Head Honcho serves Met notice

PUBLISHED: 16 October 2019

Head Honcho (Nkosi Hlophe)

Head Honcho served notice that he is again going to be a force to reckon with in the Cape summer season by smashing the 1 800m course record on his reappearance in the Tab Telebet Pinnacle at Durbanville yesterday – and Andre Nel promptly raised the intriguing possibility that Aldo Domeyer could fly back from Hong Kong to ride him in the Sun Met.

Sabine Plattner’s homebred, third in last season’s Met, looked a bit big and burly – understandably so as this was his first run since it all went pear-shaped in the Vodacom Durban July – but his keenness going to post looked decidedly ominous.

Richard Fourie, though, had no problem anchoring him in front and, when S’Manga Khumalo on stable companion Capoeira joined him in the straight, the 14-10 favourite stretched like a good’un to win by a length and a quarter in a time of 1 min 47.34 sec.

Head Honcho (Nkosi Hlophe)
Head Honcho (Nkosi Hlophe)

Fourie was impressed, saying: “He ran a good race. He has the most amazing high cruising speed and he was in such a comfortable place. When Capoeira joined him he really wanted to fight.”

Nel added: “This was what I had hoped for. I know he got get tired towards the end but this is the way he likes to race. We are aiming for the Met again and I will now try to find another pinnacle. Then it will be either the Premier or the Peninsula Handicap, more than likely the Premier which he won last season.

“As regards a jockey I would like it to be Richard but obviously that can’t be – but it might be Aldo.”

The runner-up more than fulfilled his trainer’s prediction in this column yesterday that this is a horse worth watching and Nel added that the clearly improving four-year-old has Met potential. So too does Tap O’Noth who, running for the first time since last season’s race, ran on strongly up the straight to take third. “This was a good run. He is a different horse since being gelded,” enthused rider M.J. Byleveld.

Candice Bass-Robinson ended a nightmare 77-runner losing streak when 17-4 shot Mr Cobbs came away under Anthony Andrews in the final furlong of the Play Soccer Maiden – and she was given a relieved cheer by those connected with her stable when she mounted the steps to be interviewed by Grant Knowles on Tellytrack.

It was her first winner since Three Two Charlie landed the Sophomore Sprint here on September 7 and she had had a second at each of the intervening seven meetings.

“It has been a bit frustrating,” she said with masterly understatement. “But quite a few of the horses had the stack leg virus and a lot were having comeback runs. Hopefully it will all be fine again when we get back to Kenilworth.”

Paul Reeves, on the mark with Skidoo in the Tabonline.co.za Handicap, admits to a feeling of frustration with his plan to run his    Sweet Chestnut and Stormsvlei Mile winner Helen’s Ideal in the Victress Stakes in December. “I need a prep run but there isn’t anything suitable,” he said. “There is a meeting of the committee next week and hopefully they will see fit to put on a fillies conditions race.”

Glen Kotzen scored with the first horse he has trained for Ridgemont when Morne Winnaar got 22-1 shot My Winning Ways home in the first. So far the Querari filly is the only one he has to race in the celebrated dark green and blue but he is certainly going about the right way to secure more.

The Woodhill trainer and Winnaar went on to complete a treble with Hexatonic and Dynastic Light.

By Michael Clower