Alexander eyes the VDJ

PUBLISHED: 20 February 2020

Chijmes (JC Photographics)

Gary Alexander landed the eleventh four-timer of his career last Saturday at Turffontein and is now eyeing the Vodacom Durban July with two of his stalwarts, Chijmes and Hero’s Honour.

He has other feature race dates in mind for the like of Saragon, Magic School, Just Kidding and Gaian Glory and believes General Jackson can also make the step up to feature class.

Alexander believes both Chijmes and Hero’s Honour will be ideally suited to Greyville as they both have the ability to quicken from handy positions.

Hero’s Honour, who is a five-year-old gelding by Await The Dawn out of a Galileo mare, won the SA Derby two seasons ago but did not winter well that season so did not run in the July.

Chijmes (JC Photographics)
Chijmes (JC Photographics)

However, the race he won recently is a good starting point from which to have another tilt.

Chijmes is by the sprint-miler Ato out of a Russian Revival miler called Sophie’s Choice.

However, he has a nice big stride and found extra on Saturday over 1800m when challenged in the final 150m by the decent performers Divine Odyssey and Al Mutawakel.

On that evidence he could get the Greyville 2200m trip.

Alexander said there were plenty of other options for this pair in the SA Champions Season, including the Grade 1 Champions Cup.

Alexander has always thought a lot of the Ideal World mare Saragon, who has now won four of her 14 states. He is considering two Grade 1 events for her, the HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes and the Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes, both over a mile. This mare has a fine turn of foot.

The three-year-old Visionaire filly Just Kidding took on the boys on Tuesday in the Egoli Mile at the Vaal and finished second carrying 54,5kg.

She had earlier finished third in the Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Cup.

She could have a couple of SA Champions Season targets and so could the three-year-old Philanthropist filly Magic School.

The latter finished second to Frosted Gold in the Grade 3 Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m and finished a narrow third against her own gender in the Grade 3 Three Troikas Stakes over that same Turffontein Standside course and distance.

She was unplaced in last Wednesday night’s Grade 2 Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas but nothing went right for her. She was drawn wide and then missed the break. She moved up well in the straight but the effect of the slow start told. However, she was still only 5,25 lengths back at the line.

She will take her place in the Grade 1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic and Alexander believed she would have no problem getting the 1800m trip as she “settles so well”.

Three-year-old Gaian Glory is by Visionaire and is a half-sister to Chijmes. She finished second in the Ready To Run Cup and followed that with a far from disgraced sixth place finish to the top class Ikigai in the Grade 2 Tony Ruffel Stakes over 1400m.

Alexander’s run on Saturday began with an easy five length win for General Jackson in a maiden over 1600m and he believed this three-year-old Jackson gelding could improve enough to be aimed at a minor feature soon.

He won the next three races on the card with Fierce Fighter (maiden plate over 2600m), Chijmes and Saragon.

However, this feat does not constitute a yard best. Had two six-timers in the mid-1990s, including once on an eight race card.

He has 70 horses in his yard and concluded, “We have a well balanced string. Chijmes, Hero’s Honour and Saragon are relatively lightly raced so are still fresh horses and we have some above average younger horses.” 

By David Thiselton