SATURDAY 2 JUNE 2018 – Greyville Racecourse
DAILY NEWS 2000 Grade 1
If ever a horse deserved the honour of a Grade 1 victory it was the gutsy son of Gimmethegreenlight, the three-year-old Surcharge from the Stuart Pettigrew stable, that powered his way to victory in the R2-million Daily News 2000 at Greyville in Durban on Saturday.
Only once out of the first two in his previous 10 starts and runner-up in the three legs of the Highveld Triple Crown, the game and honest colt boosted even further the outstanding season his pilot Gunter Wrogemann is enjoying and saluted the talent and perseverance of his conditioner.
Surcharge, coming from behind in another below par paced event won by three-quarters of a length from the Paul Peter-trained Majestic Mambo whose stable companion Alssakhara had been sent out to ensure a good pace and made the running ahead of Pack Leader and Warrior’s Rest that disputed the second place for most of the race.
When they hit the home straight, favourite Do It Again made his winning bid down the inside while Wrogemann “got a split” further out at the top of the straight and stormed down the centre of the track to take the honours.
Having ridden his 100th winner of the season earlier in the week – and one of the best seasons of his long career – Wrogemann commented that he felt for jockey Piere Strydom who had partnered the colt in most of his races and was sidelined with injury, but he felt blessed in the way racing had treated him this season. He said Surcharge had been unlucky in the three legs of the Triple Crown having had bad draws in all three.
Pettigrew, a long-time trainer on the Highveld, managed to hold his emotions in check as he praised the colt and said Surcharge was the best horse he had ever trained and ever would train.
Like the slow pace of the R1-million, Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 that had been run a short while earlier, the Daily News 2000 had not been run at a strong place in spite of the Paul Peter pacemaker getting on with things from the outset with the winning time of 124.31 secs being considerably slower than the class average of 122.72 sec and that will have been a concern for many racing pundits looking for a real star among the three-year-olds.
The Woolavington 2000 was run at an even slower pace with the Daisy Fillies Guineas winner Fiorella deliberately doddeling along at the head of affairs with Lady In Black in second place along the rail and odds-on favourite Oh Susanna fighting for her head in the early stages and one off the rail in third place. In the home straight Grant van Niekerk got the favourite to the head of affairs but under strong attack from Fiorella on her inside with Lady In Black challenging and, at one stage, looking dangerous on her outside.
With this race having been run at a crawl in a time of 125.29 secs, it was definitely not a true reflection of the true capability of Oh Susanna but there could be a re-think of the star filly’s programme for the rest of the season when taken in the overall context of the three-year-old performances at the meeting.
The R300 000, Grade 3 Lonsdale Strirrup Cup had the racegoers on the edge of their seats as the Justin Snaith stable companions, favourite Made To Conquer and Strathdon, burst clear of the field together from off the pace at the top of the straight and fought it out to the line with Made To Conquer getting the decision by about a long head and third-placed Mr Winsome some seven lengths back.
News from the Snaith stable is that Made To Conquer, at present not featuring on the July Log, will be a July contender while Strathdon will be aimed at the eLAN Gold Cup on Super Saturday at the end of the season.
By Richard McMillan
Woolavington 2000 Grade 1
Throughout the thoroughbred racing world and dating back to the early equine battles in the United Kingdom in the Derby and Guineas races – generally referred to as “the classics” – the quality of a region’s three-year-old horses has been the yardstick by which a country’s racehorse standard is measured.
This applies also in South Africa which today boasts a vibrant breeding industry from which many horses of world standard have emerged, many proving themselves against some of the best from leading world racing regions on the international stage.
In South Africa the three-year-olds compete in major level-weight races in all regions and in the regional “classic” events and other age-restricted races potential stars begin to emerge – many claiming bragging rights as the best of their age and looking to prove their status wherever they can.
But due to the vast travelling distances between the major racing regions it is really only at Greyville, the Theatre of Champions in Durban, early in Champion’s Season that the real contenders for the star three-year-old title can step up to the plate to claim it.
It is in the R2-million, Grade 1 Daily News 2000 and the filly’s equivalent, the R1-million, Grade 1 Woolavington 2000, that the real champions of their generation will emerge and many have, over the years, confirmed their status by going on to greater achievements in South Africa and overseas.
The race for the colts and geldings was first run in 1982 and donned the title of the Daily News 2000 four years later. In 2005 it became the Daily News 2200 when the distance was increased to match that of the country’s premier race, The Vodacom Durban July. It was later taken back to the original 2000m distance and has seen some of the best three-year-olds in action.
One remembers the diminutive Teal and the brilliant Dynasty – now one of the country’s most successful stallions – that each won the South African Guineas, Daily News 2000 and the July in 1999 and 2003 respectively while London News and Dancing Duel won the Daily News 2000 and the Vodacom Durban July.
The Woolavington 2000 is the toughest test for the fillies and while very few have gone on to feature strongly in races like the Vodacom Durban July few will never forget the flying finish produced by Ipi Tombe under Kevin Shea to win the blue ribbon event after having won the Woolavington a few weeks earlier.
Some other great fillies have won the race like Hoeberg, Promisefrommyheart and more recently Bele-Bela and on Saturday, June 2, the current class of young horses will take to the turf in search of the honours.
The field for the Daily News 2000 could include the likes of Undercover Agent, Cape Guineas runner-up White River and Surcharge that finished second in both the Gauteng Guineas and SA Classic. Selangor Cup winner Rocket Countdown is another potential contestant and, of course, the winner of both the Cape Classic and Cape Guineas, Tap O’ North.
It is likely, however, that all eyes will be on the fantastic Captain Al filly Snowdance if she takes her place in the Woolavington 2000. She has won four of her five races including the Western Cape Fillies Classic, the Cape Fillies Guineas and the Majorca Stakes and looks on course for an incredible career.
Her main challenger could be stable companion Oh Suzanna that finished second to Snowdance in the Cape Fillies Guineas before winning the Paddock Stakes and the Sun Met.
Daily News 2000 day promises truly great racing among the three-year-olds and with a very competitive field likely for the Grade 2 Independent On Saturday Drill Hall Stakes, Greyville is the place to be on June 2.
Lonsdale Stirrup Cup Grade 3