Head Honcho serves Met notice
PUBLISHED: October 16, 2019
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…
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.
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
Royal Kitty beware the ‘Queen’
PUBLISHED: October 16, 2019
A possible upset could come in the form of Queen Of Beauty. Dean Kannemeyer’s stable has come good after all the compulsory vaccinations…
Royal Kitty should provide punters with a solid exotic bet banker in the seventh on the Hollywoodbets Greyville poly today. Alyson Wright’s filly takes on a modest maiden field and given the exposed form of her nine rivals, defeat would come as a shock.
Bookmakers concur with Track & Ball offering 4-10 about the favourite in the ante-post market.
A possible upset could come in the form of Queen Of Beauty. Dean Kannemeyer’s stable has come good after all the compulsory vaccinations and although the Argentinian-import made no show on her sprint debut, she was not far behind in her barrier trial. She is certain to be more effective over today’s 1600m trip and could give the short-priced favourite a run for her money.
Escape Club has been a touch disappointing since returning from a lengthy break. She had smart form before the lay-off but is now showing signs of a return to her best although Dennis Drier has resorted to blinkers and a tongue-tie when she lines up in a competitive handicap, sixth on the card. Form guide Computaform have marked all nine runners with a cross in the Greyville Convention Centre Handicap which is an indication of what punters are up against but from a good draw and having her third run after the break, Escape Club may be worth one more chance.
Philae has had to play second fiddle to both Connect Me and Komeshans Flight at her last two starts, both in opposition again today, and looks an obvious threat.
Garth Puller is currently the leading trainer in KZN at present and he saddles Noemi in the fifth. The Durban View Restaurant Handicap is another tricky affair where Noemi takes a jump in class. This has been compensated by apprentice Yuzae Ramzan’s 4kg claim and Noemi will only shoulder 49kg over this five-furlong dash.
But there are a few other serious contenders in the race. Top weight Candy Galore put in one of her best performances when switched to the poly at her penultimate start, running the promising Travelling Light to within a length. She has drawn poly and apprentice Khanya Sakayi takes 1.5kg off of her back.
Coyote Girl, a winner last Sunday, got a 2kg penalty for that effort which will make Keagan de Melo’s life a little easier as he was carded to put up 0.5kg overweight. Coyote Girl will now shoulder 56kg but she has still found some early market support.
Sakayi and Ramzan’s academy colleague Gabriel Pieterse is still hunting his first winner but has gone close aboard Glen Kotzen’s mare Queen Of Alamo, touched off by Wildly In Love two runs back.
Queen Of Alamo has some fair form in stronger company of late and Pieterse may be able to celebrate come 2.30pm this afternoon.
Drunken Sailor and Williams Land will have their supporters in the opening leg of the PA in spite of both going the extra furlong for the first time. Drunken Sailor has the more exposed form but Williams Land took to the poly in his KZN debut and romped home in his maiden. With only 52.5kg on his back he will be a big runner.
Kingston Rock fell victim to William Land last time out and can go one better in the first leg of the Pick 6 although Duke Of York, a beaten favourite at his last two starts, and Tuscan Kiss, back in blinkers and having his third run after a break, should be competitive.
The Gold Circle Podcast Handicap looks wide open by Starlight has been consistent and goes well on the poly while Lady Sharon has her third run after a lay-off and did show some improvement last start. These two could fight it out.
Finally, Uncle Frank has not been far back to stronger since coming out of the maidens and his only win has been over course and distance. He could round off the day for Gavin van Zyl and log-leading rider Warren Kennedy.
By Andrew Harrison
Hollywoodbets Greyville Wednesday Tips and Race Previews
PUBLISHED: October 16, 2019
Hollywoodbets Greyville Wednesday October 16 Tips and Race Previews by Andrew Harrison…
Hollywoodbets Greyville Wednesday Tips and Race Previews by Andrew Harrison
3 JALAPENO 11 STANTON STREET 2 ROCKET RHUMBA 1 AULD REEKIE
Preview: Tricky with a number of fort timers. JALAPENO (3) has had two tricky draws to contend with and can benefit from pole position. STANTON STREET (11) was much improved second time out. He should enjoy the extra and will be a threat. ROCKET RHUMBA (2) has a tough draw but was narrowly beaten last start. He makes his poly debut. AULD REEKIE (1) is way better than his last effort and should do better here. (Andrew Harrison: 3-11-2-1).
2 DRUNKEN SAILOR 7 WILLIAMS LAND 5 HIGH GREEN 4 LA BELLA
Preview: DRUNKEN SAILOR (2) has been in good form over shorter but given his pedigree he should be more than comfortable over the extra furlong. WILLIAMS LAND (7) made a smart winning debut on the poly track. He is lightly raced and rates a strong chance. HIGH GREEN (5) comes from and in form stable. Last run was too short and he goes well on the poly track. LA BELLA (4) takes on males but was a promising third last run to a useful filly. (Andrew Harrison: 2-7-5-4).
