Aldo Domeyer, having delighted his growing army of followers with a heavily supported double at Kenilworth on Saturday, returns there tomorrow but sadly that is all we are going to see of him for another year.
“I’m only back here for a fortnight – really just to say hello – and then I must resume riding work in Hong Kong,” he explains.
Such is the Cape champion’s reputation after doing so well in his new base that all but one of his six mounts on Saturday started either favourite or joint favourite. “He has come back twice the jockey,” said an impressed Chris Snaith who has legged up more world class riders over the years than most of us have had holidays.
The most immediately noticeable difference in the new Domeyer is that he is now race-riding from the off. No more just slotting into a position where he and his horse feel comfortable and leaving the tactics until the straight. He now works out beforehand where his mount should be and, without unnecessarily using up the horse’s energy, makes sure he is there.
Sacred Arrow in the Pinnacle was a case in point. “He went down to the start really well but I felt it was imperative to switch him off – he probably wouldn’t find a kick if I allowed him to run free.”
The relentless driving of old is still there, and still with all the inevitability of a metronome, and Sacred Arrow duly got up to justify Candice Bass-Robinson’s selection – “Aldo asked me to give him one decent ride and I thought this was my best runner of the day.”
Honey Pie, Domeyer’s other winner, was for Justin Snaith and won by a staggering six lengths. Go Jewel, ridden by Robert Khathi, initiated a stable double half an hour earlier.
Getting the better of Domeyer in a close finish has never been easy, doubly so now, yet Anthony Andrews managed to do so on the Mike Stewart-trained top weight Icon Princess in the 1 200m handicap despite dropping his rein. “I didn’t have time to pick it up. If I’d taken a stride or two to gather up the rein I would have lost the race.”
Andrews also won the Tabonline.co.za Maiden Juvenile on Call Me Al, the first winner Mike Robinson has trained for nuclear physicist Steph Steyn and his family.
It was red-letter day for Tyrell Maharaj,19, who rode his first winner when making all on the Paul Reeves-trained Moon Rock in the 1 200m handicap. Remarkably the four-year-old won despite drifting across to the outside in the last two furlongs. Penetrometer readings indicate that the ground was significantly slower here than on the inside.
Binoche, named by owner-breeders Craig and Michelle Davis after the French actress Juliette Binoche of The English Patient fame, did them all proud by scoring at the first attempt for Vaughan Marshall and Ossie Noach in the last.
Mncedi Sigenu, universally known as Godfrey, is not a name that springs to mind in work riders’ races but perhaps it should be. He has only had three rides this season but he has won on two of them and seven-length scorer Outoftheordinary was his second success for the Bass-Robinson stable.
By Michael Clower