Seventh on the national log with 91 winners to his credit before yesterday’s Greyville meeting, Warren Kennedy took full advantage of two chance rides to ease his way three closer to the top of the standings, one behind Richard Fourie, with a treble.
Season rider Mark Khan took a tumble from third-pleaded Noble Beat shortly after the finish of the first and was carted off to hospital with a suspected hip injury.
This left the way open for the first of Kennedy’s winners as he produced Kom Naidoo’s filly Call Me Tonight with a telling run up the inside to get the better of Allez Les Bleu and favourite Hey Jude.
Anton Marcus also cried off his rides for the day and Kennedy proved to be a more than capable replacement as he steered Heart Of A Legend to a convincing win in the fourth at the expense of Petra who got going late but never a threat to the winner.
The lightly raced Vase, a comfortable winner of her maiden on her KZN debut, was never able to get in from a wide draw when making her handicap debut behind Beat It, but Gareth Wright make no mistakes from his better gate yesterday to get Andre Nel’s filly home ahead of the lightly weighted Noemi.
Apprentice Luke Ferraris looked to have pinched a winning margin on March Preview, a comfortable winner of his last start, but Kennedy had him in his sights from a long way out on Gavin van Zyl’s Pantsula. The addition of blinkers can have an instant effect in improving a horse’s performance but horses can also go ‘sour’ and with the ‘scoops’ removed Pantsula had made marked improvement and was rewarded here. Kennedy pounced a furlong out and March Preview had no answers to Pantsula’s telling challenge.
Ferraris was on the wrong end of another photo in the sixth as Apple Magic lost out in a driving finish with Keagan de Melo extracting just that little bit extra out of the favourite Orient Queen.
The pair hooked up at the top of the straight with Dean Kannemeyer’s filly pulling out just that little bit more when it counted.
Mark Khan missed out on a double as Eric Ngwane, recently out of his apprenticeship, produced Lady Abigail with a perfectly timed run to win the seventh in a carbon copy of Khan’s victory aboard Lezeanne Forbes’s filly when landing an inspired gamble at the filly’s previous start. Apprentice Jason Gates was bidding for a third success on the bounce aboard Wayne Badenhorst’s Imperial Royal as he took them on up front, but Ngwane’s patient tactics pay dividends and he ran down the pacemaker when it counted.
Josephine Baker has been costly to follow but a sweeping late run when just out of the money and only a length behind at her last start may have been the key to her success yesterday. De Melo produced Dean Kannemeyer’s filly with a telling late run to snaffle the race inside the last 50m, five of the opposition covered by a blanket a neck back in a handicapper’s dream.
Barinois has such an awkward high head carriage in work that it seems impossible that she can run but she won her third race for Duncan Howells and owners Ricky and Thora Nidd as Muzi Yeni gave her a peach of a ride in the last. Drawn wide, Yeni hunted a gap in the straight and drove the mare through to win smartly.
By Andrew Harrison