De Melo not lost his ‘bottle’
PUBLISHED: November 14, 2019
De Melo may have had to swallow the bitter pill of second in the first but in spite of escaping serious injury after an horrific fall at Scottsville…
There has been a recent changing of the guard at Dean Kannemeyer’s Summerveld satellite yard with long-time assistant Barbara Badenhorst, now Mrs Warren Kennedy, electing to sign up with her brother Wayne.
With seasoned trainer Alistair Gordon calling it a day at the end of the month to join Bloodstock South Africa on a full-time basis, Nicolette Roscoe, Gordon’s long-time assistant, has moved to fill Badenhorst’s shoes and Roscoe had a good first day at the office at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday.
The afternoon didn’t start to brightly as Warren Kennedy finally got the best out of the ever threatening Opensea in the card opener in which many thought was over a distance too short. But Opensea was not short of pace and making the running, Kennedy pinching a break at the top of the straight and Opensea kept firing to the line with the well-backed Lundy’s Lad not quite up to the challenge.
Keagan De Melo may have had to swallow the bitter pill of second in the first but in spite of escaping serious injury after an horrific fall at Scottsville last month, he has lost none of his ‘bottle’.
The Kannemeyer-trained Kapen Pride was well-back turning for home and apparently going nowhere in the fifth, but De Melo eased him off the heels of race favourite Noble Joshua, taking the gap between the favourite and race leader Pollard and punching hands-and-heels to a smart win yet narrow win.
De Melo had to work for his Kannemeyer crust in the seventh to get race favourite, Joseph Jagger home ahead of stable companion Slew City. Donovan Dillon appeared to have pinched a winning lead on the less fancied of the stable runners, but De Melo managed to extract a final burst down the ‘golden highway’ – outside of the Greyville poly track as Anton Marcus likes to refer to it – to catch Slew City in the shadow of the post.
Dennis Drier has kept faith in Escape Club and the five-year-old mare repaid in kind running as a smart winner of the sixth. Connect Me, going the trip for the first time, looked home-and-hosed inside the last furlong. But her rider seemed to get himself into a right tangle allowing Escape Club to live up to her name as she barrelled home down the ‘highway’ under stable rider Sean Veale.
Warren Kennedy is slowly but surely tightening his grip on his first national jockey’s title. At this early stage of the season he went into yesterday’s meeting 26 winner’s clear of nearest rival Greg Cheyne and extended that to 28 after he rode a clever race on Opensea in the card opener and a more comfortable win on odds-on favourite Down To Earth in the fourth.
By Andrew Harrison
Vaal Thursday Tips and Race Previews
PUBLISHED: November 14, 2019
Vaal Thursday November 14 Tips and Race Previews by Andrew Harrison…
Vaal Thursday Tips and Race Previews by Andrew Harrison
Preview: FLOWER SEASON (4) has finished runner-up in his last three outings getting closer every time. He could finally get it right here. NAZARETH (7) has been trying further. He shows good pace and the drop in trip could suit. FLAMING DUCHESS (5) is way better than her last run over further. She has done better over this shorter trip and has a chance on a repeat of her penultimate showing. (Andrew Harrison: 4-7-5-6).
Preview: Plenty of first timers here to keep an eye on the betting. Of those that have run, DIFFERENT LIGHT (16) takes on males but started odds-on on debut but only got going late. That form has been franked and she is sure to have improved on that showing. ROCK THE KAZAR (12) made a smart debut but the winner’s form prior to that was modest. He should however, come on from that effort. LOCAL KNOWLEDGE (2) was finishing well on debut. That was the four-year-old’s debut and he should improve. ROYAL ESCAPADE has been rested but has a useful apprentice up and is one to watch. (Andrew Harrison: 16-12-2-13)
Preview: AKWAAN (6) improved at his second start. The tongue-tie comes off and he can do better in a weak field. CITY DANCER (8) was much improved second time out. He can do better over this trip and Strydom is riding well for this stable. GOD OF THUNDER (3) is lightly raced and has his second run after a break. STONE JUDGEMENT (5) does seem better than his last two and can feature prominently. (Andrew Harrison: 6-8-3-5).
