May Queen looks a pretty bet
PUBLISHED: September 18, 2019
In the first race over 1000m May Queen dwelt on debut over 1160m before taking a hefty bump. She then made up ground quickly without too much effort…
The Vaal Classic track has nine races for punters to look forward to tomorrow and there look to be some opportunities although it is generally competitive racing.
In the first race over 1000m May Queen dwelt on debut over 1160m before taking a hefty bump. She then made up ground quickly without too much effort before being run out of it late. She is a solidly built daughter of the promising sire Skit Skizzle and will take some beating if jumping on terms. The Sean Tarry-trained Dark Song makes most appeal of the first-timers. This Drakenstein Stud-bred filly is by the ill-fated Kingsbarns, who produced the Grade 1 winner Gabor in his first crop, and is out of a three-time winning Western Winter mare from 1000m to 1200m who was also Listed placed. She has been priced up as 3/1 favourite ante-post and May Queen is third favourite at 11/2.
In the second over 1000m Anatolio is the form horse of those to have raced but is no great shakes and will be vulnerable to any decent first-timer. Var Aglow is by Var out of Jet Master mare Jet Aglow, the Grade 1 Paddock Stakes runner up who also won a Grade 3 and Listed event, and Kennedy is an eye-catching booking. Bergerac is by Var out of a one-time winning Australian-bred by Dylan Thomas. Those two make most appeal of the first-timers. Bergerac has the Sean Tarry factor and has been priced up as favourite by WSB.
In the third over 1450m Fire To The Rein moved up well on debut over 1200m from some way back to be beaten only a neck. He should relish the step up in trip and is drawn well in two so will be hard to beat. Dads Roots has shown some ability and is well drawn in his return from a rest, gelding and a change of yard, so he could earn. Cairon is the only first-timer and makes some appeal being by Twice Over out of Sue For Peace, a five-time winning Western Winter speedster who has produced a two-time winner.
In the first leg of the Pick 6 over 1450m, Category Four is a progressive sort who would likely prefer further and has a tough draw. However, he has a nice action and is coming into his own so is selected as he is effective over this trip. Stop For Nothing showed good improvement with blinkers on over this trip last time when flying up from last to win his maiden. He has been accorded a reasonable merit rating and has a middle draw so has a chance of following up. Irrevocable Dream looks promising and should relish the step up in trip but he has not raced for 84 days.
In the first leg of the Jackpot over 1450m the improving Kapama could be the one to beat facing an uninspiring field. She has flown home in her last two starts over this category of trip to be beaten half-a-length and a length respectively and the small field should suit her as she will have less ground to make up. By the same token a small field will suit Black Tie, who was transformed last time by a change of headgear to blinkers and new front-running tactics. The other jockeys were caught napping in that race and off a reasonable opening handicap mark Tejash Juglall will try and repeat the tactic.
The sixth race could see a banker in Gemcutter, or it is otherwise wide open. The Var gelding won three out of four in Zimbabwe and on his South African debut he ran on well from an unfavourable low draw. He should have come on from that run and has changed yards to Paul Matchett. He has a fair draw of four and should be right there. Hartleyfour has always been well regarded and after finishing strongly to win comfortably over course and distance last time he can overcome a three-point raise. However, he does have a tougher draw this time so might have to be dropped out and will have to produce an even better finish. Snow In Seattle is also widely drawn but mowed them down from near last down the straight over 1160m in his penultimate start and off a three point higher mark should be able to go close if bouncing back from his below par run over 1000m last time. Hot August will finish close to Hartleyfour on paper being 1,5kg better off for a 1,5 length beating. Baahir is 3kg better off with Hartleyfour for a 2,75 length beating and this honest sort is capable of popping up.
In the seventh race over 1600m Ragoon was a promising sort at one stage and won three races but then lost his way a bit. However, he has now joined the high-flying Paul Peter yard and with Warren Kennedy up appears to be the stable elect. He is off a competitive merit rating and all three of his wins have been over this course and distance, although he does have a tough draw to overcome. Stablemate Defy Gravity has been knocking hard and is well drawn but the only concern is this trip is on the sharp side. I Am Batman has shown promise and put in good work late last time with first time cheek pieces on so could be involved. However, this race is very open and it is best to go as wide as possible.
In the eighth over 2000m topweight Jacko Boy makes plenty of appeal. She had to be switched last time and was making rapid inroads into Jive Express’s lead over this trip and is now half-a-kilogram better off for a head beating. She is progressive and can beat Jive Express with Always Red next best although there is very little between all three on paper.
