Worlds Your Oyster worth a punt
PUBLISHED: February 25, 2020
“There is a patch at the 1 500m mark that hasn’t recovered,” explained Dean Diedericks. “After having discussions with the jockeys we made the decision…”
Worlds Your Oyster could be worth a punt at around 9-2 in the TAB Telebet Handicap at Kenilworth today.
This meeting was to have been held at Durbanville but was switched late yesterday morning. “There is a patch at the 1 500m mark that hasn’t recovered,” explained racecourse boss Dean Diedericks. “After having discussions with the jockeys we made the decision to move the meeting to Kenilworth.”
It won’t bother the Geoff Woodruff grey who is unbeaten in two starts here but it was last time’s first run out of the maidens which marked him out as one for the notebook. He led inside the final furlong to score by three-parts of a length and won rather more comfortably than that margin might suggest.
The handicappers also thought so and raised him five points but the way he won suggested that he might well have had more in hand than that. A negative is the hot field and another is that the talented Keagan de Melo has switched to the Eric Sands-trained impressive maiden winner Royal Return (6-1). But jockey-of-the-moment Craig Zackey is a definite plus.
Yorktown is the reason for Anton Marcus’s flying visit and the Brett Crawford runner was 5-2 favourite yesterday. He has come down a kilo for his last run and, while he is an obvious threat, it’s not one that bounces off the racecard. Bernie and Magic Mike have chances just as good.
Marcus’s other two rides are both for Mike Robinson and the Philippi trainer says this is the first time the former champion has ridden for him since he was third on Goodtime Gal in the Diana Stakes at Durbanville in October 2018.
“When I saw that Anton was coming and had only the one ride, I phoned him,” says Robinson. “He told me that he would ring me back when he knew that he was definitely making the trip. In fact he called me just 20 minutes later. I’ve got some nice runners today and both Sudden Star and Grey Princess have good chances.”
Sudden Star gets the vote in race one even though the form book says he has only a fifth of a length in hand over Pannington when the Brett Crawford colt did not get an entirely clear run.
Grey Princess was left on the same mark after last time’s good run over 1 500m and is 7-2 second favourite for the last. She has strong claims even though there is an extra 300m to travel but it could pay to look further down the weights.
Flatware, the 22-10 favourite, and 11-2 shot Flash Fire make particular appeal. If you ignore Sandile Mbhele’s then 1.5kg allowance (he doesn’t claim any more) there is little between them on their January 14 running. Flash Fire receives 2kg here so she gets the vote.
Lady Wylie, very disappointing on Sun Met day, can recover the losses in the Tabonline.co.za Maiden.
By Michael Clower
Spitfire Lady purchased with purpose
PUBLISHED: February 25, 2020
Her first foal is the Adam Marcus-trained Grade 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas winner Missisippi Burning and her second foal, the Noble Tune colt Fire And Ice…
Australian-bred mare Spitfire Lady is unusual from a South African perspective in that she was not brought over here to race but was specifically purchased as a broodmare.
The Millstream farm-base mare is proving to be a valuable acquisition.
Her first foal is the Adam Marcus-trained Grade 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas winner Missisippi Burning and her second foal, the Barend Botes-trained Noble Tune colt Fire And Ice, got off the mark in fluent style on Saturday over 1160m at Turffontein.
Neither of her first two foals reached their reserve at the Sales.
Jan Mantel of Millstream pointed out, “She has a beautiful pedigree, but she does not throw Sales horses. They are not big, flashy horses at sales time.”
Bloodstock Agent Kerry Jack often visited Australia, mainly to buy weanlings either for pinhooking or for clients, but in 2015, for the first and only time, she bought a broodmare, Spitfire Lady.
The mare was bought on behalf of Mario Ferreira with the intention of standing her at Rathmor Stud in the KZN Midlands. Ferreira’s newly acquired stallion Noble Tune was initially based at Rathmor and his arrival coincided with him going on a mare-buying spree. Noble Tune and the band of mares were later moved down to Millstream in Robertson in the Western Cape, where the stallion and mare strength is greater.
