Guru’s Pride, an 18-1 chance on the books, was not the best result for the card opener at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday but gelding, a change of stables and a lengthy break obviously did Gavin van Zyl’s runner the world of good.
Favourite Glitter And Gold scooted out of the pack at the top of the straight and looked a certain winner before Warren Kennedy produced a telling late run on Guru’s Pride who rattled home from last on the outside fence to win as he liked. He looks to be a horse to follow after that performance.
Wendy Whitehead and Anton Marcus do not team up often but Chattertons Keeper, also gelded after a smart barrier trial and an eye-catching debut, was never under threat in the second. Marcus had his mount perfectly placed at the top of the straight and the gelding sped away to win comfortably giving Valarie Naidoo her first winner in her colours.
Debutante Ralph The Rascal found some inspired market support on course but was never a threat to the winner although well clear of the rest and is a horse for the notebook.
Dennis Drier is enjoying the fruits of his annual Cape Town sojourn but has a more than capable assistant in Stuart Ferrie who saddled short-priced favourite Ice Imperial to a bloodless victory in the third. Sean Veale wasted no time in setting his filly alight at the top of the straight and she coasted home more than three lengths clear of the opposition.
Owner Geoff Perkins has shares in a myriad of horses with various trainers and is a staunch supporter of the Whitehead yard and racing in general. He had a share in Chatterons Keeper and was further rewarded as Sweet Empress out-gunned favourite American Princess, fittingly racing in his colours.
Craig Zackey rode a tremendous race, hunting a split just off the rail as the field swung for home and getting first run on favourite American Princess who chased home with a wet sail but the albatross had flown.
Alphonse Baby, runner-up at her last two and in the Perkins colours, had to play second fiddle again and deny Perkins a third winner in the last as favourite Flaming Lass took command a long way out under as Serino Moodley, who is fast making a name for himself, sent Garth Puller’s runner for home a long way out.
Roy’s Physco has probably taken umbrage to the miss-spelling of his name, letting his supporters down once again as Dutch Alley motored home for Dean Kannemeyer in the fourth. Rocket Fire, keen from the jump and taking the lead, kept plugging away up the straight and although not able to hold the finishing burst from Dutch Alley, kept firing to keep Roy’s Physco at bay and hold onto second.
Vase, a duck egg and nine out for nine back in November last year, put that all behind her as Andre Nel’s mare took advantage of a drop in class and defied top weight to keep the two-year-younger Ode at bay, in spite of apprentice Thabiso Gumede’s 4kg claim in the sixth.
Apprentice Jason Gates, out with an elbow injury for much of the past month, got his New Year back on track as he punched home Bedazzled Joker for Alyson Wright in a desperate finish, just getting the better of Captain Cobalt and Mutawaary in a blanket finish to the seventh.
By Andrew Harrison