Rainbow Bridge raring to go
PUBLISHED: January 28, 2020
Big race jockey Ryan Moore is globe-trotting at present and Sands was not sure whether he would arrive in time to sit on Rainbow Bridge before Saturday…
Eric Sands is very happy with the well-being of the defending Sun Met champion Rainbow Bridge in the week of the big race.
Some of the five-year-old Ideal World gelding’s fans have been concerned about the hard race he had in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate but Sands said, “He got caught in the front with Hawwaam and they were fighting head to head for about three furlongs so it was a great effort for him to still stay on for third. So we had to ease back on him a little after the race, but he has now come well, I am very happy with him.”
Big race jockey Ryan Moore is globe-trotting at present and Sands was not sure whether he would arrive in time to sit on Rainbow Bridge before Saturday.
Moore was in Florida last Saturday to ride in the Pegasus World Cup, where he finished second on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Magic Wand, he then finished second yesterday on the KW Lui-trained More Than This in the Hong Kong Classic Mile at Sha Tin’s big Chinese New Year meeting, and today he will be riding work in Saudi Arabia ahead of the US$20 Million Saudi Cup on February 29.
Sands believes there will be a fair pace in the Met.
He identified Twist Of Fate as a horse who had run his best races when going strongly up with the pace and mentioned Head Honcho as another who liked to be right up there.
He added, “We are drawn outside of both of them too.”
He said he could not see either of those horses setting a very fast pace but felt there would at least be an honest pace.
Rainbow Bridge has a fine draw of five and Twist Of fate and Head Honcho are drawn three and four respectively.
Sands clinched his first Met victory last year.
His previous best in Cape Town’s biggest race had been second with Grand Jete in 2002.
Sands only has one other runner on the day, Black Belt in the last race.
He said about this hard-knocking Black Minnaloushe gelding, “He is a five-year-old so is not improving but is very honest and it is not a killer field. In fact I think the field he ran in the other day was stronger and he is doing well.”
By David Thiselton
Direct exports expected for Europe
PUBLISHED: January 28, 2020
“Audits in any sector seldom return flawless results and nobody ever gets a 100% clear report. There will be additional recommendations from the EU team…
Adrian Todd now expects South Africa to be able to export horses direct to Europe – without having to go via Mauritius – in either September or October.
This follows the official confirmation from the European Union that its bloodstock protocol audit will take place between April 20 and May 1.
Todd, managing director of SA Equine Health & Protocols, said yesterday: “Audits in any sector seldom return flawless results and nobody ever gets a 100% clear report. There will be additional recommendations from the EU team after the audit; they will send a report and we will implement what they suggest but I am confident that the audit will be successful and I would expect that, once any additional recommendations have been implemented, we should be looking at the reinstatement of direct exports to the EU by September/October.”
By Michael Clower
De Kock pleased with Hawwaam’s draw
PUBLISHED: January 28, 2020
De Kock said about the draw, “At least from draw 12 Anton Marcus will not have to think about getting away from the rail, he will already be away from it…
Mike de Kock is very happy with the condition of Hawwaam ahead of Saturday’s Sun Met and is actually pleased he is drawn wide, although he described the betting for both the Met and the Grade 1 Bidvest Majorca Stakes as “ridiculous”.
De Kock said about the draw, “At least from draw 12 Anton Marcus will not have to think about getting away from the rail, he will already be away from it. He was obsessed about getting away from the rail in the Queen’s Plate, I struggle to think why when you are in the perfect position to take the shortest way home, but this time he won’t have to do all that thinking.”
Hawwaam over-raced in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate when caught in a head to head fight with Rainbow Bridge for about three furlongs, so many were of the opinion he had a hard race.
However, De Kock disagreed and said, “I am not convinced he had a hard race. Once his chances were ruined and it became obvious he was not going to place he made no effort in the finish.”
He concluded, “He has had a good prep, I couldn’t be happier with him.”
The Met has the known front-runner Head Honcho in the line up and there are others like Undercover Agent who like to get on with it.
De Kock predicted the race would be run at a “good, even tempo”.
Hawwaam is the ruling favourite at roundabout 18/10 while the Queen’s Plate and Green Point Stakes winner Vardy is only second favourite at 28/10.
De Kock said, “The Met betting is absolutely ridiculous. Even if things had gone better in the Queen’s Plate Vardy would have been very difficult to beat. When is Vardy going to be given the credit he is due? He is an absolute champion. I just don’t understand it but I think it is because of all this hype from people who seem to have no idea about form.”
De Kock is also bewildered by the betting for the Majorca, a weight for age mile for fillies and mares.
