Vardy a penalty kick at the weights?
PUBLISHED: June 5, 2020
Vardy took on the best ‘milers’ in the country in the Queen’s Plate and gave them a galloping lesson, coming from off the pace and breezing past…
Vardy, stunning winner of the Gr1 Queen’s Plate, starts his Champions Season campaign in the Gr2 Independent On Saturday Drill Hall Stakes at Hollywoodbets Greyville tomorrow. Adam Marcus has the Vodacom Durban July in his plans and the gelding he looks difficult to oppose in this season opener.
Vardy took on the best ‘milers’ in the country in the Queen’s Plate and gave them a galloping lesson, coming from off the pace and breezing past the opposition in seemingly effortless fashion.
On that performance the Gr1 Sun Met looked well within his compass but there is never a racing certainty in this sport as favourite Hawwaam, ran into the back of him, fatally compromising both horse’s chances.
Hawwaam starts his season in the Gr1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes at Turffontein today, and if their stars align the pair could meet again come Saturday, July 25.
Given the weight conditions of the Drill Hall, Vardy need only be at half-throttle to win and this should be the ideal blow-out for his next VDJ stepping stone, the Rising Sun Gold Challenge.
The only possible threat could come from top sprinter Kasimir. Justin Snaith’s charge is no stranger to the course having beaten the top filly Celtic Sea in the Gr1 Mercury Sprint last season. He comes into the race off a grinding victory in the Diadem Stakes at Kenilworth where he looked beaten a furlong out but kept fighting off all challengers. The majority of his form has been over 1200m but given his never-say-die attitude, Vardy’s rider, Craig Zackey, will need to be fully aware of what he is up against especially with master tactician Anton Marcus aboard.
Matador Man could battle in this line-up but loves this course while Sniper Shot tries blinkers for the first time. The balance should all prefer more ground.
Adam Marcus has had a stellar season to date, with two Gr1 wins to his credit. Vardy’s Queen’s Plate triumph was his second, Mississippi Burning his first in the Gr1 Cape Fillies Guineas.
She is also in action in the World Sports Betting Fillies Guineas tomorrow where there are a few in opposition who will be looking to turn the tables.
Mississippi Burning is not the most striking physical specimen but she made her Cape rivals look pretty ordinary as she won the Guineas easing up with three lengths of daylight back to the runner-up Driving Miss Daisy, also in tomorrow’s line-up and one of the leading contenders. A repeat performance will see her hard to peg back.
Kelpie was no match in the Cape but has since run two smart races in open features and comes from a very much in form stable.
Labyrinth is unbeaten since Vaughan Marshall tried her in blinkers and looks a far better proposition than when beaten by Kelpie three runs back.
The Gr2 World Sports Betting Guineas is an intriguing contest where the Cape raiders are again likely to hold sway. Golden Ducat, a half-brother to the pair of top gallopers Rainbow Bridge and Hawwaam, was easy to back in the Cape Derby where he revelled in the ten-furlong contest beating the well fancied Sachdev. The pair meet again tomorrow, but the latter could be more at home over this shorter trip and able to turn the tables.
Golden Ducat is a giant of a horse and one would reasonably expect him to battle around the relatively tight Greyville circuit but the past has shown that big horses are not necessary at a disadvantage so it would be foolish to write off the Derby winner’s chances.
Count Jack comes off three straight wins, Sachdev his most recent victim, so must also come into the reckoning while local hopes could rest with Padre Pio and Guru’s Pride.
The lock-down initiated by the Covid-19 pandemic saw horse racing on hold for the past two months but was given the green light to resume last Monday, June 1. Under strict quarantine guidelines, only persons essential to the running of the race meeting are allowed on course but all races can be watched live on channel 239 on DStv. All TAB and bookmaker rooms are closed and betting can only be conducted on line.