Preview: The betting could be your best guide here. VAR AGLOW (19) raced green in a promising debut and should come on lengths with the experience. WILLO’THEWISP (20) has put in two smart efforts to date and will be among the fancied runners. RIVER JORDAN (1) returns from a lengthy break but has shown some ability and can race fresh. COURT JESTER (9) was not far back on debut and is one to keep an eye on. (Andrew Harrison: 19-20-1-9).
Preview: OUR MAN FROM HAVANA (6) was narrowly beaten last Time out. He now tries blinkers and a tongue-tie and should go close in a weak field. BANHA BRIDGE (14) found market support on debut and was not far back. The extra furlong and the experience should bring him along nicely. ARNICA MONTANA (8) has turned into something of a bookies favourite and faded out when tried over further last run. The blinkers go on and he may be worth another chance although he cannot be relied upon. FIRE TO THE REIN (7) has the worst of the draw but can do better over this trip and is one to include in all bets. (Andrew Harrison: 6-14-8-7).
Preview: Small field but could turn into a tricky race. LACONIA (1) has had plenty of chances but does stay the trip, second three times, and is seldom far off them. She will never get a better chance. MISS CAP MALA (5) goes this trip for the first time and has not been far back. CARRY ME CARRIE (6) jumps in trip and could surprise. (Andrew Harrison: 1-5-6).
Preview: CELTIC SEA (1) and RETURN FLIGHT (2) both return from lengthy breaks but have plenty of class. Celtic Sea in particular goes well over this trip and should have too much class. Return Flight is much more comfortable over further but is classy and cannot be ruled out completely. ANCIENT SPIRIT (6) has come good at recent starts but faces an uphill battle at these weights as does SCENT OF EVENING (9) who has a light weight but takes on a top field. (Andrew Harrison: 1-2-6-9).
Preview: HAWWAAM (1) makes his long-awaited reappearance after his ill-fated trip to Durban for the Vodacom Durban July. This could be on the short side and the starting stalls will be the main issue but he has only been beaten once. CHIMICHURI RUN (2) is more at home over this trip and was close-up in his seasonal debut. He should feature prominently. REBEL’S CHAMP (3) is more at home over shorter but has been finishing off well and the extra furlong should not be a problem. WILL PAYS (5) has his third run after a break and is not out of it.
Preview: Tricky. RING OF FIRE (6) has turned in two top sprints over the distance at recent outings and should be thereabouts again. SILVER MASTER (3) is much better than his last start when hampered in the finish. He was an easy winner prior to that. SCOOP (1) has a big weight but has not been far back at recent outings. The tongue-tie goes on. TOP MAST (2) can do better than recent efforts but has been reported coughing on more than one occasion which is not a good sign. (Andrew Harrison: 6-3-1-2).
Plans for African Warrior
PUBLISHED: November 13, 2019
“African Warrior runs in the Concorde. I placed him well in Durban and then really exposed him for the first time in the Matchem…
African Warrior, ante-post favourite for both the Concorde Cup and the Cape Merchants at Kenilworth on Saturday week, will stick to his own age group in the mile race.
Dean Kannemeyer said yesterday: “African Warrior runs in the Concorde. I placed him well in Durban and then really exposed him for the first time in the Matchem. He was badly drawn but it was a fantastic run and I think his best performance so far, fifth behind horses like One World.
“He had good workout round the turn at Kenilworth before the first race last Saturday. Keagan de Melo rode him and he did pacework from the 1 400. He went well and I was pleased with him.
“I think he should get the mile of the Concorde, being by Vercingetorix out of a Jet Master mare. He is tough and sound and, although only small, he is as hard as a rock.”
Kannemeyer won the Concorde’s predecessor, the Selangor, six times in his first nine years as a trainer. “That was a long time ago – they still had black and white movies in those days,” he quipped but he also has Premiers Champion runner-up Liberty Hall, Seventh Gear and Sir Michael in the race.