1 KINGSTON ROCK 8 DUKE OF YORK 2 TUSCAN KISS 3 ATACAMA RAID
Preview: KINGSTON ROCK (1) was not too far back in his first two in KZN. Third run after a break and rates a strong chance. DUKE OF YORK (8) was a beaten favourite at his last two. He meets little of note here and should at least finish thereabouts. TUSCAN KISS (2) is back in blinkers and has his third run after a break. ATACAMA RAID (3) found some long-shot betting support last start and finished a fair third. Lightly raced and can still improve. (Andrew Harrison: 1-8-2-3).
6 STARLIGHT 8 LADY SHARON 9 ROYAL KAITRINA 5 SAUCY BROAD
Preview: Wide open. STARLIGHT (6) has been consistent and goes well on the poly. LADY SHARON (8) has her third run after a lay-off and did show some improvement last start. ROYAL KAITRINA (9) met stronger last run. Consistent previous form. SAUCY BROAD (5) was a maiden winner last run but had steady maiden form before that. (Andrew Harrison: 6-8-9-5).
9 NOEMI 1 CANDY GALORE 3 QUEEN OF ALAMO 2 JUST VOGUE
Preview: NOEMI (9) goes well over course and distance and is in good form. With only 49kg to shoulder she should be a big runner. CANDY GALORE (1) gives away lumps of weight but is knocking at the door and should be a big runner from a good draw. QUEEN OF ALAMO (3) faced stronger last run but is in good form and can give apprentice Gabriel Pieterse his first runner. JUST VOGUE (2) has also been consistent and rates a good chance at best but does look held by Candy Galore at the weights. (Andrew Harrison: 9-1-3-2).
1 ESCAPE CLUB 6 PHILAE 4 CONNECT ME 9 SHE’S A DREAM
Preview: ESCAPE CLUB (1) has yet to find her best form after a lengthy break. This is her third start since the break and may be worth another chance. PHILAE (6) is another having her third run after a break and was narrowly beaten last run. CONNECT ME (4) is holding form and switches to the poly track. She will go close on her best effort. SHE’S A DREAM (9) has been disappointing but is capable. (Andrew Harrison: 1-6-4-9).
3 ROYAL KITTY 10 QUEEN OF BEAUTY 4 DUNE DANCE 9 PIXIE BELLE
Preview: Poor field. ROYAL KITTY (3) goes well on the poly and is the obvious choice in this field. QUEEN OF BEAUTY (10) comes from a strong stable and has only had one sprint. She could prove the danger over this longer trip. DUNE DANCE (4) has shown some ability and the stop up in trip from a good draw could see her go close. PIXIE BELLE (9) made a modest sprint debut but could do better over the extra. (Andrew Harrison: 3-10-4-9).
1 UNCLE FRANK 5 ARROW’S MARK 6 ROY’S PHYSCO 4 SOVEREIGN SOLDIER
Preview: UNCLE FRANK (1) has not been far back to stronger since coming out of the maidens. His only win has been over course and distance. ARROW’S MARK (5) has shown up well at his last two and is course and distance suited. ROY’S PHYSCO (6) has shown steady form since his overdue maiden win and looks capable in this company. SOVEREIGN SOLDER (4) has a tricky draw but has been consistent of late. (Andrew Harrison: 1-5-6-4).
Met stake a casualty of stakes reduction
PUBLISHED: October 15, 2019
The other main features on February 1 are unchanged – with the two CTS sales races worth R5m each and the Majorca and Cape Flying…
The Sun Met is the biggest casualty in Phumelela’s stakes reductions programme with the value of the Cape Town showpiece dropping from R5 million to R3 million. It used to be run for R2.5 million but the stake was doubled in 2017.
The other main features on February 1 are unchanged – with the two CTS sales races worth R5m each and the Majorca and Cape Flying both remaining on R1 million – but the Western Cape Stayers and the Politician both drop R50 000 to R350 000 and R200 000 respectively in line with the reductions already known for Grade 2 and Grade 3 races.
The L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate on January 11 stays at R1.5 million and the Paddock Stakes on R1 million but the Peninsula Handicap and the Chairman’s Cup that day take R50 000 drops to R350 000 and R200 000.
The revamped Cape Derby meeting on February 22 – intended as a showpiece for the Asian Racing Conference – sees the Diadem and Prix Du Cap both taking R50 000 drops but the R1 Derby is untouched as is the Cape Nursey (R200 000) and the R150 000 Jet Master.
For many owners and trainers, though, it is the reductions across a broad sweep of maidens and handicaps that will be felt most. An ordinary maiden, for instance, will drop from R80 000 to R 70 000 at Kenilworth and Durbanville.
There are also cuts at the other Phumelela-administered courses – Turffontein, the Vaal, Fairview and Flamingo Park – with falling betting turnover to blame as well as the loss of the Gauteng Provincial Government levy on wining bets.
Interestingly there are no cuts planned – for the time being anyway – at the two Hollywoodbets-sponsored KZN courses Greyville and Scottsville even though many of their bread-and-butter races offer higher stakes than those in Cape Town.
