Anton Marcus has had the privileged of riding some of the best horses to race in this country over the past three decades but few have touched his heart more than Chantyman, a gelding that keeps winning in spite of his infirmities.
Arms wrapped around his mounts neck in a mighty hug spoke volumes after the Dennis Bosch-trained gelding had edged home in a tight finish to the Pinnacle Stakes at Hollywoodbets Scottsville yesterday.
Given his well-publicised breathing problems, it is something of a miracle that Chantyman managed his seventh win from 19 starts. “When he crossed the line, it sounded like he had emphysema,” related Marcus.
Giving weight to all in sticky, going Marcus had his mount motoring home all alone up the outside of his field and just when the commentator was calling him home the winner, stable companions Captains Girl and Winter Blues put in spirited challenges up the inside fence, but Chantyman kept running just long enough.
Tony Rivalland has mostly kept Wynkelder to sprints in his 22 previous starts but on occasion has stretched him further, notably the KZN Breeders Mile where he finished a close-up third to Morning Catch.
The odd distance of 1500m of the Fever Tree Handicap was just what the doctor ordered over a course where the gelding had recorded four of his five wins.
In a driving finish, Sean Veale extracted just that little bit extra to hold off a late-charging Noble Joshua with Born To Perform, who blew the start, running on nicely for third.
Born To Perform’s was possibly the best showing of the race in that he gave many lengths start at the top of the straight. A little more ground may now be what he’s is looking for.
The word was out early that Cool Runnings was the business in a well contested juvenile race and the money was on the mark as Dean Kannemeyer’s gelding duly obliged under stable rider Keagan de Melo. Approaching the last 200m there was a line of horses contesting the lead but once the penny dropped, Cool Runnings extended smartly to land the gamble comfortably.
Barbara Kennedy may have been looking on a little anxiously from the side lines after resigning her job as assistant to Kannemeyer to join forces with her brother Wayne Badenhorst with the Kannemeyer’s KZN string in full voice under Alistair Gordon’s ex assistant Nicolet Roscoe. Gordon handed in his trainer’s brief to take up a position with Bloodstock South Africa.
But the monkey was off her back yesterday as the brother and sister combination recorded their first winner together and then made it two for good measure.
Frankie Two Shoes, not always the easiest, finally got his act together with the blinkers back on as he raced away to an easy victory under apprentice Jason Gates.
It was a memorable race for the siblings but also for apprentice Jason Gates who notched his 60th win. His white jacket is a badge of honour but with it went his 1.5kg claim. Losing his claim is a milestone to be proud of but finding competitive rides will now become a lot more difficult.
Antigonus was always game when trained by Belinda Impey before she retired from training, and continued his good form under Badenhorst, winning his second race for the stable with Quick Star just not able to extract revenge for his defeat three runs back.
Louis Goosen has been relatively quiet since his move to Summerveld from Ashburton but things took a turn for the better yesterday. Captain’s Girl and Winter Blues almost pulled it off, “only you beat me,” he complimented Marcus as the latter puffed his way back to the weighing room.
Earlier Goosen had better fortune as Song Of The Forest scrapped home by a fast diminishing margin as Marcus loomed big on On The Double.
Billy Jacobson, who has signed up as Goosen’s stable jockey admitted “I was praying for the line.”
The combination of trainer and jockey is working well so far with Goosen commenting, “It is so much easier when you have a stable rider. You know exactly where you stand and you don’t have to go scratching for riders in the morning.”
By Andrew Harrison