In the last race over 2400m In For A Penny’s good draw will suit her front running style and she comes out well on form lines too. However, Gold Griffin and Slay The Dragon are must includes too.
By David Thiselton
Erasmus (Jnr) is warned off
PUBLISHED: September 18, 2019
Leon Erasmus (Jnr) was charged in that as a licensed trainer, he failed to provide a reasonable level of care and treatment to a number of these horses…
Trainer Leon Erasmus (Jnr) has been warned-off following an inquiry by the National Horseracing Authority (NHA).
The NHA confirmed that at an Inquiry held in Johannesburg on 6 September, and adjourned to 9 September to allow for further investigation, and concluded on 16 September 2019, trainer Leon Erasmus (Jnr) was charged in that as a licensed trainer, and responsible for the care, treatment and training of horses under his control, he failed to provide a reasonable level of care and treatment to a number of these horses who upon examination, were found to be in poor condition and showing varying degrees of neglect.
Erasmus was also charged for intentionally misleading the stewards by concealing the presence of certain horses and thus failing to provide access at his training establishment. These horses were under his care and concealed at the same time as an official stable investigation conducted at his premises on 28 August 2019. Subsequent evidence presented during the inquiry, showed these horses to be in a very poor condition.
After considering the evidence the inquiry board took into consideration the severity of neglect, as well as the fact that Erasmus (Jnr) had intentionally concealed these horses which had prevented the stewards from performing their duties. In determining suitable penalties and giving due regard to the serious welfare and integrity breaches of the rules, Erasmus’s trainer’s licence was cancelled on the first charge and was further issued a warning off on the second charge. A waning off notice means that Erasmus will not be able to set foot in another training centre or on a racecourse.
Erasmus (Jnr) was afforded the Right of Appeal against both the findings and penalties.
By Andrew Harrison
Kimberly lifeline in the pipeline
PUBLISHED: September 18, 2019
Media Release Phumelela Gaming and Leisure is delighted to announce that it is in negotiation with Gold Circle and other interested stakeholders to extend racing at Flamingo Park Racecourse in Kimberley beyond December this year. Phumelela announced recently that it intended to cease holding race meetings at Flamingo Park after the 9 December fixture there, […]
Phumelela Gaming and Leisure is delighted to announce that it is in negotiation with Gold Circle and other interested stakeholders to extend racing at Flamingo Park Racecourse in Kimberley beyond December this year.
Phumelela announced recently that it intended to cease holding race meetings at Flamingo Park after the 9 December fixture there, but potentially viable options to continue racing at the venue have surfaced since then.
Phumelela CEO John Stuart said these options were now being evaluated in conjunction with Gold Circle and other stakeholders, and that more details would be released soon.
Wrensch gets a career kick-start
PUBLISHED: September 18, 2019
“Since having that winner a number of people have said to me that they will look at having a horse with me come the New Year and the sales,”…
Breaking the ice with Captain Garett at Kenilworth 11 days ago seems to have given a kick-start to Peter Wrensch’s training career. Certainly it has brought him to the attention of people who were only vaguely aware of the new kid on the block – albeit new being something of a relative term. Wrensch is 60!
“Since having that winner a number of people have said to me that they will look at having a horse with me come the New Year and the sales,” reports Wrensch who celebrates his birthday on the anniversary of the day St Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland (March 17) and who became fully engaged in racing only six years ago.
“I was brought up in Durbanville and used to play on the racecourse with my friend Paul, son of the course manager Bill de Klerk,” Wrensch recalls. “I was always keen on horses but my father (sales director of a brick company) wanted me to become a chartered accountant and so, after doing my National Service in the Navy (I was a radar operator on a frigate), I went to UCT to study for a B.Com. But I soon discovered that I didn’t want to be an accountant at all and I dropped out after a year.”
“Instead I went into civil engineering, selling earth-moving equipment and PVC piping, but my passion was racing and I would ride work at Milnerton from 5.30am to 7.30am each day. I started riding at the Cape Hunt meetings in 1977, won the riders’ championship in 1989 and rode 20 winners in all.”
It was only in 2013 that he finally gave up the day job. “Ronnie Sheehan and Alan Higgins were sharing the same facility at the time and they asked me to give them a helping hand.” Higgins died the following year and Sheehan had no more than 18 horses. By the time he passed away last October they were only six left for his assistant to take over.