By Andrew Harrison
Hawwaam on track for Horse Chestnut
PUBLISHED: June 5, 2020
In Hawwaam and Soqrat’s cases they had to endure the calamitous 25-minute delay to the start of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate…
Mike de Kock said Hawwaam was back to his “aggressive” self ahead of his bid to add a fourth Grade 1 to his CV in the Grade 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes at Turffontein today, where he faces some tough opposition, including his stablemate and defending champion Soqrat.
De Kock has a third runner in the race too, the crack filly Queen Supreme.
All three of these horses disappointed to various degrees in their last starts down in Cape Town and De Kock said, “All of our horses ran flat races in their second or third starts this season in Cape Town.”
In Hawwaam and Soqrat’s cases they had to endure the calamitous 25-minute delay to the start of the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate.
Hawwaam’s over-racing antics that day blunted the turn of foot he is famous for while Soqrat “fell apart” completely.
De Kock immediately sent Soqrat to the farm for a holiday and he is now a happy horse again and “doing very well.”
Hawwaam subsequently ran in the Sun Met and although still not quite the horse who had thrilled crowds in Johannesburg and Durban with his effortless change of gears, he still managed third place in a high class field.
Hawwaam has a perfect draw of five today and his fans will hope to see him settling in behind horses before slicing through the field like a hot knife through butter.
The four-year-old Silvano colt will be exported this year, but the connections do not know when, as any change to the export protocols is still forthcoming.
If they are forced to go the Mauritius route, Hawwaam will depart for the Cape Town quarantine station in June and thus miss the Vodacom Durban July.
However, if the EU inspection on African Horse Sickness containment does take place soon, and brings with it good news, then he might still take his place in the July.
Hawwaam is in fact a rig, a common condition in which one or more of the testicles fails to descend from the abdomen. The late great stallion A. P. Indy was a rig so there is still every chance Hawwaam can go on to convert his racing and pedigree class into stud success.
De Kock said Soqrat was a versatile type who could go handy or come from off the pace, so the draw of ten should not affect him too badly.
This horse is the ultimate professional, as he proved in this race last year when digging down deep to fend off Cirillo. His trusted partner for the whole of last season, Randall Simons, is aboard for the first time this season.
Queen Supreme had the plaudits rapturous when winning the Grade 1 Paddock Stakes over 1800m, but she subsequently ran a flat race in the Grade 1 Bidvest Majorca Stakes over 1600m.
De Kock said, “She is doing very well but it is a tough race.”
De Kock runs Pomander in the SA Oaks and said, “She is fit and well and stays well, she could place.”
Tomorrow, he runs Frosted Gold in the Grade 2 WSB Guineas. This handy-running grey should be ideally suited to Greyville and has a form chance of winning.
By David Thiselton
Tarry hoping for a big day
PUBLISHED: June 5, 2020
Tarry said about Shango “He seems to be a staying type. He has never showed much in work but he is doing well and is moving well and the draw will help…
Sean Tarry has a strong hand in the big meeting at Turffontein tomorrow and his big guns have generally landed good draws too.
In the Grade 1 SA Derby over 2450m his Grade 2 TAB/Betting World Dingaans winner Shango has drawn pole and his other two runners, Cornish Pomodoro and Nebraas, are drawn seven and ten respectively.
Tarry said about Shango “He seems to be a staying type. He has never showed much in work but he is doing well and is moving well and the draw will help. I am pleased with everything.”
He admitted only the race would tell whether he stayed the trip.
Shango is by the sprinter Captain Of All out of a Jet Master mare who won from 1200m to 1400m but he won the Dingaans going away and Tarry had no doubt whatsoever he would stay the 1800m trip of the Grade 1 SA Classic.
His below par run there could have been explained by him having to be scratched from the Gauteng Guineas after a minor setback and missing three or four days of work as a result and the yard had also suffered a bout of temperatures at the time of the Classic too.
Cornish Pomodoro also ran well below par in the Derby Trial around the time of the bout of temperatures and Tarry said that outing was best ignored.
He pointed out, “I had always expected him to turn into a classic horse. That last run knocked the wind out of our sails but before that he ran second to Green Laser at level weights in the Secretariat and was doing his best work late so based on that he is not a long way off these horses. He has been doing well.