Spitfire Lady is by Hussonet out of a Maroof mare called Galroof, who won a Group 3 over 1630m and had two Group 1 seconds in the Queensland Derby over 2400m and Doomben Cup over 2000m respectively as well as a second in the Queensland Guineas.
Spitfire Lady was a useful racehorse herself, winning four races from 1200m to 1600m and finishing Listed-placed multiple times. Furthermore, she is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner and twice Grade 1-placed Sabrage and to Listed winner and Grade 1 runner up Pinnacles as well as being a full-sister to a Listed placed horse.
Kerry Jack looked at a few mares for Ferreira and Rathmor Stud at the Gold Coast national broodmare Sale of 2015 and between them they settled on Spitfire Lady.
“We didn’t think we would have to spend as much as we did,” she said.
The mare was knocked down for Aus $240,000.
Fire Ice is in-bred 3x4x5 to Mr Prospector and 5×5 to Northern Dancer and as Noble Tune is out of a mare by Storm Cat, who hails from the Northern Dancer/Bold Ruler cross, the two lines of Bold Ruler in Spitfire Lady’s pedigree are eye-catching. Spitfire Lady also brings a line of Princequillo, two lines of which are found in Noble Tune’s pedigree. The Bold Ruler/Princequillo cross of course produced Storm Cat’s famous damsire, Secretariat.
Spitfire Lady had to stand in quarantine in Cape Town upon arrival in South Africa and Jack thus suggested to Ferreira that this would provide her with the opportunity to get off to a good start by being sent to Cape-based champion Captain Al.
The result was the diminutive Missisippi Burning.
She has already won four races, from just seven starts, and has accumulated R794,063 in stakes.
The Cape Fillies Guineas was her first race beyond a sprint and having jumped from draw two and had a rails run throughout she showed a tremendous turn of foot from a midfield position to win easily by three.
Marcus decided to avoid the Grade 1 Bidvest Majorca Stakes on Sun Met day as she had drawn wide and he felt the quality of the older fillies at present would have also made it tough.
He said, “She is a young, lightly raced filly with a lot of ability. The SA Champions Season in KZN willl be her main aim as she will be able to race against her own age group. She is small but compact and is all heart.”
She should be suited to the tight Greyville track, where the ability to quicken immediately is a valuable asset.
Fire And Ice, who is similarly unimposing, placed four times before winning at the fifth attempt on Saturday.
One noticeable characteristic he shares with his half-sister, besides size, is courage.
In his penultimate start he didn’t enjoy blinkers and was booked to miss out on the places when under pressure in the final stages. It seemed for all money he would fade right out but he somehow found enough to go from fifth to third in the last 125 metres.
The blinkers were dispensed with on Saturday and he showed good cruising speed to be within striking distance. He made his run on the unfavourable inside of runners but was still able to exert his authority over a decent field of maidens to win cosily by 1,30 lengths, despite starting odds of 10/1.
He will be interesting stepped up in trip, which he should be looking for on pedigree considering his grandam’s ability to stay and Noble Tune’s Grade 2 win over 1700m.
Spitfire Lady currently has a Querari October-born foal at foot.
She went to Twice Over for a late season cover but did not get in foal.
It is said that freak ability is unlikely to be passed on by a stallion to future generations, whereas courage can be. Spitfire Lady is thus a mare to follow.