Wrensch now has ten plus two two-year-olds waiting in the wings. “Ideally you need 15 to 20 but you can survive on ten,” he says, assessing the economics of a small trainer’s operation. “I have no wife or kids to support – just horses. I have three staff and 12 boxes for which I pay R500-odd per stable per month – and at Milnerton there are a lot of empty boxes should I get those extra horses.
“I want to train 20 and at the moment my main patrons are Mauritian. We divide the horses into three categories – if they are decent enough to be competitive in Cape Town we keep them, if the handicapper gets to them we export them to Mauritius and if they are no good we dump them.”
In his assistant trainer days Wrensch had a reputation for entertaining the TV audience in winner’s box interviews (and for giving the presenters nightmares!) with his blunt no-holds-barred opinions. The Captain Garett one was tame by comparison – but expect a reversal to type in the future and Nevil Mu is one that the trainer confidently expects to put him in front of the cameras despite two recent flops.
“He ran very well on debut but the second time he was drawn on the rails and he spooked when he saw so many others coming over onto him in search of the better ground. He was stone last in no time. At Durbanville last week Muzi Yeni rode him but he was drawn 11 out of 12 and things didn’t go right at all.”
After so many years race-riding Wrensch tends to be critical of jockeys’ performances – and not for nothing was he known as Lester. But how did the nickname come about, I wondered? Was it because he rode so short or because he was so good?
Wrensch roars with laughter. “Neither. One day I was cantering down to the start when someone in the crowd along the rails took one look at me and shouted out: “Hey Lester. You will never ride a winner.”
By Michael Clower
Ultra Magnus to lead the charge
PUBLISHED: September 18, 2019
Ultra Magnus was super impressive when disposing of the more than useful Cumulus over the Hollywoodbets Scottsville 1200m last time out…
Brett Crawford’s satellite yard at Summerveld has been quiet since the end of Champions Season but with AHS vaccinations due and many horses on R&R this is not surprising.
But Crawford’s KZN assistant, Peter Muscutt, is starting to warm them up and the yard had two promising runners engaged on the Hollywoodbets Greyville turf this afternoon.
However, Baby Shooz in the card opener was injured in training leaving Ultra Magnus to lead the charge in the fourth.
Ultra Magnus was super impressive when disposing of the more than useful Cumulus over the Hollywoodbets Scottsville 1200m last time out but he takes a major rise in class when he lines up in the Track & Ball Progress Plate. However, his star appears to be on the rise after having only four starts for two wins.
Although this is a conditions race with set weights, Buffalo Soldier has been dropping in the ratings and is back over what appears to be his preferred course and distance.
Another serious rival is likely to be Desolate Road. Tony Rivalland’s charge was close-up in two features during Champions Season behind the smart speedster Van Halen and that form is good enough to make him a big runner in this line-up.
Recently turned three-year-olds take on older rivals in Gold Circle Podcast Graduation Plate, the card’s top-liner, and it could be a defining moment in the season.
In the first few months of any new season, it is often difficult for sophomores against older opposition, but as the season wears on, progressive three-year-old’s tend to get the better of their more exposed rivals.
Padre Pio, Tree Tambo and Justfortheepenny all look progressive and they will need to be a touch above run-of-the-mill if they are to feature against the likes of White Lightning, What A Blast and Pollard.
Padre Pio was a comfortable winner of a strong handicap at only his fourth start but Dennis Bosch’s charge did get lumbered with a six-point merit increase.
Tree Tambo makes his seasonal debut after showing promise last season, last time out touched off by the useful-looking Alibi Guy at Hollywoodbets Scottsville. He has not been out since then so the lay-off may be a factor for Sean Tarry’s runner. These two dominate the early market, joint favourites at 33-10, but Justforthepenny was not friendless in the market according to his connections when making his Hollywoodbets Scottsville debut. Nathan Kotzen’s runner came from a seemingly hopeless position at the top of the straight to get the better of Liverpool Champ who has since franked that form.
The shorter Hollywoodbets Greyville straight may be an issue but with that experience under the girth and only 53kg to shoulder, Justfortheepenny could prove juicy odds of 15-1.
Jacqueline has seen her connections collect a cheque in all of her six starts and she may be the one to beat in the Durban View Restaurant Handicap. She was narrowly beaten by Irish Wonder Girl at Hollywoodbets Scottsville last time out, that her first start in three months. She has run two crackers since being put over ground by Dennis Drier and she is already odds-on in the ante-post market.
Jacqueline is in receipt of 2kg from the six-time winner High Altar and although Duncan Howells’s mare does seem to prefer Hollywoodbets Scottsville, she was not far back in useful company last time out and could be the biggest threat to the favourite.
By Andrew Harrison