Hawwaam has a point to prove
PUBLISHED: December 5, 2019
The triple Grade 1 winner is rated 131 compared with Do It Again’s 136 and the 134 of Rainbow Bridge. Indeed even the favourite’s stable companion Soqrat…
Hawwaam, the early favourite, will need to prove himself better than his current rating if he is to beat last season’s winner Rainbow Bridge and dual Vodacom Durban July hero Do It Again in the Sun Met.
The triple Grade 1 winner is rated 131 compared with Do It Again’s 136 and the 134 of Rainbow Bridge. Indeed even the favourite’s stable companion Soqrat is rated higher – on 133.
These four stars head the 25 who were yesterday nominated for the first February Met since the Vaughan Marshall-trained Hill Fifty Four came home at 15-1 under Hawwaam’s regular partner Anton Marcus in 2014. There were 29 nominated at the corresponding first entry stage last season while there 31 for the 2018 race (the first year that it was run on pure weight-for-age terms) and 27 the year before.
Mike de Kock, who will be bidding for his fourth Met, has confined himself to just two entries as has Brett Crawford, the only other current trainer to have won the great race three times. The Crawford pair are last season’s fourth Undercover Agent and Charles.
Andre Nel has the biggest entry with five headed by Head Honcho who ran such a great race to take third last term. Sean Tarry, successful with 50-1 shot Alastor in 2005, is the only trainer to enter three-year-olds this time (Shango, Putontheredlight and On My Mind) and Candice Bass-Robinson is the only other trainer with more than two entries – Majestic Mozart, More Magic and Sovereign Spirit.
Although the conditions remain essentially the same as last year – there will be a slight difference in the relative weights of the three and four-year-olds because the weight-for-age scale changes from January to February – the race’s financial complexion has altered dramatically.
While the total stake comes down from R5 million to R3 million, with the winner’s share dropping from R 2 850 000 to R 1 710 000, the pre-VAT cost of the initial entry has gone up from R 5 000 to R6 000. However it costs much less to supplement – R9 900 on December 17 as against R16 492 last year and R19 800 on January 13 compared with R32 984.
Entries Sun Met (Grade 1) 2 000m Kenilworth 1 February 2020
|0||Bunker Hunt||Justin Snaith||120|
|0||Do It Again||Justin Snaith||136|
|0||Eyes Wide Open||Glen Kotzen||119|
|0||Hawwaam||Mike de Kock||131|
|0||Head Honcho||Andre Nel||129|
|0||Kampala Campari||Andre Nel||119|
|0||Majestic Mozart||Candice Bass-Robinson||107|
|0||More Magic||Candice Bass-Robinson||99|
|0||On My Mind||Sean Tarry||89|
|0||One World||Vaughan Marshall||127|
|0||Rainbow Bridge||Eric Sands||134|
|0||Roy Had Enough (AUS)||Frank Robinson||115|
|0||Run Red||Andre Nel||104|
|0||Soqrat (AUS)||Mike de Kock||133|
|0||Sovereign Spirit||Candice Bass-Robinson||95|
|0||Tap O’ Noth||Vaughan Marshall||119|
|0||The Sultans Bazaar||Dean Kannemeyer||100|
|0||Twist Of Fate||Adam Marcus||127|
|0||Undercover Agent||Brett Crawford||130|
By Michael Clower
Do It Again to defend his Queen’s crown
PUBLISHED: December 5, 2019
His eagerly anticipated campaign will include the defence of his L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate crown and a chance to make amends for his Sun Met defeat…
Reigning Equus Horse Of The Year Do It Again had a “nice easy” gallop on his own at Kenilworth yesterday ahead of his seasonal reappearance in the Grade 2 Green Point Stakes over 1600m on December 14.
His eagerly anticipated campaign will include the defence of his L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate crown and a chance to make amends for his Sun Met defeat and it will culminate in an attempt to win the country’s premier race, the Vodacom Durban July, for a history-making third time in succession.
Trainer Justin Snaith said, “I’m sure he will pull up well from the gallop and will be ready for a nice start to the season. There have been very few races for him so this is still a preparation race and he will come on quite a lot for it. The July is going to be major this year as it will be all changing but it a long way away and we are not even thinking about it yet, the concentration is completely on winning the Queen’s Plate and the Met.”
A mile was considered to be on the sharp side for Do It Again at this time last year but in the Green Point he went within a whisker of becoming the first horse to ever defeat Legal Eagle over that trip, finishing a head third with Undercover Agent splitting the pair in a famous blanket finish which saw fourth-placed Rainbow Bridge beaten only a neck.
However, Do It Again later proved himself the country’s best miler by winning both the Grade 1 weight for age (wfa) L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and the Grade 1 wfa Rising Sun Gold Challenge.
