Last season’s champion apprentice Luke Ferraris probably has ambitions of a career in Hong Kong where his father is one of the leading trainers. To date his two terms in the saddle as an apprentice have gone well and if he can keep reproducing rides like that on Abbey in the Soccer 6 FM 66 Apprentice Handicap at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday then he does have a future in what is probably the planet’s most competitive riding environment.
That said, Ferraris still has a lot to learn and he was taking on fellow apprentices yesterday. But his decision to take on the front runners before the home turn indicated a thorough understanding of pace and judgement and also correctly assessing what was under him.
Ferraris rolled Karen and Greg Anthony’s filly wide up the hill and before the penny dropped among his fellow apprentices, the bird had flown. Chatty Cathy was out of her ground at the top of the straight with only one behind her, but Julie Dittmer’s filly rattled home for second.
After Justaguything bolted up in the first, giving log-leading Warren Kennedy a welcome winner after taking a tumble at Turffontein last Saturday, Gavin van Zyl gave punters some insight into the result of the second, warning them that they ignore Cantata Choir’s current form at their peril.
It didn’t quite work out as the more race-ready Mr Minister gave Serino Moodley the first leg of his double. Cantata Choir was in full voice a furlong out, but her condition gave out the last bit as Mike Miller’s filly worn her down to win going away.
Favourite Hot Money behaved in the gate as if SARS had her number and blew her chances at the jump.
If Abbey’s form needed scrutiny, her supporters were buoyed by Sacred Ibis in the preceding race as Moodley sent Garth Puller’s filly for home early, a move that paid dividends as Guadeloupe came good over the extended trip and was shutting down the odds-on favourite with every stride.
Be Happy is a quick filly and ran the opposition off their feet in the fifth. With a strong tailwind helping them home, multiple champion jockey Mark Khan took full advantage to turn the tables on Noemi and a game Starlight.
It has taken apprentice Thabiso Gumede a little time to get his opportunities and he has doubled his tally of winners in the space of a few days. A winner for Paul Peter on Saturday, he added Mokoko to his list as he kept Paul Lafferty’s gelding hard to his task in the sixth although fellow apprentice Gabriel Pieterse, hunting his first winner, had a difficult time on second-placed Bedazzled Joker who was looking to run in under pressure.
Lowan Denysschen’s string are looking a million dollars at his Ashburton base and apprentice Jason Gates has struck up a good relationship with the mare Eternal Words. There was a glitch in her form when pulling up lame last time out, but there were no mistakes yesterday as Gates got her home ahead of a late-charging Liquid Irish.
There is not an apprentice more confident in his abilities than the talented Gates although the stipes will have taken a dim view of his whip-waving before the line. In his relatively short career, he has copped more suspensions than most have traffic fines.
By Andrew Harrison