Marinaresco steps up to two miles on Saturday when the 2017 Vodacom Durban July winner tackles the Dubai Gold Cup and regular rider Bernard Fayd’Herbe is expecting a big run.
He said: “It’s his first time over the trip and he is obviously taking on the best but he is fit and doing really well. We are expecting him to run a game race and if we run in the money we will be very happy – but we will take the win!”
The six-year-old has, somewhat understandably, taken time to find his form after extensive travel and quarantine following his last South African run when third in the 2018 Sun Met. He has had three runs at Meydan, all in Group 2 races – finishing an always rear ninth of 13, fifth of nine when weakening in final furlong and a sixth of ten nearest at finish – but his jockey’s enthusiasm bodes well.
Fayd’Herbe was in double form on his brief return home to ride at Durbanville on Saturday when he won the last for Mike Stewart on Dave Curran’s Icon Princess and steered four-year-old Ancestry to victory for the first time since the horse’s heady juvenile days when he came within little more than half a length of wining both the Premiers Champion and the Durban Golden Horseshoe.
A delighted Joey Ramsden said: “Ancestry is a hard horse to ride. He just drops the bit and he has been doing that ever since he came back from Durban as a two-year-old. Running him over a mile and a half here was a last resort.”
Saturday was a red-letter day for the able Sandile Mbhele who rode his 40th winner on Miss Plumcake (backed from 8-1 to 10-30) and reduced his claim to 1.5kg. “I think there is plenty more to come from this kid – he is a natural,” commented Stan Elley who knows talent when he sees it.
This was the second leg of a double for Marinaresco’s former trainer Candice Bass-Robinson who was also on the mark with the Aldo Domeyer-ridden Naturalist in the first and whose initial Durban contingent arrived at Summerveld on Friday. They include Santa Clara and What A Summer while Clouds Unfold is among those still to travel.
Sorry to relate, Je Ne Sais Quoi cost favourite backers dear for the fourth successive race. Morne Winnaar had her well away in the Tellytrack.com Maiden but she got shuffled back into the rear of mid-division and, while she quickened well when the tap was turned on, the 21-10 shot couldn’t match 9-1 chance Big Suze and was beaten an expensive fifth of a length.
“It was a slow-run race and that didn’t suit her,” Winnaar reported. “She then took time to get going but, if it had been a true-run race, I would have won.”
Big Suze’s Brett Crawford-Corne Orffer combination were also on the mark with Middle Word 35 minutes earlier whereas the Justin Snaith-Richard Fourie team had to be content with just one, Spirit Festival, and that was a tense affair for the man in the irons – “As we jumped out of the gates my saddle slipped backwards. I thought ‘I’ve got to be cautious, sit tight and just look pretty.’”
MJ Byleveld attracted plenty of favourable comment for his handling of Kenny Trix in the Interbet.co.za Handicap. Intriguingly Jane Truter revealed that the Vaughan Marshall-trained five-year-old was named after her husband but he was more impressed with the way the horse had regained his form after being off for nearly 18 months through injury – “To be honest, I didn’t think he would make it back.”
By Michael Clower