Snaith said a lot more thought had been put into the Cape Summer Season this year as there were some Cape representatives on the programming panel. He is very happy with the season’s layout.
There is four weeks between the Green Point and the Queen’s Plate and three weeks between the latter race and the Met. However, in the best change to of all the Grade 1 Cape Derby has been moved out to February 22, meaning three-year-old classic horses have the option of the Grade 1 Cape Guineas on December 21, the R500,000 CTS 1600 or the Grade 3 Politician Stakes over 1800m on Sun Met day and then the Cape Derby.
Snaith has an exciting string of three-year-old Derby prospects and mentioned Sachdev, Captain Tatters, Bayberry, Silver Host and Double The Fun as being among them. For the Guineas he mentioned the first two of that list and added Wild Coast, who is Beach Beauty’s first foal to race.
Snaith said he was a bit thin on the classic fillies side at present but believed one or two would “come alive” in time for the SA Champions Season.
He lamented the lack of preparation opportunities for his top older horses with a good example being Equus Champion Sprinter Kasimir, who was going to have to wait until Queen’s Plate day to get a run.
By David Thiselton
Grant withdraws as director
PUBLISHED: December 5, 2019
Grant’s withdrawal from The Equine Group, also coincides with his withdrawal from Bloodstock South Africa…
The Equine Group have announced that long serving director, Gary Grant will be withdrawing from Group with effect from the end of the financial year in February 2020.
Grant quipped “I’ve been doing this for twenty six years, had a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding time and met so many good people, with many clients and fellow staff members having become great friends too. It is time for change though, I’m going to kick back and spend some time with my children and then I have a few business opportunities that I plan to investigate next year.”
Grant’s withdrawal from The Equine Group, also coincides with his withdrawal from Bloodstock South Africa.
Chris Haynes of The Equine Group and Bloodstock South Africa said “I am sad to see Gary leave after all these years. He is a good friend and has been an amazing business partner. I thank him for his contribution, and I wish him well in his future endeavours. This has been in the offing for a while, accordingly for both The Equine Group and Bloodstock South Africa, it will be business as usual.”
Hawwaam is a ready made banker
PUBLISHED: December 4, 2019
The best bet on the card looks to be Spanish Boy in the eighth race over 1160m. He lost a lot of ground at the start on debut over 1200m but stormed home…
The Turffontein Standside track eight race meeting tomorrow has a ready-made banker as Hawwaam shouldn’t raise a sweat winning the fifth race, a Pinnacle Stakes event over 1600m.
This will be the superstar’s last preparation race before the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and Sun Met and with Anton Marcus aboard he should doddle it, being 4kg better off with the second best weighted horse Hero’s Honour. Tierra Del Fuego goes in off a hattrick and this progressive sort looks to be the biggest danger. Lake Kinnaret was well beaten by Tierra Del Fuego in yielding going over 1400m but he had a shoe attended to at the start and it was likely not his race. He has the ability to be runner up here too over a suitable trip, although the forecast rain might suit Tierra Del Fuego better.
The best bet on the card looks to be Spanish Boy in the eighth race over 1160m. He lost a lot of ground at the start on debut over 1200m but stormed home to win by half-a-length full of running. Last time out he faced a classy field over 1450m and was well beaten but he will appreciate the step back to this trip and looks to be leniently merit rated on 82, if the ten point across the board raise in August is taken into account. Winter Twilight could represent good place value in this race as this long-striding sort showed improvement last time out and on the formlines of that race he comes out well against a number of the other contestants here. He also has a high draw which appears to be an advantage presently. The Sands also has a nice high draw and on his day this Visionaire gelding could earn.
The first leg of the PA is an 800m contest for juveniles. The Johan Janse van Vuuren pair Galactico and Emerald Floe make appeal in that order. The former is speedily and precociously bred being by Kingsbarns, a Group 1 winner as a two-year-old, out of Solskjaer mare Winter Star, who was twice an impressive winner as a two-year-old in sprints and later won the Ready To Run Cup. Emerald Floe is by Oratorio out of Grade 1 Cape Fillies Guineas winner Emerald Beauty, who has produced a number of multiple winners. Ashley Fortune’s Tsitsikamma Girl is speedily bred being by champion sprinter Captain Of All out of Var mare Maties Wildekat, who won on debut over 1000m at Kenilworth in the October of her three-year-old year and she was later runner up in a Listed race over 1000m at Fairview.
In the first leg of the Pick 6 Tilmeeth is still immature so has plenty of scope for improvement and after running on well over 1400m last time out for second he should relish this step up in trip. Anton Marcus rides. Tobefair has run well in his last two races over this trip, including when leading last time. He is well drawn so could lead again and as one who really digs his toe in he will appreciate rain softened ground. Banha Ridge has run two fair races and from a good draw with Gavin Lerena up he is also worth including.
