The smaller yards mostly find it tough going during Champions Season with out-of-province trainers raiding with their best horses. But it does pay to take them on occasionally as Captain Demonami put one over the fancied Wolfgang in the first at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday.
Dean Kannemeyer’s runner looked all over a winner inside the final furlong, but Captain Demonami, who led at the top of the straight, came right back at him to land the spoils for Lezeanne Forbes and Mark Khan.
“He’s still a big baby and this trip is still short of his best,” said Forbes. That said he is nominated for the Gr3 Umkhomazi Stakes over 1200m in 10 day’s time.
The won was tempered with the news that Wolfgang had pulled up lame behind which probably accounted for him not going through with his effort that last bit.
She’s A Crusade is something of a 900m specialist, having finished runner-up in her previous four starts after running out of puff inside the last 100m. But Corrine Bestel’s filly had much in her favour yesterday and Lyle Hewitson, having his third go on the filly, judged this one to perfection, asking for an effort at just the right moment and She’s A Crusade responded with a game effort to the line but winning rather comfortably in the end.
Opensea was not so lucky in the next as his followers had to be content with another placed run as the younger Knight Warrior proved far too smart. “He’s a smart horse,” commented Dennis Bosch. “He wrapped himself quite badly in his last race but I said to Des that I thought he would be too good for this field.”
And so it proved as Richard Fourie rode a super confident race, pulling wide into the straight, A la Anton Marcus, and roaring up the outside rail.
His next target is the R2.5 million CTS sales race at Kenilworth in January but there is still a lot of water to pass under that bridge. “He will now have his African Horse Sickness and then another race. He will have to win that if he is to go to Cape Town,” said Des Gonsalves, racing manager to Mario Ferreira.
Bosch was leading in another winner as Born To Perform completed the double. The grey son of the smart racemare Dancer’s Daughter has been a late starter, this only his fifth start, but the four-year-old’s only two defeats have come on the turf and is now three-from-three on the poly for Warren Kennedy.
Kennedy, one of the team members of the KZN Falcons in the New Turf Carriers Rider Cup this Saturday, was back in the limelight as he eased Gavin van Zyl’s Pantsula through on the inside rail to snaffle Eternal Words and apprentice Jason Gates.
Van Zyl used the opportunity to question the merit of the 10-point merit rating increase due for all runners come August 1, reasoning that trainers would have great difficulty placing their higher rated horses in the off season with few options open to them.
Travelling Light was widely expected to atone for her disappointing effort in the Allan Robertson Championship and she was given a forward ride by title-chasing Hewitson. But the 61kg on her back told over the last 100m as the seasoned veteran Zadora finished with a flourish. Given that Travelling Light was giving 3.5kg to her older rival, it was still an effort full of merit.
Donovan Dillon is slowly working his way into the top echelon of the KZN jockey ranks after his recent move from Cape Town. He rounded off the meeting with a double, leading all the way on Triple Fate Line for Robbie and Shannon Hill, the winner looks to have a decent future ahead of him as he met a useful field.
Lady Abigail was not that easy to find in the last. Having her first run for Doug Campbell, the filly finished down the field in her last two, but took advantage of a drop in class to hold on gamely.
By Andrew Harrison