(29 August 2014)
The effect of pace in a race as well as speed figures are important considerations punters need to take into account before placing their bets and all professional punters will have their opinions on these two factors.
Alan Potts, a respected professional punter in Britain, said in his book “The Inside Track” that he tries to avoid betting in any race of seven furlongs (1400m) and further in which he can not find at least one probable pacesetter. He added that in general, sprints and most two-year-old races were run at a proper pace but also said that any field of eight runners or less should ring alarm bells in all other races.
When equating this to South African betting, either punters should look at going wide in the races which concern Potts or they should look for a top jockey who is on a horse that could possibly dictate. Anton Marcus is the king in the latter instance and it is in fact quite frustrating for the greats of yesteryear like Michael Roberts to see how the less experienced riders allow him to dictate, for there is no simpler race to win than the one in which a horse is allowed an easy lead. The latter scenario is highlighted by Potts, who said that he looks for races in which there is just one regular front-runner with the form to win, as a horse in this category that is able to set an average or a slow pace will have a tactical advantage.
Potts has a very interesting theory on speed. He has used the theories of a well known USA speed figure man Andy Beyer, who believed that his personal speed figures enabled him to identify horses that could successfully step up in class. Potts believes that a Timeform rating of 100 indicates a horse capable of racing off a handicap mark of 100. He consequently began looking for horses that had run significantly higher than their current handicap mark, because if the speed figure was an accurate measure of the merit, they should be able to win again next time out in a handicap. It soon became apparent that the method did highlight future winners and often at big prices.
A case study that could be used for both the pace and speed theories above is Sunday’s ninth race at Greyville, a MR 86 Handicap over 1800m. In this race the Mark Dixon-trained Buck Shot easily won his maiden over 1600m at Scottsville and recorded an excellent Computaform speed figure of 79.
However, he was only given a 71 merit rating and he duly followed up over the same course and distance next time out, winning a handicap by three lengths. He is now off a 78 merit rating, so could follow up considering his speed figure last time was 76, despite being eased before the line. However, in both his wins the race set up very well as he was able to sit second behind a strong pace before powering clear. The problem with Sunday’s race is that there are only eight runners and no obvious pacemaker.
Furthermore three runs ago Buck Shot pulled hard in a slower paced race over 1600m. To add to the negative is that the pace is generally slower over 1800m anyway, so Buck Shot might not settle if tucked in. However, he does have the astute Anthony Delpech aboard and it would be no surprise to see him use his mount’s impressive stride and go to the front. If he doesn’t there are two horses that could have the race set up for them - the Alec Laird-trained Patriotic Rebel and the Gavin van Zyl-trained Silver Spring. Anton Marcus is aboard Patriotic Rebel and in his usual highly professional approach has likely already assessed that this is a race in which he could possibly dictate. However, Silver Spring likes to race handy and looks to be crying out for this trip. He is preferred because Patriotic Rebel would prefer further and may be outpaced in the straight.
In the fourth race on Sunday, a MR 78 Handicap over 1200m, the Mike de Kock-trained Step To Fame makes plenty of appeal. He beat two promising colts in Generalissimo and Kapitan in his maiden win over 200m when showing good pace. He was then slow away last time out over 1400m on the poly and over-raced behind a slow pace, so not surprisingly didn’t find extra. It is usually unwise to go with three-year-olds in handicaps at this time of the year, but he does look classy and will relish the step back in trip to 1200m, especially as the pace is certain to be truer than last time and furthermore he is drawn in pole position.
The toughest race on the card is the eighth, a MR 70 Handicap over 1800m, but here it at least looks likely that there will be a good pace. The Royal Rhumba is a front-runner and has Marcus up, but he might not be able to dictate as Payne’s Bay is drawn wide and is often difficult to settle. Furthermore, Zillid Warrior has often led, while Slot In went start to finish last time over 1400m, so should be right up there over this longer trip. So a horse that can produce a strong finish from off the pace is one to look for. Double Clutch, who came from near last when winning his maiden on the turf at Greyville over 1800m, fits the bill and came from way back in his penultimate over 1800m at Scottsville when touched off a head. His last below par run can be excused as he was ridden by a foreign apprentice and it was his second run after gelding. Delpech now rides and the wide draw should be of no concern as he is likely to drop him out.
Applying these theories don’t always work out, but can often be useful, so they are worth taking note of.
(27 August 2014)
The current class of Summerhill Stud’s School of Management Excellence visited Summerveld last week in order to get a better feel for the industry they are to be trained in.
The School Of Excellence is gaining a fine reputation for empowering the previously disadvantaged.
The worth of the school is highlighted by the fact that in the three years of its existence two learners, Thabani Nzimande and John Motaung, have gone on to graduate as the top practical student when furthering their studies through bursaries at the National Stud in the UK.
Motaung, who received the pre-mentioned accolade in the last week of June this year, began his career at Summerhill as a stable cleaner and groom.
His handling and workriding skills saw him rising through the ranks within Tarryn Liebenberg and Michael Booysen’s Pre-Training and Sales division at Summerhill and among the horses that he pre-trained was the great Vodacom Durban July-winning mare Igugu.
The National Stud experience was the second scholarship Motaung had been awarded as he had earlier been sent for a stint with the renowned pinhooker and bloodstock agent, Becky Thomas in Florida, USA.
Another success story from last year’s class is Hazel Kayiya, who was appointed as the Corporate Service Executive of Gold Circle at the beginning of this month.
Summerhill embarked upon a program of upliftment over two decades ago that originally consisted of a crèche, a preparatory school and a life mentoring class.