She is the first and only Grade 1-producing mare of Ferreira’s breeding operation to date. By David Thiselton
By David Thiselton
Kenilworth Tuesday Tips and Race Previews
PUBLISHED: February 25, 2020
Kenilworth Tuesday February 25 Tips and Race Previews by Warren Lenferna…
Kenilworth Tuesday Tips and Race Previews by Warren Lenferna
Preview: NIGHT SONG (3) is improving quickly and looks ready to win. SUDDEN STAR (5) has placed two from four starts and should go very close in this and ANECDOTE (1) has a strong place chance. (Warren Lenferna 3-5-1)
Preview: DANCING SALLY (2) brings solid form into the race and has bright each way claims. QUICKSTEP LADY (3) is running very well and has put up some attractive post maiden efforts – she should again be in the firing line. SECRET DEPTHS (1) and MAYFERN (4) have money chances in a small but competitive field. (Warren Lenferna 2-3-4)
Preview: LADY WYLIE (1) starts from the best gate and if ignoring her last effort – could take a power of beating. RYANAIR (2) finally ran a good race last time. I say finally as I have liked this horse for some time and it was good to see her run a cracker – she can go one better. O SOLE MIO (4) is a natural quartet inclusion. (Warren Lenferna 1-2-4)
Preview: TAMBORA (1) has placed four from six starts and should not be a maiden for too much longer – he is the firm first choice. MIDNIGHT BADGER (2) also a 50% career place strike rate and is coming good quickly – if he were to win it would be absolutely no shock at all. NIXON (3) might still very well have much more to come and can finish in the money. (Warren Lenferna 1-2-3)
Preview: WORLDS YOUR OYSTER (7) is unbeaten two from two and clearly has lots of ability. He tries a new course and extra distance which should be no problem at all – he is okay drawn and is confidently selected to remain unbeaten after today’s race. YORKTOWN (3) is seldom far off the action and is the exacta choice and MAGIC MIKE (4) is holding form and is one for the shortlist but they might all find Worlds Your Oyster far too strong! (Warren Lenferna 7-3-4)
Preview: FOURS A CROWD (9) has won two out of her last three starts and comes into the race with a light weight again – she can follow up. PIPPIELANGKOUS (6) won very well last time and after taking time to win again could follow up very quickly – respect, she is quick! VELVET DAWN (1) is the value selection for the places. (Warren Lenferna 9-6-1)
Preview: RONALDO (2) looks ready to score! He is the winning selection. DOUBLE CHARGE (4) is lightly raced and surely has more to offer – he can get a lot closer today and if NAUGHTY BOY (5) behaves at the start he can improve some more – include in the quartet. (Warren Lenferna 2-4-5)
Preview: FLASH FIRE (9) is knocking loudly at the door and looks cherry ripe to secure her next career win. FLATWARE (6) is holding form and is a big runner. BIG SUZE (1) although finishing fourth last time, nearly won in the race won by Flatware –respect and include her in most bets. (Warren Lenferna 9-6-1)
Sands – going for gold
PUBLISHED: February 24, 2020
Golden Ducat’s half-brothers are no ordinary Grade 1 winners, they being Rainbow Bridge (Ideal World) and Hawwaam (Silvano), who need no introduction…
Eric Sands’ expertise as a trainer was highlighted by his win on Saturday in the Grade 1 Asian Racing Conference Commemorative Derby with Golden Ducat, who couldn’t be sold as a youngster due to a serious hock injury and might not have existed at all if Sands had not managed to nurture his mother Halfway To Heaven into a stakes performer after she had survived a number of incidents as a youngster.
Halfway To Heaven has now achieved the phenomenal feat of producing three Grade 1 winners with her first three runners.
Golden Ducat’s half-brothers are no ordinary Grade 1 winners, they being Rainbow Bridge, (Ideal World) and Hawwaam (Silvano), who need no introduction.
Sands’ biggest thank you after the race was reserved for Halfway To Heaven and in referring to her three Grade 1 winners from three runners he said, “When I was a kid my father was with George Azzie and Hawaii was there. He was out of Ethane who also produced William Penn. But I have never seen this before. I don’t know if it has been done before and I don’t know if it will be done again. She is phenomenal.”
Golden Ducat became his sire Philanthropist’s first South African-bred Grade 1 winner, although he did produce a Grade 1 winner in Canada before being imported to stand at Drakenstein Stud.
Rainbow Bridge, Hawwaam and Golden Ducat were all bred by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein Studs.
