Cheyne hits the road
PUBLISHED: March 23, 2020
Cheyne is second on the national log with 136 winners and 97 have of these have come at Fairview, almost all through his association with Alan Greeff…
Greg Cheyne, East Cape champion for the last three seasons and 62 winners clear this term, will continue to ride at every Fairview meeting as well as meet his Cape Town commitments despite the NHA’s request that jockeys and trainers should avoid air travel.
This was issued shortly after 4.00pm on Friday by which time Cheyne had already made the switch from plane to car and had driven the 750k from Cape Town the previous day. “It took me eight hours,” he said yesterday. “Coming back I split the journey in half, stopping over in Mossel Bay, and driving the other half on Saturday morning before riding at Durbanville.”
Cheyne is second on the national log with 136 winners and 97 have of these have come at Fairview, almost all through his association with Alan Greeff. M.J. Byleveld, also a Fairview regular, issued a statement to the Sporting Post on Saturday as spokesman for the Coastal Jockeys Association. This said that the jockeys will abide by the NHA request and added: “Some of the guys have already made plans to rearrange their riding commitments and to curtail regular travel.”
NHA chief executive Vee Moodley’s statement, issued in conjunction with the operators and others, did not give a specific must-obey instruction but said they “discourage all air travel of industry participants entering racecourses and training establishments countrywide, subject to the 14-day isolation period being complied with.
“We appeal to all persons involved in the racing industry to act responsibly and with integrity as your conduct and commitment is paramount to the continuation of racing fixtures. The established high risk element of airports, and the severity of the CoronaVirus, necessitates such drastic measures.”
The statement takes effect from today and follows hot on the heels of a front-page article in last Thursday’s Sporting Post. This called for urgent action to stop the infection risk posed by travelling jockeys and out-of-province grooms accompanying interprovincial raiders. It was backed up by Summerveld trainer Garth Puller saying: “We need to shut down the interprovincial movement flow immediately.”
Several Cape Town trainers could see the shutters coming down on their plans for the Durban season and Justin Snaith said: “It caused a bit of a scare among all of us. People have changed their float dates and horses are now en route.”
Snaith has already arranged to spend four months in Durban without coming home but several other trainers had planned to fly backwards and forwards. They could drive – at a considerable cost in terms of time – but the journey takes too long for jockeys. Regular visits from the likes of Durban-based Anton Marcus, Keagan de Melo and Donovan Dillon (plus Craig Zackey) may become a thing of the past, at least until CoronaVirus is no longer seen as such a threat to life.
By Michael Clower
Matthew The King is crowned on debut
PUBLISHED: March 23, 2020
Matthew The King, nibbled at from 12-1 to 10-1, was the first runner for 2014 Triple Crown winner Louis The King and the colt swept to the front over a…
Matthew The King could be Langerman-bound after making an impressive- albeit poignant – debut at a near-empty Durbanville on Saturday.
M. J. Byleveld’s mount, nibbled at from 12-1 to 10-1, was the first runner for 2014 Triple Crown winner Louis The King and the colt swept to the front over a furlong out, drawing away comfortably to beat 2-1 favourite Sh Boom by more than two lengths.
Greg Ennion said: “I had expected him to run very well even though he had only been on the grass twice, the first time just to have a look and the second to go a half-pace. Then I heard that Sh Boom was unbeatable so I took a step back and told the owner to just have places on the horse.”
Asked if the 1 500m Langerman on June 27 would be a possibility, the Milnerton trainer said: “Absolutely. He has a heart like a lion and he is definitely going to get a mile. His father won over 2 450m and his mother (Changing Heart who Ennion trained) won over 1 400m.”
This win meant a lot for Terry and Annabel Andrews who stand Louis The King at their Sorrento Stud and even more for owner Rocky Warby and his family. Their tragic story was related by Charl Pretorius in his Turf Talk newsletter only two days before the race. Son Matthew was born with heart problems and had to have two transplants, one at the age of eight and the second when he was 20, hence the name Changing Heart. Sadly he died six years ago at the age of 23. Saturday’s winner will ensure that be brings a lump to collective throats whenever he runs.