“Seventh Gear will probably participate but, although I haven’t made a decision yet, it might come a little bit too soon for Liberty Hall. He had a slight travel sickness when he arrived back from Durban so we were a bit slow getting him going again and I gave him a run in a handicap up the straight on Tuesday last week.”
African Night Sky will have his first race since changing stables, and starting favourite for Justin Snaith in last year’s Vodacom Durban July, in the Cape Merchants. He then damaged a tendon, reportedly in transit from Durban, and this will be his first start for Kannemeyer.
The Milnerton trainer, who won the Merchants with 25-1 shock Honour The Guest 16 years ago, said: “We are trying to get African Night Sky ready for the Sun Met. He has had two grass gallops – he went to Durbanville and on Tuesday last week he did 800m pacework at Kenilworth. We will see how he comes out of the Merchants and take it from there.”
By Michael Clower
Hawwaam must pass the gate
PUBLISHED: November 13, 2019
Hawwaam contests a Pinnacle Plate over 1200m, a distance well short of his optimum trip, but he has suffered only a single reverse in a career spanning…
Anton Marcus makes the long trip to the Vaal tomorrow with one mission in mind – making sure that Hawwaam passes his test at the starting stalls.
Mike de Kock’s colt has always had temperament issues, boiling over in the paddock before the SA Derby and having to be scratched, and famously blowing his chances in the Vodacom Durban July after kicking the back gate and being withdrawn by the course vet.
De Kock said over the weekend that a lot of work has since gone into reschooling the colt and hopefully it will all pay off tomorrow.
Hawwaam contests a Pinnacle Plate over 1200m, a distance well short of his optimum trip, but he has suffered only a single reverse in a career spanning seven starts over distances from 1400m to 2000m.
The colt is a rare talent when his behaviour does not get the better of him and top class horses sprint and stay. Hawwaam should have too much class, even for a smart field of sprinters that are in opposition and the 2-1 offered by Track & Ball in the ante-post market look generous. De Kock, Marcus and a host of supporters will be relieved once the gates open and Hawwaam gets away on terms.
The opposition includes last season’s Gr1 Golden Horseshoe winner Chimichurri Run and should Hawwaam be caught out for what ever reason, Sean Tarry’s colt is there to pick up the pieces. He was on offer at 22-10 in the opening call with bookmakers obviously expecting him to give Hawwaam a race. Chimichurri Run has had the benefit of a pipe-opener, finishing under a length back to Prince Of Kahal in the Jo’burg Spring Challenge, so he will strip race-ready.
Rebel’s Champ (7-2) – is the only other runner in single figures – and Will Pays (12-1) are smart sprinters in their own right, but in spite of his lay-off and the 62kg on his back, Hawwaam should be difficult to beat, given that he does not blow the start.
Tarry gives three of his top runners their first run of the season in the International Jockey’s Challenge 16 November Pinnacle Stakes over 1400m. Celtic Sea, Return Flight and the mare Desert Rhythm are all smart performers but Celtic Sea looks the pick and will start at cramped odds.
She ended last season with wins in the Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint over 1200m and Gr1 Garden Province Stakes over 1600m on Vodacom Durban July day.
Celtic Sea was beaten in her last race of the season but put up what was arguably her best showing. Making nearly all the running in the Gr1 Mercury Sprint, she was only reeled in two jumps from the line by top sprinter Kasimir.
With Lyle Hewitson plying his trade in Hong Kong, Gavin Lerena takes over in the saddle and should get off to a winning start given that she is 5-10 in the market.
Hawwaam and Celtic Sea will be anchors in many an exotic bet but if they fluff their lines, pay-outs will escalate accordingly.
The first three legs of the Pick 6 are maiden plates with 20-horse fields, a recipe for a coupe of upsets if ever there was one.
In the opening leg, Akwaan can feature in a weak field. He improved at his second start and the tongue-tie comes off. He is a weak 9-2 favourite and 12-1 shot City Dancer could prove better value. He was much improved second time out and Piere Strydom is riding well for this stable.