Craig Zackey rode a faultless race on Saturday to record his third Grade 1 win of the season. His previous two also came at Kenilworth, both for Adam Marcus. It was an eighth career Grade 1 for 25-year-old Zackey.
Golden Ducat lined up as the joint lowest rated horse in the field on a merit rating of 89 but, with just four previous races under his belt, had not yet had a chance to prove himself.
Sands believed the tall bay had run “way above” his merit rating in his previous start over 1500m which was “far short of his trip.”
He also pointed out he himself had won a Cape Derby before by avoiding features with an immature horse, although he was likely referring to Money Bags, who crossed the line first in 2006 but was later demoted after an objection.
Sands had previously won the Cape Derby with Jungle Warrior in 1988 and Grande Jete in 2001.
Zackey’s confidence was boosted on the way to post.
“He’s a big strapping fella with a huge action and knowing how Hawwaam and Rainbow Bridge get the ten furlongs I said to myself he is going to get it even better.”
Zackey, after jumping from draw two, settled him in the perfect position in midfield one out with cover alongside the favourite Silver Host.
The good pace suited the big gelding, as he was able to stride out throughout. He had plenty in the tank turning for home and produced a sustained finish to overtake and beat Sachdev by half-a-length.
Zackey is sponsored by Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein Stud. He had won a Grade 1 before in the colours of Jessica Jell’s Mauritzfontein Stud and on Saturday achieved the double he had longed for by winning a Grade 1 in the colours of Mary Slack’s Wilgerbosdrift Stud.
His association with the current champion breeders started around 2015 when he stuck with a filly called Nother Russia, who was so temperamental nobody wanted to ride her. Zackey spent hours of his spare time helping “horse whisperer” Malan du Toit school her as well as “showing her a lot of love”. One day her grateful owner and breeder, Jessica Slack, now Jell, said to him, “This is your filly until the end of her career.”
Jessica was true to her word and the Mike de Kock-trained filly won eight races under Zackey, including the Grade 1 Empress Club Stakes.
Zackey believes there is a lot more to come from Golden Ducat, describing him after Saturday’s race as a big baby who was still learning.
“The day he puts his head down and puts it all in you’re going to see a really good horse.”
Sands applauded Zackey for his ride and showed considerable emotion when thanking Mary Slack.
Golden Ducat was gelded in November last year after starting to become “a bit impossible”.
His mother had temperament issues too, as do both Rainbow Bridge and Hawwaam.
Gavin Walker, the former owner of Bush Hill Stud, bred Halfway To Heaven.
As a youngster she knocked herself out one day by running headlong in to a pole. She then survived a flood and she later cut herself badly on barb wire when escaping into a vineyard.
That all happened before being sent to Lisa Humby to be backed,
She was then went to Sands, where sore shins initially plagued her.
She was also nervous and “quite dangerous” and reportedly put two Sands’ stable employees in hospital.
However, with veterinary help for her shins she was able to win six races for Sands, including the Grade 3 Prix du Cap over 1400m.
She was then sold by Walker to Mary Slack and won the Listed Off To Stud Handicap over 1800m for Mike de Kock shortly before being retired to stud.
Walker had bought Halfway To Heaven’s grandam Our Elegant Girl on instinct when watching her antics at Scottsville one day. Her rider had fallen off on the way to the start and, astonishingly, she stopped, turned around and allowed him to remount, an unheard of happening in thoroughbred racing.
Halfway To Heaven is in-bred 3×3 to Northern Dancer through Jet Master and Rambo Dancer.
She should go on to smash more records as she has two more Silvano’s on the ground, a filly and a colt, as well as a Querari filly.
By David Thiselton
Golden Ducat now eyes the VDJ
PUBLISHED: February 24, 2020
It was his decision to geld Golden Ducat in November and to bring him back almost under the radar. “We had to geld him because he was getting impossible…
Golden Ducat put himself into the Vodacom Durban July betting at 25-1, and his remarkable dam into the record books, when realising his long-held potential after being backed from 16-1 to 10-1 in the ARF Commemorative Cape Derby at Kenilworth on Saturday.