This was the first behind-closed-doors meeting to be run in Cape Town. “It’s an absolute ghost town,” declared Justin Snaith. “And there are no TVs anywhere bar the one in the weighing room.”
But that didn’t stop the dual champion trainer landing a quick double with Captain’s Ransom and Double Reward to take him just ten short of his 16th consecutive century.
Suzanne Viljoen’s newcomer Captain’s Ransom was particularly impressive. When Keagan de Melo pressed the button the unconsidered 16-1 shot took off like a rocket leaving Cape Canaveral, and she covered the final furlong nearly 10kph faster than anything else. “I was very surprised,” said Snaith. “I thought she would be a bit green and would need further while the favourite (Fiftyshadesdarker) looked unbeatable on form.”
Owners were barred (as were the racing press) but Al Wahed’s owner David Curran travelled to the course and took up position in the trees on the other side of the fence. The only snag was that he was unable to tell who had won when Richard Fourie’s mount was involved in a three-way photo for the 1 000m handicap. He had to rely on a call from Mike Stewart who deserves considerable credit for keeping the gelding’s enthusiasm. – the eight-year-old was giving three years to the rest of the field and set a new class record. “He is a bit like me,” said the Noordhoek trainer. ”We are both old staggerers!”
There was no sauna so Craig Zackey was unable to get within striking distance of 53.5kg in the 2 400m handicap. Anthony Andrews proved a more than capable substitute on Winter Shadow and 35 minutes later Zackey delivered Al’s My Daddy late to decisively complete a quick double for Adam Marcus with his only two runners.
Uncle Anton was also on the mark on the Brett Crawford-trained Heaven’s Embrace in the 2000m handicap while De Melo sent Eric Sands home happy by landing the last on Midnight Badger.
By Michael Clower
Born To Perform is king
PUBLISHED: March 23, 2020
That could change after yesterday’s win, but given the close margins, Born To Perform could still be running under the radar heading into South Africa’s…
Born To Perform, almost written off as unmanageably early in his career, has paid dividends to those that have held faith as he landed the Kings Cup (Listed) at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday.
The grey, a throw-back to his dam and Vodacom Durban July winner Dancer’s Daughter, now boasts a 50% winning strike rate from his 12 starts after yesterday’s win and given that Dennis Bosch can keep a lid on his hot temperament Born To Perform could have a bright future in the last few months of the current season.
The win was watched by more on television at home than on a deserted Hollywoodbets Greyville, but Bosch has picked his races carefully and Born To Perform is still at the bottom of the handicap when it comes to the higher echelons.
That could change after yesterday’s win, but given the close margins, Born To Perform could still be running under the radar heading into South Africa’s Champions Season.
Crown Towers left S’Manga Khumalo standing in the gate and was declared a non-runner, but Kennedy had Born To Perform settled nicely towards the rear of the ‘peloton’.
Born To Perform got a perfect split up the centre and champion jockey elect Warren Kennedy punched him through to win well. DD’S Dynasty also finished with a rattle but not fast enough ot catch the flying grey.
Eric Ngwane has had a tough time breaking back into the local ranks after a spell in Mauritius and it has been a long time between drinks since. That said, his laundryman would have been in business after he steered outsider Saint Philip to an upset win in the opening leg of the Pick 6.
A Garth Puller inmate, Saint Philip appeared to stumble badly at around the 1200 m mark but Ngwane stayed aboard and got his mount back on an even keel. Saint Philip then rocketed through to out-gun another outsider, Glacier Rush, and a very green San Verde getting up for the shallow end of the purse.
Apprentice Jabu Jacobs is on a roll and he added another three winners to his total towards shedding his claim with a hard-fought treble, his second in recent weeks.
The proof in the pudding always comes when the claim is lost but Jacobs has the right personality and the talent to make it over the line as a fully fledged rider.
