the 3600m Gold Cup run at Fairview. That  means he ran 6000m in eight days and travelled 1000km by road. Probably not surprising then that he has run 300% more races than most of his contemporaries in the Derby and 100% more than the horse with the second most mileage on the clock. Where will see him next ? Perhaps Kimberley or maybe he will pitch up for the Gold Vase on July Day?

Failed favourite Arctic Jet. Trainer misjudgement?

We realise that there is no rule of thumb and some horses take more racing than others. If it works the trainer is a peerless judge of horseflesh. But flop and we will look for blame. And the failure of the favourite Arctic Jet in the first leg of the jackpot at Kimberley today  could be ascribed to just this. Poor judgement and a seeming lack of compassion. Arctic Jet won his last start three weeks ago in Kimberley and we waxed lyrical in these pages then that the seven time winner had something to come, even though he was unlikely to recover his purchase price.

On Friday they trucked him down to Arlington and he ran a tremendous second to the local champion Celtic Fire jumping from the worst draw over the 1200m around the turn. Seventy two hours later he was  back in Kimberley and started  favourite only to run a dismal race. Form turnaround? Surprise? Off day? We would love to hear what his young trainer is thinking, remembering that this horse runs in the colours of one of our leading owners and there can be no pressure in the background to run him every week, as there so often is from that quarter. Anyhow, who knows who on earth this trainer SP Miller is, anyway? There have been no press releases from the operator, no information at all. We assume he is the late legend’s son, Shaun. And where does Martin Cohen fit in?

The PA problems started in the opening leg where the supremely consistent Brazillian gelding Ski Champ stopped to nothing after being given every chance by Sherman Brown. This race also provided the only glimmer of light on the day for the out-of-sorts Miller yard. They had one winner from their sixteen runners on the day.

The first leg of the Pick Six went the same route when the Parade Leader filly The Lighter Side whipped the colts after being claimed from 20-1 to 12-1 earlier in the day. It was her first place in eleven  starts.The less said the better.

Sherman Brown brought Mar Alberto  home for the Myburgh yard to win  the sixth race, as the first fancied horse on the day. The Miller gelding  Zorba was scratched at the start as he was lame, and then the backed (at long odds) Fast Fantasy broke through before being restrained. Another one of those cold-blooded cases for his backers as he was never in the race and languished at the rear after this adrenaline rush  and physical exertion. While on the subject of training judgement, maybe it is time that the grey Tutenkhamen be retired. He was having run number sixty here and hardly raised a gallop. He can’t owe his connections anything at this stage of the game having won seven races.

The Miller yard had further cause for concern in the final leg of the jackpot where  two of their three  runners vied for favouritism. The best they could do was a third placed cheque, with their least fancied runner Forest Maiden pulling  up at the top of the home straight.  The race went to Vernon Rugg’s Captain Al filly Latifah, who was punched out by Ewert Pfeiffer to beat the Spies trained Pocket Magic.

Jockey Randall Simons closed the day with his third win when he steered the Vernon Rugg-trained Expert Magic to an overdue fourth win from a poor draw. It was an impressively patient ride from the fast maturing rider who is sponsored by Pilot. The six year old Lecture gelding beat the younger Super Speed at 12-1 with ease.

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