BLOB Kenilworth Racing has reintroduced its Queen’s Plate loyalty programme. Racegoers who attend 12 meetings before January 10 will qualify for a free ticket at the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate fixture worth R350.
Events officer Clinton Theys said: “They must register first – signing up is free – and collect a stamp each time they go racing. If they have 12 stamps they get a Lifestyle Village ticket for the two-day meeting, a free souvenir racecard and access to the after-party.”
By Michael Clower
Phumelela stakes reduced
PUBLISHED: October 15, 2019
More than half of the prize money at Phumelela tracks is derived from a set percentage of TAB tote turnover, which is governed by a stakes agreement…
Phumelela advises that due principally to a decline in TAB tote revenue in the 2018-19 racing season and the withholding of the Gauteng provincial levy, prize money at its racecourses will be reduced by around 13% from next month.
More than half of the prize money at Phumelela tracks is derived from a set percentage of TAB tote turnover, which is governed by a stakes agreement between the company and the Racing Association, which represents racehorse owners in Phumelela regions.
In terms of the agreed stakes formula, set percentages of other Phumelela revenue streams also flow directly into the prize-money pool. Total stakes for each racing season (1 August to 31 July) are mostly determined by the monies generated by this prize-money formula in the previous season.
The amount allocated for stakes in the first five months of each season is based on an estimate of the amount likely to be generated by the prize-money formula in the previous season. Once the figures have been finalised and audited, any adjustments needed to balance the estimated total to the actual total are applied to prize money in the last seven months of the season (January to July).
Prize money in the Western Cape is governed by an arrangement in terms of which total stakes are set at 26% of the combined net stakes pool in Phumelela regions.
After engaging with the Racing Association, Phumelela and Kenilworth Racing wish to advise stakeholders that prize money will be reduced with effect from 1 November 2019 in order to spread the impact across nine months of the season, rather than waiting for the audited total and only applying the reduction from January. Should the various audits, however, reveal a higher-than-expected total, stakes would be adjusted accordingly from January to July next year.
The stakes pool has been impacted by various factors, including declining TAB tote turnover and a negative return from fixed-odds operator Betting World. Added to that is the loss of the Gauteng Provincial Government levy on winning bets with fixed-odds operators, 30% of which used to flow to the stakes pool.
It should be noted that Phumelela is currently negotiating with the Gauteng Provincial Government and the Gauteng Gambling Board in an attempt to have its share of the levy reinstated. Simultaneously, Phumelela is in discussions with the Gauteng Gambling Board and fixed-odds operators to resolve the long-standing commercial dispute around the provision of Tellytrack.
The other major impact on prize money is that the stakes pool will not benefit from share dividends this year. Normally 80% of the share dividends accruing to the Thoroughbred Horseracing Trust from its 26.7% shareholding in Phumelela are added to the stakes pool. This amounted to some R19 million for the 2017-18 financial years. But as a consequence of the collective negative factors impacting Phumelela’s profitability, no dividend will be paid for 2018-19.
The Racing Association, through its Stakes Committee members, have engaged with Phumelela and Kenilworth Racing and innovative ways of addressing the reduction in stakes have been agreed. Details are as follows:
* Reducing the number of races at midweek meetings to eight.
* Reducing stakes of selected major Grade 1 races, as well as the majority of Grade 2 and Grade 3 race so as to lessen the burden on minor-race stakes.
* Introducing different minor-race stakes levels in and out of season on the Highveld and in the Western Cape (the Highveld feature season runs from 1 October to the first Saturday in May, whilst the Western Cape feature season runs from 1 November to the end of February)
* Introducing a lower stakes level for minor races restricted to fillies and mares (with the exception of Maiden, Maiden Juvenile and Juvenile Plates) across all regions
Full details of the new stakes levels can be viewed on http://www.sahorseracing.co.za.
The Racing Association has also taken a decision to change the distribution of stakes in all races run in Phumelela regions (Highveld, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape). With effect from 1 November, the winning portion of the race stake will be reduced from 62.5% to 58% and redistributed to pay down to 10th place as follows:
6th to 10th 1% each
In the event of less than 10 starters, any stakes not allocated will be stockpiled for future distribution.
It is worth noting that as things stand the current stakes pot receives zero revenue from TAB tote (open) bets taken with fixed-odds operators. As an example, for every R1 million wagered on Pick 6s in the form of open bets, R75,000 is lost to the stakes’ pot. The magnitude of the lost revenue to prize money is highlighted by the National Gambling Board statistics for 2018. They show that R3.9 billion was wagered on horseracing on the tote versus R7.68 billion with fixed-odds operators, of which a substantial portion can be attributed to open bets.
Declining tote betting turnovers on horseracing are a trend facing many racing jurisdictions around the world and are by no means unique to South Africa. That said, Phumelela is totally committed to engaging with regulators and fixed-odds operators to find solutions for the issues that have impacted so negatively on its business and the sport of horseracing.