Arlingon 25th February: The first of just two favourites to arrive in Port Elizabeth on Friday was SOUTH LAWN who opened his account in the maiden event over 2000m. Allowed to ease out to 33/10 from 2/1 at the track, Alan Greeff’s charge was always handy. The ante post joint favourite SPELLCASTER (2/1 out to 7/2) moved up to dispute matters as they approached the 300m marker and after a thrilling tussle all the way to the wire, it was only by the narrowest of margins that South Lawn got the verdict. Spellcaster has now been narrowly beaten in two of his three starts since relocating to the Eastern Cape. He had the rest some six lengths in arrears here and should go one better in the near future.
The biggest of the four winners on the card to arrive in double figures was PATH OF PEACE who registered his second career victory in the novice event over 1200m. Freely available at 25/1 on the off, the Sporting Post’s best handicapped runner in the race was soon up handy. He was ridden to lead as they approached the 300m marker and kept on strongly in the closing stages of the race to beat the running on SPORTING LAD by a length and a quarter.
A Conditions Plate over 2200m topped the bill and here it was nice to see the 6yo OCTOBER CLUB take his tally of wins up to eight. On leaving the stalls it was the nibbled at outsider of the six horse party MAN ON A MISSION (40/1 into 20/1) who elected to set the pace whilst the son of Doowaley raced close up in second. October Club quickened nicely at the top of the short home straight and after striking the front shortly after passing the 300m marker he kept on strongly to beat HAPPY ENDING by three quarters.
Positioned at the back of a very strung out field in the MR66 Handicap over 2000m turning for home, REIGN ‘N RULE ran on well down the short home straight and did well to get within three lengths of the winner.
First Link In The Chain
Turffontein 26th February: The first of the afternoon’s three Gr2 events to be run was the Hawaii Stakes over 1400m and in what proved to be a real thriller victory here went to the versatile EARL OF SURREY (76). Nibbled at on course to go off second favourite at 9/2 (opened 11/2), Geoff Woodruff’s charge wasn’t the quickest into stride from his wide draw and as a result he soon found himself positioned in the rear. The dual Gauteng Merchants winner ARABIAN MIST on the other hand got away well and when that one struck the front just 50m from home, he looked to have done everything right. Earl Of Surrey had been cutting through the field like a knife from the halfway point though and just as if scripted he got up in the dying strides.
The Gr2 Fillies Guineas was next up and here victory went to the Cape Fillies Guineas runner up IGUGU (74). Sent off a well supported favourite at 14/10, Mike De Kock’s charge raced close up in second for most of the journey. She held a two lengths lead over her main rival in the betting market HOLLYWOODBOULEVARD as she moved through to take up the running 400m out, and despite the efforts of that one, she doubled her advantage on the run to the line.
The first leg of South Africa’s Triple Crown, the Gr2 Gauteng Guineas topped the bill and here favourite backers were again on the mark when the recent Gr3 Tony Ruffel Stakes winner LINK MAN did the business. Nicely positioned in fifth as the thirteen runners turned for home, Link Man was perfectly positioned to strike. He was asked to take up the running as they approached the 300m marker and although his stable companion KAVANAGH ran on very nicely from off the pace, he did look to have that one held at the wire.
WELWITSCHIA was only having her second career start in the Gr2 Gauteng Fillies Guineas. She ran on nicely from off the pace and is clearly very useful.
Kenilworth 26th February: Race six in Cape Town on Saturday was a MR90 Handicap over 1200m and here we saw a nice performance from the 3yo TRYST. Sent off second favourite at 3/1, the daughter of Count Dubois was always handy. She moved through to take up the running shortly after passing the 300m marker and after quickly drawing clear, she easily accounted for the running on SUNBED by two and a half.
The Gr3 Chairman’s Cup over 3200m was next up and here it was nice to see the 5yo GOLDEN PARACHUTE back in the winner’s enclosure. Nicely positioned in fifth for most of the marathon journey, Mike Bass’ charge was always well positioned to challenge. He ran on stoutly in the home straight and with the benefit of first run, he got the better of the faster finishing PADDY O’REILLY by three quarters.
The easiest victory on the card was recorded by DEAD CERT who came home smoking in the MR76 affair over 1400m. Confidently ridden by Glen Hatt, the son of Tara’s Halls raced seventh of the eight early on. He cut through the field with ease once in the straight though and after striking the front 150m from home, he cruised clear in the latter stages of the race to score by four and a quarter.