In the second leg of the Pick 6 Nimitz, a Captain Al gelding who is a half-brother to Soft Falling Rain, could beat an uninspiring field. He is nowhere near as good as his half-brother but is well drawn with Anton Marcus up and should be running on as usual. General Jackson has not made the frame in two starts but faced fair sorts and he could earn. Lynty’s Legacy has also shown enough ability to be able to win this race.
The sixth race over 1400m is a tricky handicap and could be an exotics stumbling block. Private Ruler is the selection as one who has won over course and distance and is capable of a strong finish. Lasair showed signs of improvement last time and is interesting with cheekpieces on over a shorter trip. Movie Magic is distance suited and has eyecatching form but he has a wide draw to overcome. Prix Eclips has shown glimpses of ability but he is 1kg under sufferance here. Street Flyer is an eight-year-old but is still competitive.
In the seventh over 1160m State Trooper make plenty of appeal. He has a win and a third over this course and distance and has proved to be competitively handicapped at present. Purple Diamond is enigmatic but has been quite consistent lately and he certainly has the ability to win over this course and distance. Old Man Tyme is 1,5kg better off with State Trooper for a 1,75 length beating and last time over 1450m he ran well with first-time blinkers on, so they could make all the difference here and he has Piere Strydom aboard.
By David Thiselton
Traces looks hard to catch
PUBLISHED: December 4, 2019
Anton Marcus rides, as he has done in the four-year-old’s last two runs and, despite the handicappers dropping him a kilo for his good Merchants effort…
Traces looks good for the Interbet.co.za Graduation Plate at Kenilworth today. The Brett Crawford Australian-bred has only won once in nine starts but his fifth in the Cape Merchants 11 days ago suggests he is going to be hard to beat.
Anton Marcus rides, as he has done in the four-year-old’s last two runs and, despite the handicappers dropping him a kilo for his good Merchants effort, he still has a theoretical 4.5kg in hand. Not surprisingly he is favourite but the present 16-10 is not prohibitive.
Next best in is the top weight Machiavelli who won over 100m further than this in August and is 4-1 second favourite. General Franco comes next in the betting at 9-2 but is hard to fancy on anything except his debut win.
The opening two-year-old race is a fascinating affair as none of the seven runners has been seen before. Glen Kotzen runs three and has booked Warren Kennedy for Mifid Two who opened favourite at 17-10. This Gimmethegreenlight filly is out of the Diana winner and Cape Fillies Guineas third Double Whammy and is jointly the most expensive filly in the field at R200 0000 at the National Two Year Old Sale. “She hasn’t done much but she is a nice filly and she is probably the most forward of my three runners,” says the Woodhill trainer.
His other two were bought at the Klawervlei Farm Sale – Musical Glitch (R30 000) by Jay Peg out of a mare who won over a mile, and Ruby Rhythm (R35 000) by Captain Of All out of a mare who won twice at two and is a half-sister to the July second Run For It.
Justin Snaith runs Favorita, a Gimmethegreenlight out of a Var mare and who didn’t go to the sales. “She is very small but very speedy,” says Snaith. “She has only had one gallop when she went with Stuck On You (third last Saturday) and finished half a length the better.”
Glen Puller’s assistant Riaan van Reenen says that Dad’s Catch (a R150 000 Cape Premier Yearling Sale purchase by Captain Of All out of a Western Winter mare) “is more advanced than our two who ran last Saturday and she will be competitive.”
Winter Peace cost R200 000 at the Cape Premier Yearling Sale and is by What A Winter out of a half-sister to State Crown who won the Winter Guineas and was third in the Cape Guineas. Candice Bass-Robinson admits she is a bit in the dark about the filly’s chance and says:” She is not lightning quick but she is a nice filly.”
Last, but certainly not least, is the bargain basement buy Spacial Aura, by Jay Peg out of a mare who won once in ten starts and as a three-year-old. She failed to find a buyer at R20 000 at the Cape Yearling Sale and was bought at the Klawervlei for only R5 000.
Mike Robinson, who trained the dam, is positive, saying: “She has shown nice speed and she has done everything right. Robert Khathi has done the work on her but he has on Justin’s runner as well so he rides that. Richard Fourie rang me and said he was available.”
So nobody is that bullish and the race looks wide open. Punters (and this writer too) got it wrong with Thomas Henry on Saturday. Unless there is a real move for any of them it just might pay to side with Fourie’s mount at 7-2.
Gavin Lerena flies down for just two rides – Bold Diva and Cartel Captain – but it looks significant that Anton Marcus rode Rocamadour last time and is on her again in the Betting World Maiden even though she is not a Ridgemont horse. I also like Speed Of Night in race two and Proclaimer in the next.
By Michael Clower