That is all in the future but he cleverly slipped Baccino through up the inside fence for Mike Miller to land the second on the 14-1 shot, and then showed his worth in a tight finish to get Paths Of Victory up to deny Marchingontogether in the next, a race marred but a pedestrian early pace.
Jacobs and van Zyl were back in the winner’s enclosure thirty minutes later. Fellow 4kg claimer apprentice Yuzae Ramzan made him work harder for this win. Ramzan led all the way aboard Admirals Guest until the last jump where Jacobs got another outsider, Noble Joshua, up in the last stride.
Richard Fourie may have blanked with the first of Justin Snaith’s runners for Champions Season as he gave Knights Templar the perfect ride only to finish out of the back door, but it did not take long for him to make his mark. Yogas Govender’s gelding We Light The Fire had a short fuse and Fourie produced him with a telling late run to win the seventh as he liked.
Apprentice Thabiso Gumede got a late call to replace Warren Kennedy aboard Fives Wild in the last and it was a ride well worth it as Kom Naidoo’s runner bolted clear over the final 20 furlongs to comfortable get home ahead of Rocket Fire and Jardin.
By Andrew Harrison
Punters to do their homework
PUBLISHED: March 18, 2020
The ninth race, a Graduation Plate for fillies and mares over 1 450m, is the most fascinating contest of the meeting as it sees some good horses turning…
The Turffontein Inside track stages a nine race meeting tomorrow which should produce rewards for those who do their homework.
The ninth race, a Graduation Plate for fillies and mares over 1 450m, is the most fascinating contest of the meeting as it sees some good horses turning out.
Wylie Wench is way out at the weights on official merit ratings but has not had a chance to prove herself yet.
She caught the eye when winning her maiden over this course and distance as she was caught wide in the running, yet still managed to move into the lead effortlessly. She then wandered around, so clearly does not yet know what it is all about, but she surged when given a backhander to win cosily. She has considerable scope for improvement and might upset Rio’s Winter, who comes off two excellent runs in the Grade 2 Gauteng Fillies Guineas and the Grade 1 SA Fillies Classic.
This might be a touch sharp and does come quite soon after those tough races. Wisteria Walk has a lot of talent and this is her probable optimum distance but this is her first run back from Cape Town.
Kayla’s Champ has ability and is capable of finishing strongly. Golden Belle also warrants respect.
In the first race over 1 450m Forever Light opened up the biggest outsider in this race but he faced a relatively strong field on debut and was not disgraced when staying on for a 9,75 length seventh to the fair sort Karnallie. He finished just a length behind The Contractor in that race but was finishing stronger, so the World Sports Betting opening odds of 33-10 for The Contractor and 28-1 for Forever Light do not make any sense at all.
Forever Light should be improving all the time being by Duke Of Marmalade.
He is out of the Jallad mare Murmering Sky, who won twice as a two-year-old from 1 200m to 1 450m and later finished second in the Grade 3 Flamboyant Stakes over 1 600m, so he should relish the step up in trip and has a fair draw. The gelding will be ridden by leading apprentice Dennis Schwarz. Stablemate Champingatthebit was slowly away and outpaced on debut over 1160m but was staying on at the finish. He has a plum draw here and could earn. Takagari was narrowly beaten by The Contractor when making his debut over this course and distance. However, he was dropped out from the widest draw of all and made up a lot of ground from way back so he could reverse the form.
The Contractor and The Eighth Lord both come out of that race and can earn here.
The second race over 1 450m is tricky. Swiss Bank faced a strong field on debut over 1 160m and beat the like of Rabbedoe, who went to be feature race placed.
Powder Puff moved up last time over course and distance but appeared to not try very hard and was reported not striding out.
The blinkers now come on and this could wake her up so she is tipped to reverse form with Mynage and With Our Blessing. Mynage does look to have scope so should be improving and it will be no surprise to see her win despite having to jump from a tough draw.
In the third race over 1 450m Dice The Bullet looks to have plenty of scope and was moving up well last time over this course and distance when she was put off by the sudden outward shift of Stunning. She could reverse the form here from another good draw.