Halfway To Heaven’s first three foals have now all won Grade 1 races – Rainbow Bridge and Hawwaam are the other two – and there is going to be some interest in the next one when the Silvano colt comes into the ring at the National Yearling Sale in April!
The Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein breeding operations are already entitled to take a bow but Saturday’s 10-1 win was also a triumph for Eric Sands who learned an invaluable amount about the complex mental make-up of the family when he trained Halfway to Heaven and won the 2013 Prix Du Cap with her.
It was his decision to geld Golden Ducat in November and to bring him back almost under the radar. “We had to geld him because he was getting impossible and I have won the Derby before by avoiding features with an immature horse,” he explained after greeting his third winner of the race following Jungle Warrior back in 1988 and Grande Jete in 2001.
It was the third Cape Town Grade 1 of the season for Craig Zackey – “Golden Ducat pulled me through the field without me pressing the button and he has a turn of foot as well,” Zackey enthused. “He still looks around but the day he puts his head down and puts it all in you are going to see a really good horse.”
An improving three-year-old, almost certainly still ahead of the handicapper, is what July punters dream about but, before you start comparing the pre-nomination prices, it would be prudent to wait until he is confirmed an intended runner – and that is not the case at the moment.
“I am going to discuss things with Mary Slack, Steven and Jessica Jell as well as with Jehan Malherbe,” said Sands, “and only then will we decide what we should do.”
The stipes provided an interesting footnote to Saturday’s race with their report that Anton Marcus had accepted the mount on Golden Ducat as well as on Cane Lime ‘N Soda who finished only seventh. Seemingly Marcus decided he should remain loyal to Robert Bloomberg and Ron Chetty but he was fined R1 000 by the stipes plus the same amount for exceeding the whip limit. Bernard Fayd’Herbe, fourth on Parterre, was fined R2 500 for the latter offence.
Kasimir has a busy Durban campaign ahead of him after confirming his champion sprinter status by repeating last year’s win in the Khaya Stables Diadem Stakes – but by God he had to fight for it.
Chimichuri Run threw down the gauntlet on his outer (Gavin Lerena: “He quickened when I asked him to and he fought all the way to the line”) while Aldo Domeyer drove Russet Air up the rails with all the intent and determination of a man possessed. “You always think you are going to get there and I had a great run”).
But Richard Fourie kept asking even when defeat was staring him in the face like a black-framed mirror, and his mount unhesitatingly answered every call. “l know he looked beaten but this horse has a secret weapon – he’s got heart. Also he is game, a true champion and an exceptional 1 200m horse.”
Justin Snaith, winning the race for the third successive season, added: “Kasimir has had a light season – just three races – so I will try and make up for it in Durban and have him a little busier than I might otherwise have done.”
Snaith also brought off a 40-1 shock with the Fayd’Herbe-ridden Crown Towers in the Selangor Jet Master but the puzzle of the day was Front And Centre’s running in the Vasco Da Gama Prix Du Cap. The favourite showed little interest leaving the pens – even when niggled at and pushed along – and for much of the seven furlongs she showed every sign that racing no longer held much appeal. Yet in the closing stages she ran on to finish an encouraging second.
“She didn’t muster any gate speed,” said Marcus. “But it was a better run than last time so I have got to be happy.”
Ridgemont and Brett Crawford still won the race with second string Pretty Young Thing (the first Group winner for Jackson) under an enterprising ride from Greg Cheyne.
BLOB The Asian Racing Conference delegates seemed most impressed with South African racing in general, and Kenilworth in particular, as they returned to their hotels in a fleet of chauffeur-driven Mercedes. An afternoon in the prestigious Peninsula Room undoubtedly helped but they appeared to be much taken with the racing, the crowds and all the attractions laid on for the public.
And it wasn’t only the ARC who were impressed. David Nagle, after leading in Kasimir with wife Diane, enthused: “Well done Kenilworth for the show they have put on.”
By Michael Clower