Whilst agreeing Queen Supreme is looking to be a very good filly he said, “She doesn’t have nearly the formlines of Celtic Sea. Celtic Sea is a a multiple Grade 1 winner and the champion of her generation, yet the betting has Queen Supreme at around even money and Celtic Sea at about 7/2. There is no logic in that.”
Queen Supreme has won five of her seven starts including an easy 2,50 length victory in the Grade 1 Paddock Stakes over 1800m last time, which followed an excellent 1,60 length fourth in the Grade 1 Gauteng Summer Cup. The Exceed And Excel filly is Irish-bred and although officially a four-year-old she has not yet turned four in actual terms, so she will be improving all the time. She gets a half-a-kilogram hemisphere allowance.
De Kock said, “She has had a very good prep. She stayed down in the Cape after the race and has blossomed. As time goes on she will get better and better as she is not even physically four yet.”
Queen Supreme is drawn nine compared to Celtic Sea’s eight.
De Kock has three horses in the CTS 1200, Vaseem, Battleoftrafalgar and Alramz.
His regular first call jockey Callan Murray is on Vaseem.
De Kock said, “Vaseem is probably the best sprinter of the three. Battleoftrafalgar had an abscess on the epiglottis after winning the Million Mile so missed a fair bit of work but he is getting there, although the Million Mile form looks ordinary. Alramz has done nothing wrong and has been better in blinkers.
The yard’s other runner on the day is Atyaab in the Grade 2 New Turf Carriers Western Cape Stayers over 2800m where he is second favourite at around 11/2.
De Kock said he was well and added, “He is exposed, what you see is what you get with him.”
The Australian-bred Dundeel gelding carries second topweight of 59,5kg and jumps from draw six under Murray.
By David Thiselton
Team Snaith going to have a big one
PUBLISHED: January 28, 2020
“If I had to pick a horse for the day I think Kasimir is a huge runner in the Cape Flying Championship,” he told this writer. “He needed his first run back.
“Punters, follow the Snaith team on Sun Met day. I think we have our horses right at the right time, and I think we are going to have a big one.”
Justin Snaith’s interview with Grant Knowles could be heard all over the grandstand at Kenilworth on Saturday and, whether by accident or design, the volume was turned up to maximum – even on the escalators – as the Met day maestro made his bold prediction for Saturday.
With a staggering R18 million Pick Six up for grabs many punters will be turning to Snaith for their first choice selections – and with good reason. Over the past eight years his average Met day winner haul is better than four and only once during that time has he sunk below three.
“If I had to pick a horse for the day I think Kasimir is a huge runner in the Cape Flying Championship,” he told this writer. “He needed his first run back but he is doing very well and the only one in the race that I’m worried about is Run Fox Run. She hasn’t beaten much [compared with Kasimir] and this is a bigger test for her but she is the unknown.”
For a long time the Met was Snaith’s bogey race and, while he finally won it with Oh Susanna two years ago, hot favourite Do It Again was beaten 12 months ago and his well-documented post-Queen’s Plate setback has threatened to make it go pear-shaped again.
What punters are openly doubting is whether the horse can turn it on in his dual Vodacom Durban July-winning style after having an interrupted preparation. “There hasn’t been much interruption,” says his trainer who believes some members of the media (including this one) have made too much of the horse being under the weather.
“I wouldn’t say under the weather either,” Snaith responds. “It’s just that he hasn’t been at his best. It was too long between his July win and his season starting. He had become a quiet horse – too much boring work up and down the tracks in heavy sand.
“Also that 20 minute delay at the start of the Queen’s Plate didn’t help with a horse who had not been doing as well as I’d hoped because he was already at the limit of his wellbeing. He has improved a lot since. I don’t want to say too much as to why at this stage because I feel that, with the changes I have made, he has to go and run well first for me to be able to say what might have been wrong – whether it was a slight biliary, whether it was a track issue or what. We have had problems in Philippi with the tracks, tractors breaking down etc.”
The extra two furlongs on Saturday will presumably suit him a lot better? “Without a doubt and, in any case, just look at the distance he was beaten in the Queen’s Plate (just over four lengths). It’s not like he ran ten lengths back. I’m only looking for a small bit of improvement.”
Lastly, does he still think 50-1 shot Bunker Hunt is the dark horse of the race, bearing in mind that Bernard Fayd’Herbe’s mount is rated between five and seven kilos inferior to the big guns? “That is against him, I agree, and probably it could cost him winning but I do think that not running on Queen’s Plate day is a huge advantage for him.”
