Last Of The Legend delivers
PUBLISHED: February 14, 2019
Champion trainer Sean Tarry knows his oats and Last Of The Legend delivered as he got the better of Lowan Denysschen’s luckless favourite High Green…
Last Of The Legend has a mighty reputation to live up to if he is to emulate the feats of his illustrious sire but he is on the right track as the son of Horse Chestnut kept his clean sheet in the seventh on the poly at Greyville yesterday.
From maiden triumph into winning an 80MR Handicap is no easy assignment but Champion trainer Sean Tarry knows his oats and Last Of The Legend delivered as he got the better of Lowan Denysschen’s luckless favourite High Green, his fourth successive runner-up berth.
Bottom weight and aided by a pedestrian gallop that largely nullified his position two off the fence for much of the race, Last Of The Legend was given a peach of a ride by Luke Ferraris who, in only his second year as an apprentice, is mature beyond his age when it comes to race-riding. He nursed his mount until challenged by multiple champion Anton Marcus on High Green, and then extracted just enough to win cosily in what turned into a sprint for the line.
It was not a win that earmarks a champion but it was still a very decent effort.
Yesterday was one of those days for punters as favourites got ‘rolled’ regularly and those backers that went wide in the exotics will have been well rewarded.
The upset trend was set in the card opener, although the winner Yaas, was not entirely unexpected with the Louis Goosen stable almost invincible at present.
Goosen was aided by apprentice Jason Gates, ‘up-graded’ to a 2.5kg claim last Sunday after recording the 20th winner of his fledgling career. He was worth every gram of his claim on Yaas as he kept the filly going just long enough to edge out two fast-finishers in Missibaba and favourite Sarabi, short heads covering the first four home.
Gates was back in the winner’s box two races later, as he scored a comfortable win on Miesque Sunrise for Wayne Bardenhorst, the first boil-over in the Pick 6 with the winner starting at 25-1.
Gates tracked the early pace with the balance of the field playing the waiting game, but once he set his mount alight, the pack was left flat-footed and his filly was never challenged.
If Yaas didn’t set the trend, then Flexible Fugitive did as Robbie Hill’s charge arrived at 30-1 in the second, Gareth Wright getting the gelding up on the line to edge out favourite and pacemaker Captain’s Alpha.
Final Attempt was the next favourite to go by the wayside as Donnan took command at the top of the straight under Muzi Yeni and hold off the attentions of the grey Master Sam, Mark Dixon’s yard showing a welcome return to form after a long battle with a virus. Favourite Final Attempt scraped into third to keep the majority of Place Accumulator punters in the hunt.
Red Shift was sent out favourite for the fifth but he was not striding out when the field crossed the line as Euphoric got the better of the well-fancied Collabro.
Bold Beauty, a 22-1 shot, added salt into any punter’s wounds who may still have been running in the exotics. Often a tardy starter, Bold Beauty got way on terms under Mark Khan in the sixth and after a ding-dong battle up the straight eventually got the better of Awesomely Tuned and Josephine Baker in a tight finish. It was a welcome winner for Duncan Howells who has languished in the second box on more occasions than he would care to remember this season.
It took eight races for some relief for favourite backers as Sean Veale got the Dennis Drier-trained Forthelastime home comfortably. Coming from off the pace, the gelding quickened smartly to out-pace Sovereign Solder and South Paw, who turned in an improved performance fitted with blinkers.
The PA payout of R43.30 belied the reality of the day as only a .09 percentage was paid out on the Pick 6.