Stunning was bumped at the start in that race and was later carried out.
She finished just a length behind the promising sort Wylie Wench, although the latter didn’t have the run of the race and still won comfortably.
She has a fair draw and Strydom stays aboard.
Hot Gossip went for home too soon in first time blinkers last time over this course and distance and was overtaken and beaten six lengths by the promising Viper Jet. With a more conservative ride she could be in the shake up from a fair draw.
Psycho King has a good form chance in the next over 1 600m having been beaten just a length by Nebraas last time over 1 800m. The latter went on to finish second in the Listed Derby Trial over 2 000m.
Psycho King should be bothered by the step down in trip as he hit the front early last time and was caught late.
Crank It Up went close over 2 000m in his penultimate start and then after gelding went close over 1 400m.
He now gets blinkers on over a step up in trip he will appreciate and should be a big runner from a plum draw. Waltzing Al can place here on form.
In the fifth over 1 600m the much touted Marshall sneaks into the handicap carrying the minimum weight and could make a bold bid, although he remains disappointing considering his sparkling homework. This could well be his ideal trip.
Indy Go was beaten 1,45 lengths by Marshall the last time they met over this trip and is now half-a-kilogram worse off. He is officially 1,5kg under sufferance but has the ability to still be right there.
The talented Dan The Lad easily win over 1 450m here last time and enjoys this course but this trip stretches him a touch. However, he is drawn well and at the age of six might start enjoying this trip so has a chance.
In the sixth race over 2 000m Marshall Foch is in fine form and although given a seven point raise for his comfortable win over 1 800m in yielding going last time Christopher Robin came out of a well beaten position in that race to win the Listed Derby Trial.
Fact is just three points higher for his good win over this trip last time and has a plum draw.
The long-striding Glider Pilot would probably prefer the Standside track but enjoys this distance and has a shout.
In the seventh race over 2 000m Gentleman’s Wager has always struck as a progressive sort and he has a fine turn of foot. He is versatile and will enjoy this trip. Major Return will have a chance if breaking well as he is a touch one-paced but is effective from the front or a handy position.
Zeal And Zest ran well behind Marshall Foch last time considering he lost three lengths and he has won a win and a second in two starts over this course and distance.
In the eighth over 1 000m Waimea showed good pace when winning his maiden over 1200m in second time blinkers. He now has pole position over 1 000m and runs off a reasonable opening mark of 76. Undisclosed has a similar profile, having won his maiden over 1 200m by 2,50 lengths when showing pace and he runs off a 77 merit rating from a fair draw so there won’t be much in it.
However, they might be split by Pearl Of Siberia who returns to his favourite course and distance.
• Due to the Coronavirus outbreak and in line with Government regulations, all race meetings around the country will take place behind closed doors until further notice.
The general public will not be allowed access but all races will be shown live on Tellytrack, DSTV channel 239.
• To take a bet go to TABgold.co.za
By David Thiselton
Head Honcho retired
PUBLISHED: March 18, 2020
Andre Nel said: “I think the writing was on the wall when he disappointed in his previous race but he had run the race of his life in the 2019 Met…
Head Honcho, winner of last season’s WSB Premier Trophy and beaten less than a length when third in the Sun Met the following month, has been retired.
The six-year-old finished last in this year’s Met, the final one of his 23 starts and Andre Nel said: “I think the writing was on the wall when he disappointed in his previous race (the Green Point) but he had run the race of his life in the 2019 Met and it is hard to run like that two years in succession.
“He won nine races, four of them stakes races, so he earned his keep. He is still on our West Coast farm but we are looking for a home for him. I would like him to go somewhere he can compete because that is what he likes.”
Stable companion Capoeira, third in last season’s Daily News and more recently second to Crown Towers in the Selangor Jet Master, will renew rivalry with that winner in the Kings Cup at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday when he will be ridden for the first time by Anton Marcus.
Nel said: “Hopefully Anton can give us an opinion on the horse because we have had conflicting views from the jockeys who have been riding him recently.”
By Michael Clower