(19 September 2014)
There are two meetings on the Greyville polytrack over the weekend, one tonight and the other on Sunday, and the surface has become a reliable one in providing exciting and fair racing.
The most interesting runner on tonight’s card is the Pat Lunn-trained Cat In Command, a useful type who goes for a polytrack hat-trick in the eighth race on the card, a MR 74 Handicap over 1900m. This Black Minnaloushe gelding is a half-brother to Gr 1 winner War Horse. His three wins have been from 1450m to 1600m, but on pedigree he should get the trip and he is merit rated 74, so could still be ahead of the handicapper. Victory Emblem will be the danger as he is in good form and finished just half-a-length behind stablemate Royal Colours over 2000m on the poly last time and the latter followed up by winning his fourth race on the trot on Sunday. Victory Emblem was given a three-point raise but is drawn well and Sean Cormack is a significant booking.
KZN’s reigning champion jockey Anton Marcus has a fair hand on the card tonight and could get the ball rolling by winning the first on Roy’s Donkey, a stongly built Australian-bred colt by Choisir who needed his first run and will appreciate the step up to 1200m.
In the second over 1200m Marcus has another good chance on the hard knocking Moi Power. The dangers are Bengal Boy, who has run two fine races on turf but returns from a seven month break, and the well-bred Swedish House whose pedigree suggests he can do a lot better than he did on debut, especially on this surface.
Marcus has a chance again in the third on Pearl Oyster Bay, but the one that makes most appeal is West Coast Star, who should relish this step back in trip. Golden Earings is an interesting first-timer being a half-sister by Fort Wood to the Gr 1 winner Gypsy’s Warning.
In the fourth race Marcus is aboard Waltzed Home, who won quite a strong race over 1400m on the poly last time in good style. However, he is unproven over this trip of 1600m and also looks held by Mercurial Brave on strict formlines. The latter has breathing issues, so can’t be relied on, and The Helmsman, Jamal and Tuscan should also be considered.
Marcus rides the hard-knocking Royal Rhumba In the fifth over 1600m, but the preference here is for Black Jaguar who is starting to convert his early potential into results. Furthermore, he was very unlucky over course and distance last time out. Chill is a front-runner who has been knocking on the door so is also most interesting with a 4kg claimer up, although on the downside he has a wide draw. Melson and Emblem Royale are two others to consider.
The fancies for the sixth in order of preference are Tara Dawn, Qahal’s Applause, Freudiana, Nisa’s Machine and The Morrigan.
In the seventh Gathering Fame looks to be a fair prospect, but will be given cheek by Wonderful Cross, Storm Coast and Diversify, while Jamboree should enjoy the step up in trip and is the dark horse.
Marcus rides Falling Sky in the last, but this one has uninspiring form and the hard-knocking D’Vash could finally get it right.
On Sunday punters should take note of Electroshock in the second as he is held in quite good regard and has a good draw over a suitable trip, although Rumbullion has an obvious chance too.
Another good value each way bet on this card could be Clear Sailing in the seventh over 1000m. This filly is considerably under sufferance in this conditions event, but is very quick indeed and has always been well regarded, so it would be no surprise to see her defy her current merit rating.
In the third the well-bred Dynasty colt Alghadeer makes plenty of appeal first time out against a weak field.
Jellylorum looks hard to beat in the fourth race.
Classe Mondiale is well regarded and is an interesting runner in the sixth, a Novice Plate over 1600m for fillies and mares but Libertine makes appeal over a suitable trip from a pole position draw with Marcus up in the eighth.
The well regarded and superb looking Listed winner Diamond King should enjoy the step up in trip in the ninth and will add value to the day’s entertainment for the purist.
(20 September 2014)
The lure of the R1-million stake money on offer has enticed the connections
of In A Rush to return to the Vaal in an attempt to complete an Emerald Cup
double. The Grade 2 race will be run on the Vaal sand over 1450m on
Saturday 27 September.
The Port Elizabeth-based runner held off top-weight Pylon by 0.75 lengths
in his only run at the course, and trainer Gavin Smith has decided it could
be worth bringing him up to the Highveld once again.
However, he will have his work cut out to beat one of the strongest fields
ever assembled for the richest race on sand on the African continent. Last
year In A Rush’s jockey, Francois Herholdt, carrying 57kg, was able to make
the most of No 1 draw, but on this occasion he will carry 1kg more and will
have to contend with barrier No 12.
No 1 draw has gone the way of joint top weight Jet Jamboree, who is likely
to go off as the race favourite. The Dominic Zaki-trained runner has won
his last three races at the track in facile Fashion. He might be saddled
with 60kg but in his last start, beat Uncle Tommy by 1.25 lengths and will
be 1.5kg better off when they meet in the Emerald Cup.
“Half the battle is won with a decent draw,” said Zaki. “He’s unbeaten
since he was gelded and we are expecting a very big run.”
Uncle Tommy is joint top weight but trainer Weiho Marwing has another
string to his bow in the form of Isobar, narrowly beaten in the Grade 3
August Stakes over 1200m. Unfortunately he has a wide draw, which is a
concern over this course and distance, but Isobar will have the services of
Champion Jockey S’manga Khumalo.