By Andrew Harrison
Vaal Thursday Tips and Race Previews
PUBLISHED: February 14, 2019
Vaal Thursday February 14 Tips and Race Previews by David Thiselton…
Vaal Thursday Tips and Race Previews by David Thiselton
Preview: DONDERWEER (6) made a fair debut and can improve. ILLUSION (9) is by Var out of a three-time winning Kahal sprinter. RING OF FIRE (12) has gone close in all three starts. (David Thiselton 6-9-12)
Preview: WESTERN OASIS (11) disappointed over 1400m last time but if repeating his debut over this trip he is the one to beat. TINTAGEL (1) has the form to go close here. PHOENIX SUN (2) has improved and can earn if staying the trip. (David Thiselton 11-1-2)
Preview: MIGHTY HIGH (3) is a top class sprinter and is the one to beat here. PALACE CHAPEL’s (1) 1200m form looks excellent and he will be a threat. STATE TROOPER (2) is in fine form and will also pose a danger. (David Thiselton 3-1-2-9-4)
Preview: FLAPJACK (2) has been knocking on the door over 2000m and now tries a staying trip which is interesting being by the mile-and-a-half Group 2 winner Await The Dawn out of a Jet Master sprinter. BORN RICH (4) proved last time he stays this trip and could earn. ADOLFO (1) was running on over 1800m in his last two starts so should enjoy this trip. (David Thiselton 2-4-1)
Preview: SUGOI (5) is a strong and good looking sort and both of his wins have been over this course and distance. BRIGTNUMBERTEN (2) has dropped to a competitive merit rating and is 2kg better off with Sugoi for a 1,4 length beating. HEAVENLY RISK (3) showed pace last time before running out of steam and now has his third run after a layoff off an attractive merit rating. (David Thiselton 5-2-3)
Preview: MANITOBA (9) is distance suited and in hard-knocking form so should be in the shake up with a 4kg claimer up. DIVINE CONNECTION (8) ran on over 1400m last time and has a chance. ARLINGTON’S REVENGE was not suited to a pacemaking role in the Gauteng Guineas and could bounce back as he goes for a hattrick in ordinary handicaps. (David Thiselton 9-8-6)
Preview: CAPTAIN OF TORTUGA (2) is by Captain Al out of the top class Ebony Flyer and this progressive sort ran on well over 1450m last time so this trip should suit. LUMBER JACKAROO (7) won well last time after being backed in and can progress further. INDY ICE (8) took seven runs to win his maiden but his form over this trip reads well. PROTEA PARADISE (1) is by Dynasty out of a useful Redoute’s Choice sprinter so will be improving and might enjoy the step down in trip although he does have a big weight to carry. MAZARI (3) is the only filly in the field and ran a fair race over this trip on Saturday with a big weight. (David Thiselton 2-7-8-1-3)
Preview: PRINCE JORDAN (7) took well to this distance last time and can follow up off just a two point higher mark. CHEROKEE GREY (4) was not far behind Prince Jordan last time and now gets a 4kg claimer up. STREET FLYER (12), who has won twice over course and distance, has dropped to an attractive merit rating and looked to be drawn on the wrong side last time so can reverse form with Rocky Path and The Tin Man. REFUGE (8), who is 3kg better off with The Tin Man for a 2,7 length beating in his penultimate start, ran another good race over course and distance last time and has a similar draw. ROCKY PATH (6) has gone close in his last two attempts at this trip. WOTTAHOTTIE (11) beat a few here over course and distance in his penultimate start when a good second. THE TIN MAN (2) is talented but unfortunately is hindered by breathing issues and can’t be relied on. (7-4-12-8-6-11-2)
Preview: MANHATTAN COCKTAIL (5) finished fastest of all last time over this course and distance and was beaten only 1,1 lengths. MELCHIZIDEK (14) has always struck as one with ability and he did not look happy in some of his early season starts so is interesting ere now returning from a layoff which he could have benefitted from. GONE WITH THE WIND (4) is ideally suited to further but as one with breathing issues might appreciate coming down to a trip he is effective over. MASTER BOULDER (3) is one point higher than his last win, which was over this course and distance, although last time he was beaten by over four lengths by Manhattan Cocktail. SAVANNAH KING (9) has good form over the course and distance. (David Thiselton 5-14-4-3-9)
Captain Of Tortuga gets the nod
PUBLISHED: February 13, 2019
The Egoli Mile is the headliner and Captain Of Tortuga looks the one to side with. This progressive Captain Al gelding is out of the top-class Ebony Flyer..
The Vaal stages a nine-race meeting on the straight course and it looks to be competitive racing so the exotics might be the best way to play it.
The Egoli Mile is the headliner and Captain Of Tortuga looks the one to side with. This progressive Captain Al gelding is out of the top-class Ebony Flyer and caught the eye staying on over 1450m last time. He has plenty of scope for improvement. Lumber Jackaroo has caught the eye in both of his starts and including a win over this trip last time and can be a threat off a reasonable 77 merit rating. Indy Ice had some good maiden form and is also a threat with a low weight. Protea Paradise was beaten just a head at level weights by subsequent Cape Derby winner Atyaab over 2000m in December but this might be on the sharp side and he has to carry a big weight. The filly Mazari was not disgraced on Saturday against some good sorts and can earn.
