Head Honcho returns in Stakes

PUBLISHED: 14 May 2019

Head Honcho (Candiese Marnewick)

Head Honcho will have his first race since his third to Rainbow Bridge and Do It Again in the Sun Met in the mile pinnacle at Greyville on Saturday.

Andre Nel said yesterday: “He has been at Summerveld for the past two months and he is doing pretty well. He is not quite at full race sharpness but he is going to run a good race. I am hoping he will be able to go straight into the July after this but we will see how Saturday goes and then decide.”

Keagan de Melo, who has a good record on the five-year-old, again has the mount. Head Honcho, winner of six of his last eight starts, is a 20-1 chance for the Vodacom Durban July.

Joey Ramsden returned from a week’s prospecting in Singapore yesterday but without having made a final decision on whether his future lies there.

He said: “We met with everyone and we got to see everything and we now have an idea of the enormity of the task that lies ahead should we go. But we haven’t made up our minds yet and I have many things to think about including the children.”

Head Honcho (Candiese Marnewick)
Head Honcho (Candiese Marnewick)

However he was taken aback to find that the two-year-old fillies race at Kenilworth on Saturday had failed to fill and that the colts’ race has attracted a field of only six – “Two of them are mine and I only have 30 horses in training in Cape Town at the moment. I thought it a sad greeting.”

Clouds Unfold has met with a setback and will miss the rest of the Natal season. Candice Bass-Robinson reported yesterday that the Sceptre and Majorca winner has injured herself, adding: “We will give her the time she needs – her wellbeing is paramount – and I am sure she will be back for the summer season.”

Stable companion Dutch Philip, who returned to form to take second to Clouds Unfold in the 1 000m pinnacle at Kenilworth nine days ago, goes for the Tsogo Sun Sprint at Scottsville on May 25.

In other Bass-Robinson news Drama Queen is being aimed at the Irridescence on June 29 after she was caught on the line by the talented Amy Johnson in the Perfect Promise, with her trainer saying: “It was only the penalty that beat her but she wants a lot further.”

Sailing Ship started favourite but dropped away in the final furlong – “We couldn’t find anything wrong but she over-raced early.”  

Brett Crawford has decided against sending recent Somerset 1200 winner Armando to Scottsville for the Gold Medallion after discussing plans with the colt’s future trainer Tony Millard. Instead the dual winner will run in the Cape Of Good Hope Nursery on June 8.

Anthony Andrews has the unenviable distinction of being the first jockey in Cape Town to be penalised under the new guideline forbidding hitting a horse more than 12 times in the course of a race. Andrews is rarely a whip offender but he was fined R750 for the offence on Photocopy at Durbanville on Sunday.

The stipes report for that day contains the new guideline and specifically states that the 12-strike limit excludes slaps down the shoulder. This is the opposite of what I was told by the Kenilworth stipes when I was preparing last Wednesday’s whip article.

Hopefully racing control executive Arnold Hyde will do what he suggested in the Alistair Cohen Tellytrack interview and lower the limit during the course of this year. The very idea of hitting a horse 12 times in a race will have the animal rights people up in arms and does little for racing’s image in the eyes of the general public.

By Michael Clower