The life mentoring class saw the award of many overseas scholarships and this prompted the development of the School Of Management Excellence.
The Gainsborough Stud of the late ruler of Dubai, Sheik Maktoum Al Maktoum, is always honoured by Summerhill for helping get the school off the ground.
The South African government have now also come to the table and provide bursaries for the school through CATHSSETA. A SETA‘s main function is to contribute to the raising of skills in any given sector. Horseracing falls under the sports sector and sports is included under CATHSSETA’s authority.
The School Of Management Excellence was the first institution of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and one of its aims as stated by Summerhill's owner Mick Goss was to “fill a void in the needs of an industry involving billions of dollars in investment, but woefully short on the educational opportunities that this facility offers.”
There is a forty seater theatre from which lectures are held and it is equipped with state of the art technological aids. Alongside it is the groom’s convention centre, which has a capacity for 150 people.
The stone under thatch buildings guarantee coolness in summer and there is underfloor heating throughout to offset the chilly Mooi River winter weather.
The curriculum is intended to propel graduates directly into management roles through a range of subjects designed by experts for the strategic, practical and financial demands of the horse breeding industry.
The lecturers include highly placed academics, veterinarians, trainers, nutritionists, bloodstock agents, stud managers and insights are also provided by leading industry personalities.
Heather Morkel is the head of the School Of Management Excellence. She has a wealth of experience in the industry, having held positions as PA to Mick Goss, CEO of the first South African Equine Trade Council, CEO of Summerhill’s in-house horse feeds business, Vuma, and Group Business Manager at Summerhill.
The students are usually chosen on their leadership potential.
On the current course only two of the ten students have not been subsidised.
Mary Slack of Wilgerbosdrift Stud has financed one of her own grooms.
David Hepburn-Brown of Hemel ‘N Aarde Stud, Cape trainer Glen Kotzen and Sharon Patterson of the Bayshore Barn spelling centre in Gauteng each recommended a groom, who all attained bursaries from CATHSSETA. Three grooms from Summerhill Stud and a student from the South African Jockey’s Academy also received CATHSSETA bursaries.
Patrick Merven, a trainer and stable manager from Mauritius, sent his son as a private student and there is one other private student.
The course runs from May until the end of September and two students are then chosen on merit to further their studies at the National Stud in the UK along with 25 to 30 other students from around the world. This pair are each given a scholarship from the Trustees Anthony Cane, John Wood and Karen Groom. Cane and Wood made this decision after a chance stopover at Summerhill in 2011.
Another international internship is also usually offered and one of last year’s most deserving students, Marius Losch of Maine Chance Farms, has spent time gaining work experience at Rich Hill Stud in New Zealand. The funding of this international internship was assisted by CATHSSETA.
Last week the class’s Summerveld trip began with a visit to Mike de Kock’s stable where among other day to day workings of a yard they were shown an equine treadmill in action. They then went to the training tracks to witness the gallops.
Later, Gold Circle’s Racing Manager Jay Harriellal gave the students some insight into the establishment of the national racing program as well as regaling about a day at the races and other facets of the industry.
The students then visited the South African Jockey’s Academy.
Mick Goss has always been known for his intuition and innovation and the School of Management Excellence will be a legacy largely indebted to those valuable twin assets of his.
TAB and TABGOLD’s great new bet, Soccer GG, which merges the exciting worlds of soccer and horseracing, starts this Saturday and the pool will kick off with a R50,000 bonus.
“We are constantly looking for ways to enhance our customers’ enjoyment of betting and Soccer GG should appeal to both soccer and horseracing fans,”
said TAB boss Vee Moodley.
“We derived the name from gee-gees, which has long been a slang term for horses. Soccer GG aims to stretch soccer and horseracing fans out of their comfort zones, while simultaneously adding a new level of entertainment to their betting. And to get the bet going, we will add R50,000 to each of the first four Soccer GG pools,” he added.
The Soccer GG bet comprises five soccer matches and one horse race. To win, players must forecast the results of the soccer matches, which are labelled
M1 to M5, and the race which is shown as M6.
As with other TAB soccer bets like Soccer 6, the home team is labelled as Team A and the other as Team B in each game. There are three result options to choose from in each match: 1 = Team A win; 2 = Draw; 3 = Team B win.
In the race, players must mark the numbers of the horses they fancy on the betting form. Tote customers must use the regular horseracing betting form to take their bets and there are posters in all TABs explaining how to do it.
As with all multiple-event tote bets, players can take a single entry (one choice in the five soccer matches and the race) for R3 or a permutation, in which multiple choices can be made. The cost is R3 per combination.
Initially Soccer GG will only be offered on a Saturday but the bet may be expanded to other days depending on the demand.
TAB AND TABGOLD will add R50,000 to each of the first four Soccer GG pools ��" this Saturday 30 August and Saturdays 6, 13 and 20 September.
Details of the pool for this Saturday:
M1: Free State Stars v Maritzburg
M2: QPR v Sunderland
M3: Swansea v West Brom
M4: Everton v Chelsea
M5: Kaizer Chiefs v SuperSport
M6: Race 7 Vaal Saturday ��" the R250,000 August Stakes. Runners are:
1 Across The Ice
2 Midnight Run
3 Killua Castle
4 Nice Stride
8 Global Express
11 Storm Incoming
13 Chief Sioux (Reserve)
14 Commissionerstreet (Reserve)
If any horse does not run, it is replaced by the tote favourite in Soccer GG bets.