With a yard seemingly over-flowing with quality bloodstock, Paul Peter is the envy of many a battling colleague. That said, Peter has worked his way up the ranks and now must look further afield for opportunities for his charges on a crowded Highveld programme that does not have a synthetic track.
Peter’s runners are now becoming regulars on KZN tracks but he only has a single participant on the poly at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday.
There are more than just a few Manchester United supporters in the province and Theatre Of Dreams, trained by one of the country’s best, ridden by one of the country’s best in Anton Marcus, poses something of a conundrum for United, and in deed, Theatre Of Dreams supporters.
Log-leading jockey Warren Kennedy is Peter’s go-to man on the Highveld where the combination has tremendous success but in KZN, Kennedy is closely aligned with the Gavin van Zyl yard.
“Trainer’s are the ones that usually fire jockeys but I’m worried that Warren will fire me,” quipped Van Zyl after they had teamed up for another winner at Hollywoodbets Scottsville recently.
Kennedy was aboard Theatre Of Dreams when well supported in her recent Vaal start but switches to the Van Zyl-trained Al Jazeera.
Kennedy has ridden the filly in all of her last five starts and knows her well. Not the easiest, she was tried in pacifiers for a spell and her form held good, but ear-muffs may have been the right piece of equipment as she finished a close-up second to the hot favourite Themba on the Greyville turf last time out from a difficult draw.
Al Jazeera has again pulled a tricky gate at 12 while Theatre Of Dreams jumps from barrier three which could on summation be the difference between the two and hopefully she fares better than the mis-firing Red Devils.
This pair may dominate but Chase Maujean, a rare visitor to KZN these days, is down to ride for Johan Janse van Vuuren so Maldives could prove a threat and he also partners Van Vuuren’s runner Gentleman’s Wager in the seventh, his only two rides on the card.
The key to most exotics is finding a reliable banker, two or more if you can, in order to cut down on expenses.
Two stand out on Sunday in the form of Jackson Wells in the fourth and Captive Gold two races later, in the sixth.
Jackson Wells takes to the poly for the first time but has put in two cracking performance since ‘winning’ her barrier trial.
Mark Dixon legs up Keagan de Melo, a regular for the Dixon yard, who partnered the filly on debut. Dixon has tossed a bone to Marcus who partners Blanchetta for the stable, the filly finishing a distant fourth when stretched to a mile last time out.
Should Jackson Wells fail to run up to expectations, it may be prudent to back up with as many as finances one can afford as the balance of the field look evenly matched.
A safer option could be Captive Gold. Like Jackson Wells, she makes her poly debut but Duncan Howells has brought her along to where she should be at boiling point come Sunday. Apprentice Thabiso Gumede has been replaced in the saddle by Marcus and given the quality of the opposition there should not be any mistakes.
By Andrew Harrison