One World and Front And Centre stole the headlines at Durbanville last Saturday but another horse who can be taken out of the meeting with equal optimism by punters is the the three-year-old African Warrior.
The Dean Kannemeyer-trained Vercingetorix gelding was facing the like of Undercover Agent, in the Grade 3 Matchem Stakes over 1400m, on 8kg worse terms than he would have in a handicap and was unlucky to not get closer than his 2,25 length fifth.
He was the only three-year-old in the field and was dropped out to last by Keagan de Melo from a wide draw.
De Melo elected to go down the inside rail in the straight.
African Warrior once again displayed his devastating turn of foot but had to weave out and in to get around the struggling Bishops Bounty.
It is an ultra tough race for a young three-year-old and to have suffered the traffic problems and still get within 0,60 lengths of the former Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge and Grade 2 IOS Drill Hall Stakes-winner Undercover Agent was a fine feat.
Kannemeyer chose a conservative route with African Warrior last season after he had won the Grade 3 Godolphin Barb over 1100m and finished an unlucky fifth in the Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion.
He avoided both the Grade 2 Golden Horseshoe over 1400m and the Grade 1 Premier’s Champions Stakes over 1600m in favour of the KZN Yearling Sales Million and the Grade 2 Umkhomazi Stakes over 1200m respectively. He won both of the latter races to be named KZN Champion three-year-old colt.
Kannemeyer has an enviable record in the Cape Summer Season classics and this horse looks up to bringing him more silverware.
He is quite temperamental but this is not apparent during a race as he relaxes beautifully in the running and it appears he can be switched on and off easily. This and the fine turn of foot he possesses are two normal credentials of top racehorses.
He will likely go for the Grade 3 Cape Classic over 1400m next before facing the country’s best three-year-olds in the Grade 1 Cape Guineas.
By David Thiselton