Tarry said about Nebraas, “He is out of an Archipenko mare and his sire Vercingetorix did have a lot of pace over a mile but is by Silvano (who imparts stamina), so he should get the trip. He is a nice horse and is progressive. He is under pressure based on his merit rating but is coming off a second place finish in the Derby Trial where he had a few here behind him.”
Asked which was the stable elect, Tarry said, “Shango would be the choice on form no doubt but he is lazy at home and on work I would say Nebraas, although it’s tricky as the horses to beat are also stepping up in trip.”
In the Grade 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m Tarry runs last year’s runner up Cirillo (drawn three), the progressive Tierra Del Fuego (drawn two) and the former Summer Cup winner Tilbury Fort (drawn 12).
Cirillo bounced back to his best last time to win the Grade 2 Hawaii Stakes over 1400m by 3,50 lengths.
Tarry said, “He was impressive and is doing well. He had a deep draw last year and only just failed. He has 2kg to find on the top horses but is now drawn well and hopefully will have a very good run.”
“Tierra Del Fuego was soundly beaten by Cirillo in the Hawaii but he is on the up and a mile might even be better. He has got it all to do but he is fit and well.”
“This is a pipe opener for Tilbury Fort. It is nice to have Lyle back, he hasn’t ridden Tilbury since winning the 2018 Summer Cup and a 1400m race next time out. I hope to see him running on and we can map out a program from there.”
Tarry runs Victoria Paige and Keep On Smiling in the Grade 2 SA Oaks.
He had been highly confident of Victoria Paige’s chance in the Grade 1 SA Fillies Classic but had to scratch her with a temperature. The long-striding daughter of Captain Al has drawn pole and he said, “She hasn’t had the ideal preparation and I can’t have the same confidence over 2400m. I’m hoping she will stay but she is not certain too and it is exactly the same with Keep Smiling, who also has ability.”
Tarry said he had been able to get enough work into his charges during lockdown. However, one concern was whether he had kept them on the boil for too long due to the extended lockdown and the continual stretching out of the dates of the races.
Of his other charges on the day he felt Dubawi Princess was a runner, he gave Slalom Queen a chance, he rates Immeasurable but was disappointed by his last run and is hoping he is not a “brass”, he believes first-timer Sun Ray would probably need the experience but added he would be progressive, he thought Take The World had a chance having come from last on debut to finish fourth, although he is now widely drawn, and he said Return Flight always thrived at this time of the year.
He has Matador Man running at Greyville in the Grade 2 Drill Hall Stakes on Sunday and said, “He has a tough task taking on those horses but loves Greyville and on his day is useful. He has been doing well.”
Tarry said the weekend was also going to be an important yardstick to sort out his SA Champions Season team. Horses are only allowed one move during the lockdown so he won’t be able to travel up and down.
He envisages entering about ten horses into the Vodacom Durban July on Monday.
By David Thiselton
Derby Day carryover
PUBLISHED: June 5, 2020
The principal carryover to the meeting is a R250,000 add-in to the Pick 6, which starts on Race 4 at 12:55. The carryover should generate a total net pool…
It’s SA Derby Day at Turffontein tomorrow and TAB has added carryovers to four pools at the meeting.
The principal carryover to the meeting is a R250,000 add-in to the Pick 6, which starts on Race 4 at 12:55. The carryover should generate a total net pool of some R1 million.
There are also R75,000 carryovers to each of the two Jackpot pools, as well as a R100,000 carryover to the Quartet on Race 7, the Wilgerbosfdrift SA Oaks which is the final leg of the Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara for three-year-old fillies.
Trainer Paul Peter’s charge Summer Pudding, winner of all five starts to date including the first two legs of the Triple Tiara, is hot favourite.