Anger, winner of the August Stakes, is one of three runners from the Corne
Spies yard, the others being Tommy Gun and All The Bids, who is the second
reserve runner. Anger will jump from the widest draw but Tommy Gun is at No
3. Both have chances on their best form but Anger needs to prove he stays
1450m while Tommy Gunn, unbeaten in two runs on the Vaal sand, was
disappointing when fourth behind Code Red at Flamingo Park last time out.
“He was off for a long time so we needed to give him an extra run before
the Emerald Cup,” said Spies, “but he has come out of that run very well
and should be spot on come the Emerald Cup.”
One of the most interesting runners is the Sean Tarry-trained Whiteline
Fever, who has yet to run on the surface but has performed well against
some of the best horses in the country.
The son of Right Approach has contested 18 Grade 1 races and is the winner
of two Grade 2 events. Piere Strydom has the ride and from draw No 2, if
Whiteline Fever takes to the sand, he would have to be considered a serious
Charles Laird has Rio Carnival in the line-up and the Australian-bred
gelding is also an unknown quantity on the surface. Like Whiteline Fever,
he will have to race off his turf merit rating so the six-time winner could
be anything. He jumps from No 7 draw and has Anton Marcus in the irons.
Final field for the R1-million Emerald Cup (Grade 2) to be run over 1450m
on the Vaal sand track on Saturday 27 September.
1 - 1 JET JAMBOREE (D Zaki) G Lerena 60.0 - 104
2 - 11 UNCLE TOMMY (W H Marwing) W Marwing 60.0 - 99
3 - 7 RIO CARNIVAL (C Laird) A Marcus 58.0 - 109
4 - 2 WHITELINE FEVER (S G Tarry) P Strydom 58.0 - 109
5 - 12 IN A RUSH (G D Smith) F Herholdt 58.0 - 97
6 - 3 TOMMY GUN (C Spies) S Chambers 58.0 - 96
7 - 14 ACROSS THE ICE (S G Tarry) R Danielson 56.0 - 88
8 - 5 SHADOW LINE (S W Kenny) G Wrogemann 56.0 - 85
9 - 13 ISOBAR (W H Marwing) S Khumalo 54.0 - 93
10 - 4 STORM SURF (K Naidoo) K Zechner 54.0 - 70
11 - 16 ANGER (C Spies) F Naude 54.0 - 91
12 - 15 KILLUA CASTLE (G V Woodruff) A Aucharuz 54.0 - 105
13 - 6 TAPTAP MAKHATINI (S G Tarry) J Mariba 52.0 - 68
14 - 8 BROOKS-CLUB (M G Azzie) J P v'd Merwe 50.0 - 99
15 - 9 KINGOFMOUNTAIN (WGC Miller) Reserve 1 54.0 - 55
16 - 10 ALL THE BIDS (C Spies) Reserve 2 50.0 - 73
(20 September 2014)
Dennis Drier’s Cape Summer of Champions season string will start being transported down to their Phillipi training centre base from next week and is as full of quality as usual, so he could once again have Gr 1 trophies to bring back to Summerveld by next February.
The string will be headed by the like of Guiness, Generalissimo, Eventual Angel, Jet Aglow, Captain Of All, Captain On The Run, Balkan, Knox and Beckedorff, while he will also have four or five classy two-year-olds to work with.
Three-year-old colt Guiness and four-year-old colt Captain Of All are already Gr 1 victors, both having won the Tsogo Sun Medallion over 1200m at Scottsville as two-year-olds.
This pair as well as Tsogo Sun fourth-placed Beckedorff all have plenty of speed, so it would be no surprise to see them in the season’s biggest sprints, including the Gr 1 Cape Flying Championship over 1000m at Kenilworth.
However the probable most exciting male in the string is the three-year-old Var colt Generalissimo, who has been hugely impressive in his last two victories over 1200m and 1000m respectively. Drier is hopeful that he will get a mile and said, “He is not a tearaway, so I don’t see why not.” Generalissimo will start off in the Gr 3 Elusive Fort Cape Classic over 1400m on October 25 and his route from there if the mile does prove to be within his reach will likely be the Gr 2 Selangor Cup over 1600m on November 22 and the Gr1 Grand Parade Cape Guineas on December 20.
The robust Right Approach filly Eventual Angel is a very exciting sort, having won four out of five starts in commanding style, including a Gr 3. Drier believes she will get at least a mile and that time will tell whether she gets 1800m. She and the classy Jet Master mare Jet Aglow will likely attempt to fill the considerable boots of Beach Beauty by landing races like the Gr 1 Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes over 1800m and the Gr 1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes over 1600m.
Balkan has been disappointing since two runaway wins over 1000m and 1100m respectively, so is a bit of an unknown quantity. Captain On The Run has also been a bit disappointing overall, but at his best will be competitive in feature sprints.
Knox is a three-year-old Western Winter gelding who won his second start over 1200m on the Greyville polytrack by seven lengths and he could possibly join Generalissimo in going for the big sophomore events.
Whichever way it is looked at, Drier will almost certainly be a force to be reckoned with down in Cape Town for the next few months.