In the first leg of the PA over 1200m the Grade 1 Allan Robertson winner Mighty High is well in at the weights on official merit ratings but might not have it all her own way. She has been touched off in her last two starts over 1160m when having to give lumps of weight away to the promising All At Once but could make amends here. She has pace, a good turn of foot and stays all the way to the line. Palace Chapel was not disgraced in fourth in the CTS 1200 when held up off the pace and running on so has a fine chance of upsetting Might High. In his penultimate start over this course and distance he beat Old Man Thyme, who then franked that form by winning a strong handicap next time out over 1100m. The imposing State Trooper has come into his own and is another who is in with a shout. Anneka is not far off Palace Chapel on Met day times if the weight she is receiving is taken into account. Witch Of The West is also a talented sort and should have benefitted from her last run, although that was over three months ago on November 1 when not far off a very promising sort. Mighty High looks to be a PA banker but there is a lot of talent in that race so going wider would not be foolish.
In the first leg of the Pick 6 Flapjack looks to be the best horse in the race and it is just a question of whether he will stay the 2400m trip. His sire Await The Dawn should have given him the necessary stamina genes although he is out of a Jet Master sprinter. He has a good record over 2000m so if ridden patiently from a high draw should get the trip. Born Rich ran well last time over course and distance and being by Noble Tune should be improving. Adolpho has run on well over 1800m in his last two starts and is another in with a shout. French Leave’s best recent run has been over 2000m so he might enjoy a further step up. Smart Deal had fine earlier form over staying trip and last time was just 0,25 lengths behind Born Rich over course and distance.
In the first leg of the Jackpot over 1000m Sugoi is by the disappointing sire Noordhoek Flyer but is a chip off the old block, being a well-muscled red chestnut and he has also been blessed with the speed of his father so he can make it a third win over this course and distance off a merit rating which still looks competitive. Brigtnumberten had his third run after gelding last time and bounced back to form when beaten 1,40 lengths by Sugoi. He is now 2kg better off and he will be involved off a merit rating which has dropped to an attractive mark. Heavenly Risk should be right there as he has not been disgraced in two Assessment Plates lately and has his third run after a layoff off a competitive handicap mark.
In the sixth race over 1600m, Manitoba looks the one to beat in a competitive handicap. He has been knocking on the door from 1400m to 1600m and now gets a 4kg claimer aboard. Divine Connection won his penultimate start comfortably over this trip and although raised six points he caught the eye next time out when staying on over this trip from a wide draw, beaten just 1,4 lengths by Manitoba who was better drawn. Arlington’s Revenge goes for a distance hattrick in ordinary handicaps. His last run in the Gauteng Guineas can be ignored as he was not suited to a pace-making role. Those three should get punters through the exotics.
In the eighth over 1400m, Prince Jordan has the strongest form and relished the step up to this trip last time so is the one to beat off just a two-point higher mark. Cherokee Grey ran well from a tough draw last time and also has a chance on the weight turnaround with Prince Jordan. Street Flyer and Refuge both enjoy the course and distance and should be thereabouts. Wottahottie and Rocky Path are others to consider. The Tin Man probably has the most ability here but is hindered by breathing issues.
In the last over 1400m, Manhattan Cocktail ran on strongly last time over this trip and if closer to the pace can get it right. Melchizedek has talent but has issues and he is interesting returning from a layoff which would likely have benefitted him. Gone With The Wind, Master Boulder and Savannah King also warrant consideration in a competitive event.
By David Thiselton
Brighteyebushytail back on track
PUBLISHED: February 13, 2019
It has been slow progress but Brighteyebushytail has shown signs of being back on track at recent outings although he will need to raise his game…
Duncan Howells once had high hopes for Brighteyebushytail, to the extent that he may have been good enough to aim for the Vodacom Durban July. However, a string of injuries and particularly hard hit by the virus that affected the yard last year, all plans were resigned to the dustbin.