Newcomer MISS IPANEMA was running on stoutly in the closing stages of the Juvenile Plate over 1000m and did well to get up for second.
After racing in the rear, newcomer WINTER MIST coasted into fourth in the maiden event over 1200m and looks sure to come stacks next time.
Scottsville 27th February: Followers of the money got off to a nice start in Natal on Sunday when the heavily supported newcomer TERRIBLE GULCH (18) did the business in the opening Juvenile Plate over 1200m. Deep in the red at 11/20 on the off (opened 12/10), Mike De Kock’s charge was soon up with the speed. He began to assert his authority shortly after passing the 300m marker and went on to score comfortably from the easy to back RED LOTUS (4/1 out to 15/2) by a length and a half.
Another to win well in the maiden ranks on this card was AVILA (22) who opened her account at just the fourth time of asking in the girls division over 1200m. Confidently ridden by Stuart Randolph, the daughter of Toreador sat in midfield during the early part of the race. She quickened well when given rein 400m from home and after quickly cutting through the field, she easily accounted for the more fancied CATATONIC by a length and a half.
A MR93 Handicap over 1000m topped the bill and here victory went to the lightly weighted MODERN EXPRESS (56). Ridden by apprentice Mgudlwa who went on to ride all winners in the Jackpot, Modern Express was always positioned very close to the pace. He put his head in front shortly after passing the 400m marker and kept on strongly in the closing stages of the race to beat the gallant front running top weight TIRADE by three quarters.
Up in class in the MR84 Handicap over 1200m, the recent Clairwood winner FLASHY caught the eye running on strongly in the closing stages of the race to take third.
Top speedratings for this weekend include:-
Race 1: (10) Kuba Cloth 8
Race 2: (5) Classtasy 20
Race 3: (14) Glorious Mamba 60
Race 4: (11) Slumdog Oscar 64
Race 5: (4) Great Heart 93
Race 6: (5) Tree Flag 89
Race 7: (11) Test Act 103
Race 8: (12) Moonshine Lake 61
Race 1: No Qualifiers
Race 2: (2) Torman 14
Race 3: (9) Hymn Of Angels 7
Race 4: (15) Causeway 49
Race 5: (9) Gourmet Guru 87 (EW)
Race 6: (16) Jet Dot Com 57
Race 7: (9) De La Patrie 78
Race 8: (16) Moyawami 62
Race 9: (15) Shuffles 71
Race 1: No Qualifiers
Race 2: (1) Sweet Silvano 26
Race 3: (9) Famous Words 15
Race 4: (10) Day By Day 31
Race 5: (2) Keen Warrior 50
Race 6: (10) Green Day 83
Race 7: (6) Martial Eagle 80
Race 8: (16) Rockvale 53
Race 1: (1) Alberts Vigilance 17
Race 2: (1) Tassie Belle 72
Race 3: (1) Prompter 23
Race 4: (4) Fly Emirates 4
Race 5: (4) Foreign Sovereign 51 (EW)
Race 6: (9) Asaal’s Magic 78
Race 7: (4) Urbane Knight 38
Race 8: (7) Pecourt 1
Race 1: (10) Midnight Dragon 2
Race 2: (5) The Western 20
Race 3: (11) Polina 27
Race 4: (1) Advance Warning 11 (NAP*)
Race 5: (2) Magico 95
Race 6: (14) Wild Swan 60
Race 7: (1) Master Blaster 76
Race 8: (10) Sicoco 72 (EW)
Race 9: (1) Polish Lady 23
Top rated winners last week included:-
Wild Shot won 8/1
Joe Pike won 15/2
Spitfire Run won 11/2
Earl Of Surrey won 9/2
Great Kali won 9/2
Wings Over Skye won 28/10
Link Man won 2/1
Igugu (M De Kock, Gauteng)
Link Man (M De Kock, Gauteng)
Welwitschia (M De Kock. Gauteng)
(Shown in brackets is the number of races run in each category)
Arlington 25th February
Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (3) Starring Emma
Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (2) In Extreme
Fastest Long 1900-3600 (3) South Lawn
Turffontein 26th February
Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (4) Maji Moto
Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (4) Dancewiththedevil
Fastest Long 1900-3600 (2) Ilsanpietro
Kenilworth 26th February
Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (5) Tryst
Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (3) Wild Shot
Fastest Long 1900-3600 (1) Golden Parachute
Scottsville 27th February
Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (7) Modern Express
Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (2) Gortahawk
Fastest Long 1900-3600 (0) No Qualifiers