By Michael Clower
Vaal Tuesday Tips and Race Previews
PUBLISHED: January 28, 2020
Vaal Tuesday January 28 Tips and Race Previews by David Thiselton…
Vaal Tuesday Tips and Race Previews by David Thiselton
Preview: VARINA (11) was backed on debut and went close despite being bumped at the start. WINTERS POWER (13) has run two good races over this trip and is the main danger. ELUSIVE WOMAN (3) made a good debut at long odds and can improve. SULTAN’S DAUGHTER (9) has run two fair races and considering she found some support on debut he can improve. MATILDAROCKBOTTOM (5) wasn’t disgraced on debut and can improve. (David Thiselton 11-13-3-9-5)
Preview: FIRE AND ICE (3), a half-brother to Grade 1 Cape Fillies Guineas winner Missisippi Burning, was beaten virtually the same distance by War Room as Karnallie was but ran at level weights instead of receiving 3kg so on paper he has the beating of the latter. KARNALLIE (5) made a good debut behind War Room and should improve. PORTICO (10) was a touch unlucky when going close second time out and on jockey bookings is the stable elect. MASTER OF DISGUISE (7) made a good debut and will also be a threat. STORMY SEAS (11) made a fair debut before being well beaten by War Room at level weights second time out where he was five lengths behind Fire And Ice. (David Thiselton 10-5-3-7-11)
Preview: WINGS OF HONOUR (4) has been knocking on the door and has been lowered two more points by the handicapper so looks ready to win. MOGGIE BROWN (1) is only off a mark two points higher than her last winning mark and she has won with this rider aboard before. PHILLYDELPHIA (11) is always thereabouts and remains competitively handicapped. MISS BOOMERANG (12) was prominent as a juvenile and her recent win at the lesser centre of Flamingo Park might have boosted her confidence. MIDNIGHT TOP (2) was beaten 1,1 lengths by Wings Of Honour last time and is now 1kg worse off. (David Thiselton 4-1-11-12-2)
Preview: DOUBLE ‘O’ EIGHT (4) has class and a plum draw and this is an easier task than she has had recently. IN CAHOOTS (8) has always had a touch of class and has a plum draw so should be running on. TOPMAST (7) beat Grade 1 winner Eden Roc over this trip last time and with a repeat off a four point higher mark he should go close again from a fair draw. STATE TROOPER (2) is unbeaten in two starts over course and distance but has a wide draw. WHORLY WHORLY (1) returns from a 230 day layoff and can run on into the money with a 2,5kg claimer up. (David Thiselton 4-8-7-2-1)
Preview: CROWN GUARDIAN (3) beaten only 1,60 lengths the last time he wore blinkers and now over the same trip and from a fair draw he is six points lower in the merit ratings so has a shout over a course and distance where he has one second from one start . IRREVOCABLE DREAM (10) has dropped to a competitive mark. ALEX THE GREAT (11) has a tough draw but Warren Kennedy is an interesting booking off a lowered merit rating and in a step up to a trip he has won over before. BOCKSCAR (1) is unreliable but is capable of a strong finish and he goes well for Lerena. TRUE WORDS (7) could be a threat over this step down in trip if able to overcome a high draw. (David Thiselton 3-10-11-1-7)
Preview: VALETORIO (4) received a six point raise for finishing fifth in the Three Troikas but the form of the winner Ikigai is very strong. SEVEN PATRIOTS (9) sneaks into the handicap with the minimum weight after being awarded a reasonable 82 merit rating for an easy win over this trip in his fourth start. MARSHALL FOCH (5) went close over this trip last time and Kennedy stays aboard from a good draw albeit off a one point higher mark. NORLAND (8) is in good form and off a mark two points higher than his last win he is drawn in pole. MR GREENLIGHT (3) has some class and could be sparked by blinkers. (David Thiselton 4-9-5-8-3)
Preview: HAWTHORN (9) has had excuses in her last two and now drops back to the trip of her only win albeit from a tricky draw. PLUM FIELD (4) is capable of running on well and is well drawn. MAGIC MILA (1) won comfortably in her second try at this trip at Turffontein Standside despite hanging out badly and she is now drawn in pole off a reasonable merit rating but does have to carry 62kg under Warren Kennedy. PASSION PEACH (11) is capable of a strong finish and the wide draw over a suitable trip should not be a concern as she comes from off the pace. TAHITIAN ORANA (3) has some good recent form and has won over this trip, although blinkers on for the first time from a wide draw is always a concern. (David Thiselton 9-4-1-11-3)
Preview: IDEAL WOLFF (11) made a good debut and has Lerena on from a good draw over a step up in trip he should relish. IDEAL DAY (1) is a typically improving gelding by Ideal World and runs from pole for a very much in form yard and jockey. CRAZY CHARLIE (5) is always thereabouts and is distance suited. (David Thiselton 11-1-5)