It has been slow progress but Brighteyebushytail has shown signs of being back on track at recent outings although he will need to raise his game even further if he is to triumph in the seventh at Greyville today where he is on offer at a tempting 6-1.
He was hard-pressed to beat stable companion Who Says (Mauritius-bound) two runs back and was given a break. In his most recent start, he was running at them late, when third behind Hero Quest.
Winners have been difficult to come-by for the Howells yard this season and although the tally stands at a healthy 29, more telling are the remarkable stats of 40 second places and 35 third placings.
Brighteyebushytail’s last win was over course and distance so if he doesn’t manage to win, he should at least finish second!
He does face a competitive field including recent maiden winner Last Of The Legend, 3-1 favourite in the ante-post market and a smart winner on debut. Sean Tarry has tossed him in at the deep end and although he only has 52kg to shoulder, it remains to be seen whether he can take the rise in class and distance in his stride. Should he manage it he will definitely be a horse for the notebook.
Paul Gadsby’s mare Sarabi (5-2) is at the top of the boards in the card opener but given that the balance of the field is clustered around 5-1 in the market, bookmakers expect more than a few challengers. Missibaba is always game and Louis Goosen, whose yard is in mustard form at present, sends out recent winner Yaas and the speedy Imbali, the latter down four points in the ratings.
Candice Dawson is not a regular off-season raider but saddles Captain’s Alpha (5-2) in the second and has booked Anton Marcus for good measure. If one ignores Captain Alpha’s last two, and there were excuses, he could prove difficult to beat.
Robbie Hill, as a jockey will have ridden more odds-on chances that he would care to remember, but he saddles one in the form of 8-10 favourite Hey Jude in the third. Racing in the colours of former trainer Pat Shaw, who plied his trade in Singapore for many years and trained the now Summerhill-based stallion Ato, was no doubt swayed by Hey Jude’s breeding.
The daughter of Ato is well overdue for a victory and with Marcus staying aboard, she looks the part in the third.
Marcus rides another ante-post favourite in Final Attempt (2-1) in the fourth. Glen Kotzen’s runner has been consistent since shedding his maiden and was close up when taking on much stronger last time out. He looks the part in a weak field. There looks to be little between stable companions L’Histoire and Sharpe’s Eagle. Riding arrangements would indicate that L’Histoire is the pick of the pair but Sharpe’s Eagle looks more progressive.
In the fifth, there was only a neck separating Collabro (7-2) and Red Shift (16-10) when the two last met behind Sea Urchin. This was Collabro’s third run after a break and he could be the more progressive of the two and can turn the tables. Red Shift was the beaten favourite in that race. He is in hot form of late so there should again be very little to choose between the two.
Josephine Baker (15-10) is another due a change of fortune when she lines up in the sixth, a handicap over 2000m. She has not been out of the money since shedding her maiden and was a close-up third against stronger opposition last time out. She should put in a bold showing for Dean Kannemeyer. Shane Humby was content with his two seconds at Scottsville on Sunday, “they did all that was expected of them,” he said yesterday, but a win is better than second and he pins his hopes on the mare Roman Courtesan (28-10) who has her third run since a break and is back over a more suitable trip. Also strongly in the mix is Janice’s Secret (7-2) who was touched off at long odds last time out and has an undeniable chance if she can repeat that showing. This trio look to be the principal contenders.
In the last, the aptly named for this meeting anyway, Forethelastime (22-10), showed up well first run out of the maidens when taking on stronger and is still improving. He does not face a strong field and should make a bold showing. Of the balance, Line Of Control (10-1) found some betting support at his last start and did show improvement while South Paw (10-1) is an old campaigner who has not been far back at recent outings. He tries blinkers for the first time and this equipment sometimes has a sudden rejuvenating effect on older horses.
By Andrew Harrison
PUBLISHED: February 12, 2019
Coetzee said, “He was an absolute professional and was always looking for a different way to stay ahead. He was very committed, very smart and…
Douglas Whyte waved farewell to the most successful race-riding career in Hong Kong history on Sunday evening and fellow legend Felix Coetzee reflected on his prowess.