Pick 6 = R250,000 (estimated pool R1,000,000)
Jackpot 1 = R75,000 (estimated pool R500,000)
Jackpot 2 = R75,000 (estimated pool R300,000)
Quartet Race 7 = R100,000 (R750,000)
COVID-19 Challenges For All of Us
PUBLISHED: June 5, 2020
Only one of two scenarios will end this nightmare: a reliable vaccine, or achieving a “herd immunity” of about 70% of the population…
The current pandemic has turned our world upside down. SARS-CoV-2, the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a “novel” virus, which means that it is new and nobody on the planet has been exposed to it before. This also means that nobody has immunity to it.
Only one of two scenarios will end this nightmare: a reliable vaccine, or achieving a “herd immunity” of about 70% of the population.
Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune.
Therefore, the timeline to return to “complete” normal will be about 18 months from now, because it is unlikely that the vaccine would be available in South Africa sooner (albeit, multiple agencies are fast tracking the process, so we might all be surprised). The SARS outbreak, from 2002 till 2004, which was also a Corona Virus and also started in China, took 2 years to “burn out”.
What does this mean at a very practical level? Well, until the vaccine arrives, most of us will become exposed and develop immunity. Obviously, people at high risk must avoid exposure at all costs. People at high risk will only be “safer” from infection when herd immunity is established.
Life must go on and we cannot exist in a Level 5 lockdown indefinitely. The sooner we have herd immunity, the better.
The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 amongst passengers on two ships, the Diamond Princess cruise liner and the USS Theodore Roosevelt warship, has led to several, interesting studies being conducted.
These studies have helped us to learn and understand that more than 50% of positive cases will be asymptomatic. In other words, people who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 will still remain completely healthy and not experience any symptoms despite “fighting” off the virus and developing immunity. In the case of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the “healthy”, infected group was around 60% of the crew, which is completely understandable because the average age on board was younger relative to the age of passengers on the Diamond Princess.
The Jockeys are young (less than 60 years old) and healthy. All of the Jockeys in Johannesburg were tested for SARS-CoV-2. Almost all tested negative. The small number that tested positive were completely asymptomatic and remain healthy. There is no doubt that they contracted the virus outside of racing venues, because these were closed during the lockdown. The Jockeys live far apart from each other, in different municipalities and rode work somewhat occasionally, at different venues.
It must be expected that if you were to randomly test any group of people in South Africa right now, you would find positive tests. It is not currently known what percentage of the population has developed herd immunity. Estimates from some Virologists range between 3% to maybe 20% in Cape Town, a “hotspot” area. In 18 months, herd immunity should be at around 70% of the population.
Until then, based on the timing to achieve heard immunity and/or have access to a vaccination, the current practice of social distancing and sanitisation is recommended. We expect the number of new cases to increase and, unfortunately, we also anticipate an increase in the death rate.
That being said, people under 60 years of age with no co-morbidities (chronic diseases), have more chance of dying in a car accident than succumbing to SARS-CoV-2.
We know that some are more at risk than others. The risk factors for contracting SARS-CoV-2 and experiencing severe symptoms include the following: People older than 60 years of age (the risks for people older than 80 is predictably much more significant), moderate to severe chronic lung diseases, poorly controlled diabetes, poorly controlled hypertension, serious heart conditions, chronic renal disease on dialysis, chronic liver disease, severe obesity (Body Mass Index over 40), immunocompromised patients, (chemotherapy patients, patients with uncontrolled HIV, bone marrow or organ transplants), advanced pregnancy (>28 weeks).
The current racing structure (behind closed doors) is well-suited to be safer than any other industry right now. Only the Jockeys that tested negative are racing, for a limited number of hours over a few days a week. The chance of contracting COVID-19 is much greater outside of the racetrack venues; at any shop for that matter.
There is no need to panic! Drive carefully on the roads. For most of us, that is far more dangerous. If you have any of the above risk factors, isolate yourself from society completely, if you can. As for the rest of us, we should continue to follow the recommended public health practices of social distancing and sanitisation. It must be said that the sooner we become immune, the better for everyone, including the very old and those at high risk.