Willo’thewisp, Var Aglow and River Jordan are the only three runners quoted in single figures for the fourth and with the balance of the exposed runners showing modest form and a host of first timers, this trio could see you through this leg of the Pick 6.
Our Man From Havana and Banha Bridge, both 33-10, are vying for favouritism in the fifth, and look the pick. A threat could be Arnica Montana (12-1). He has turned into something of a bookies favourite and faded out when tried over further last run. The blinkers go on and he may be worth another chance although he cannot be relied upon.
The sixth sees a small field line up over 2400m in what could be a tricky affair. Laconia has had plenty of chances but does stay the trip – finishing second three times – and is seldom far off them. She will never get a better chance although she shares favouritism with Miss Cap Mala, both 15-10.
Ring Of Fire (14-10) is at short odds to round off the meeting but it doesn’t look quite that straight forward. Silver Master, Scoop and Topmast and all upset.
By Andrew Harrison
Kildonan Bay to shade Alphonse Baby
PUBLISHED: November 13, 2019
Kildonan Bay has shown up well in both starts to date and put in a smart effort on debut over course and distance. The blinkers go on and Doug Campbell’s…
Punters face a testing card at Hollywoodbets Greyville today. It’s one of those cards where it is all favourites or a few bombers – the trick is to find the bombers which is not always easy.
The early betting suggests that the opening leg of the PA should rest between Kildonan Bay and Alfonse Baby.
Kildonan Bay has shown up well in both starts to date and put in a smart effort on debut over course and distance. The blinkers go on and Doug Campbell’s homebred should be good enough to at least see you safely through the first leg of the exotic bet. Alfonse Baby will be a threat after making good improvement second time out over course and distance and is likely to come on a little more with the experience.
The first leg of the Pick 6 is a Qualified Maiden where Seen The Light looks the part. Shane Humby’s charge has only had three outings, two close-up leading into this race, and he should prove difficult to beat.
The first leg of the jackpot looks a little more competitive but Down To Earth has improved with every outing and was narrowly beaten over course and distance last time out. A repeat should see her close again. Queen Of Beauty was a well-beaten second at just her second start but should make further improvement and will be a contender. Of the balance, Blush Of Dawn is seldom too far back and jumps from the best draw and it is good to see Ant Mgudlwa back in the saddle after his fall at Scottsville. Silver Wisp has only had one start and was not too far back. She should come on lengths from that effort and can surprise.
Noble Joshua bids for a fourth straight win in the fifth, a rare achievement in this day of merit rated handicaps. He took a 2kg penalty for his last win which could leave the way clear for Sea Dance who showed consistent form for Paul Peter and made a smart debut for his new yard. He is in receipt of 5.5kg from Noble Joshua and looks the pick of the pair.
Gary Rich has a small string but his horses are firing of late and Connect Me looks set for the sixth win of her career. She ran a smart race over a mile last time out and goes this trip for the first time. If she stays, she will be right there. Judging by the riding arrangements, Oratorina is the ‘right’ one of Gavin Van Zyl’s runners with Warren Kennedy aboard. However, she has not been out since April which is a bit of a concern whereas Sea Venture has had two warm-ups leading into this event and looks the pick of the pair. Dennis Drier sends out Escape Club who has taken time to come to hand following a lengthy lay-off. She is back over her best course and distance and the blinkers have been exchanged for a tongue-tie which could prove a key to an improved performance.
Joseph Jagger has made steady improvement since gelding and blinkers and although he takes to the poly for the first time, he could prove difficult to peg back in the seventh. Whateverittakes made good improvement at his second start and also makes his poly debut. But the trip will suit and he should show further improvement. Just Dixit is the highest rated runner but disappointed at his last two and flattered to deceive before that. Leave him out at your peril.
Finally, Agent Murphy has his third run after a break and from a good draw looks well set for the eighth. Danger could come in the form of Captain Cobalt who was never in the hunt from a wide draw last outing but was close-up at his previous start. He has a bright chance in a tricky race. Juniper Lane and At The Opera are others to consider.
By Andrew Harrison