Coetzee said, “He was an absolute professional and was always looking for a different way to stay ahead. He was very committed, very smart and very competitive and together these made for a formidable combination. He was diligent and revolutionised the standard way of securing rides. Instead of waiting for first entries Douglas would know which horses would be suited to which races and he would then find out from trainers what the programs for the horses were. This required an extreme amount of planning because it must be remembered he had more than one choice, but he was very good at picking. As a rider even before he went to Hong Kong he had an incredible ability to get an excellent position for his mount from any draw. He was a very smart guy and opportunistic and he did his homework, so he would know the horses and riders and how the race would set up. He also had the ability to get horses relaxed and travelling smoothly with a good rhythm and his timing in the finish was brilliant too. If you just look at the last ride of his career on Sunday it is testament to what Douglas is all about. It was an absolute peach of a ride and the horse only lost because it was his first run in Hong Kong and he ran out of fitness.”
Whyte eased the French-bred Uncle Steve back after jumping from the widest draw of 14 in the 1400m event and soon had him relaxed with cover fifth from last. He turned for home on the rail and about three lengths off the lead. After initially being baulked he switched outward and looked a possible winner as he moved through the gap, but the horse then unfortunately ran out of steam and finished a 1,25 length fourth.
Whyte has been granted a Hong Kong trainer’s license and Coetzee believes as one with such high standards of professionalism he will succeed in this tough field too.
Coetzee was asked whether Whyte enjoyed celebrity status around Hong Kong and felt the best way to answer it was through a story about their joint family visit to the local Disneyland. He recounted, “Douglas and I were good friends but only off the course, on course we were professionals. We once took our families on a joint visit to Disneyland in Hong Kong. As is the tradition all the characters like Micky and Minnie Mouse and Goofy etc make an appearance while you are sitting to eat so the kids can pose and get autographs. Our kids were excited and got their autographs. And then Micky Mouse came over an asked Douglas for his autograph! I think that just about sums up the esteem in which he is held!””
Hkjc.com wrote – The 13-time champion jockey’s final ride did not produce the fairy tale victory that he and the Sha Tin faithful desired, but the day delivered heart-warming displays of respect and appreciation for a sportsman whose achievements have lifted him high into the pantheon of racing’s legends.
Whyte retires with a Hong Kong career total of 1,813 wins – 894 more than current champion Zac Purton – total stakes money of HK$1,587,210,086.67, multiple Group 1 scores and, of course, his defining 13 consecutive premierships (2001-2013). His win strike rate over more than 22 years riding at Happy Valley and Sha Tin stands forever at 14.78%.
The man they call the Durban Demon was “overwhelmed” in particular at the send-off he received from his jockeys’ room colleagues, for so long his unwavering rivals.
“Behind the gates (before the last race) it was quite emotional because the starter, Tony (Speechley), said a few words and all the jocks gave me a hip-hip-hooray, so it was a really nice send-off. You get a bit of a lump in your throat but I still had a race to ride,” Whyte said.
Whyte’s blank on his final day was not for the want of trying but did owe something to a stroke of misfortune. Two seconds were his closest placings – Mr Croissant in race two and Seven Heavens in the eighth – but the near-miss came when he rallied the impeded Storm Signal close home in the seventh contest, only to take third.
“I would have won the race,” he said. “That’s the only bittersweet ending to the day. I’d have loved to have had a winner but I’m happy with the way every horse ran and the way I rode every horse.
“I’m leaving on a high but I would have won on Storm Signal. I was just gaining momentum, I was coming to win the race and when you get knocked sideways like that – then the horse on my inside turned my hindquarters and he lost momentum and still picked up.
“Of course, I’m a sportsman,” he added, “you’d love to ride a winner on your last day but the main thing is the fantastic ending, the good reception from the crowd – every horse I thought ran well today.”
Earlier, Whyte received a silver dish and a commissioned painting from the Jockey Club. That came after race four, before a parade ring full of his weighing room colleagues, trainers, media, and family, with a few thousand appreciative spectators looking on.
“That was emotional. Thank goodness they didn’t give me a mic straight away because I wouldn’t have been able to speak. I don’t often cry but possibly I would have,” he said.
Zac Purton had set the tone for the celebrations before Whyte stepped out from the Parade Ring wings. The arch rival went down on one knee and “shoe-shined” the legend’s boots, to the huge delight of watching fans.
By David Thiselton