General Franco impresses on debut
PUBLISHED: April 17, 2019
Fourie said: “He wasn’t giving me any sort of feel early on and I thought to myself ‘He is probably going to need it.’ Going through the 400…
Frankel is going to leave his mark on South Africa and General Franco’s impressive debut at Kenilworth yesterday indicated that he is going to be one of those to do it.
Miss Frankel has won a Listed race but, with all due respect to her, the CTS sale-topper looks as if he is going to be in a different league. A chestnut, with three long white socks, he started favourite for the opening Maiden Juvenile Plate and accelerated like a machine to lead 200m out to romp away and win easily. When Richard Fourie glanced left there was nothing there. The official margin over second-placed Three Two Charlie was three and a half lengths but even that hardly did justice to the impression he created.
Fourie said: “He wasn’t giving me any sort of feel early on and I thought to myself ‘He is probably going to need it.’ Going through the 400 he saw daylight and then he was a completely different horse. He wanted to be in front and he picked it up so quickly that he carved through the field and ran all the way to the line. He caught me by surprise but he is a quality horse and he is going places.”
He was meant to be doing that in the Listed race on Met day and he was favourite when sore shins forced his withdrawal. He was bought as a yearling for R4 million by John Freeman for Jack Mitchell and his daughter Nancy Hossack. Mitchell is in America being treated for serious illness and, as Freeman said, this performance will be a massive tonic.
“We are not comfortable paying that sort of money for horses, especially with the current stakes, but he has now proved that he was a good buy,” said Jono Snaith. “He is a horse we would like to earmark for the Cape Guineas and if he continues like this he could be a stallion one day. We might now put him away for a bit. Certainly we won’t go for all the juvenile features. He might run in one of them but that would be all.”
The stable failed to follow up with the much vaunted Amy Johnson in the fillies equivalent. She seemed to have trouble going the pace but ran a highly promising third. “She is lovely,” said Fourie. “She is not a five furlong horse but I was impressed that she was able to keep up.”
The race was won by the Fosters’ well supported Mirage, a R500 000 Captain Al confidently handled by M.J. Byleveld. “She is special and I think she has a really bright future,” said Vaughan Marshall. “She will go a mile so we are in no hurry with her.”
S’Manga Khumalo took a crashing fall when Ibra fell – for no obvious reason – in second place 100m out. He lay on the ground for quite some time and was taken by ambulance to Rondebosch Hospital reporting of a headache and a sore neck plus a possible left thumb injury.
By Michael Clower
El’ Zara is an opening gift
PUBLISHED: April 17, 2019
Louis Goosen’s filly takes on what is a fairly modest field of maidens after putting in two promising sprints against her own age group…
El’ Zara could become the first two-year-old to win in open company in KZN when she lines up in the first at Greyville this evening.
Louis Goosen’s filly takes on what is a fairly modest field of maidens after putting in two promising sprints against her own age group and bookmakers have her in the red.
Both starts were on the turf at Scottsville and she showed good pace before being run out f it late. The switch to the poly should be beneficial and she can get the better of She’s A Crusade and Variety Concert.
Belther, beaten a nostril by stable companion Popova last time out is at the top of the boards along with Ruby Slippers setting Lyle Hewitson up against Anton Marcus. Alistair Gordon’s came from well back when beaten by Popova and Ruby Slippers has been knocking at the door for Doug Campbell.
Better value could be the 6-1 about La Duchesse. Paul Gadsby filly has improved since racing in blinkers although her last run is best ignored as she was run into from behind and eased out of the race. She has the best of the draw and goes well on the poly.
Caliente is a weak favourite for the fourth and makes a return to home turf in the fourth after a largely disappointing spell in Cape Town. However, he was up against stronger when fourth behind Grand Silvano and he will have his supporters.
Hewitson teams up with the Duncan Howells runner Jet Stream who is having his second run after a break and looks fair value at 7-1 in the market. He made most of the running before behind run down late over the Scottsville 1950m and a switch to the poly over a shorter trip should make him a big runner.
The fifth is something of a punter’s nightmare with any number of runners in with winning chances. However, Philae is long overdue another visit to the winner’s enclosure after running up a string of places, mostly against stronger opposition than what she meets tonight. The handicappers have been reluctant to drop her in the ratings because of her consistency but she has plenty in her favour here. Marcus has stuck with Nattie Kotzen’s filly Master Keys after her convincing win last time out and the stable is in form with Cumulus carrying the same colours to victory at Scottsville on Sunday.
Wayne Badenhorst is quietly making a name for himself and Isovar steps out under is care for the first time in the sixth, the filly acquired off the Chris Gerber dispersal and previously trained by Alec Laird. She has some patchy form but two of her most recent outings have been in Assessment Plates where anything can happen.
Candice Bass will be looking to Hopeful to open her winter season account after a smart last outing at Durbanville but she does appear to be a better proposition over a mile and further.
The last two races look nigh impossible to peg down with any confidence but Mambo Lyric was a close-up second to the well-fancied Mocha Rose last time out and could fit the bill in the seventh while Louis Goosen has three runners in the last with Yaas and Bravo Zulu the likely pick but with bookmakers offering 9-2 the field, punters should know what they are up against.
By Andrew Harrison
Rural racing hero joins the Academy
PUBLISHED: April 16, 2019
Therefore, Philisande arrived at the Academy with experience in riding “short” (short stirrup straps and thus high in the saddle) at a flat out gallop…
The 90-winner rural racing hero Philisande Mxoli was accepted into the South African Jockeys Academy (SAJA) at the beginning of the year and is already making an impact riding work.
Philisande, now 20-years-old, started riding in rural races in the Eastern Cape at the age of thirteen.
Unlike KZN rural racing, in which the racing gait is limited to trotting, the Eastern Cape has races in both galloping and trotting gaits.
Therefore, Philisande arrived at the Academy with experience in riding “short” (short stirrup straps and thus high in the saddle) at a flat out gallop.
Furthermore, he clearly has BMT as he has won the “Berlin November” twice. The latter is the equivalent of the Vodacom Durban July in Eastern Cape rural racing. His winning mounts in the Berlin November were Remember and Final Judgement (not to be confused with the former Glen Kotzen-trained filly of that name).
The rural races take place on fields, as opposed to the racecourses of professional racing, and the distances Philisande was racing over were 1000m, 1200m and 1400m.
Philisande has taken well to the Academy and is enjoying himself.
Lopez Mogongo and his team look for Academy candidates around the country every year and do the assessments. Philisande was one of two picked from the rural racing organisation. He was accepted as he had the right physical attributes, he did well in the fitness tests, he had natural balance and his experience counted in his favour as he already had good hands.
He has been the first of this latest in-take to make it to track and has been riding at Ashburton for the like of Duncan Howells and Belinda Impey and also for private trainer Doug Campbell.
He has impressed a number of watchers and has already been given the responsibility of galloping horses on the grass.
Philisande spoke of his appreciation for this opportunity and said he had been working with the riding masters on adapting his style.
Riding Master Laurence O’Donoghue said, “He is doing very well. He has nice hands and is a good horsemen and is a quiet well mannered and respectful young man. We like him a lot.”
Philisande said he was expecting to have his first race ride next year.
Meanwhile, Joshua Solomons had his first race ride on Sunday at Scottsville, finishing unplaced on the Michael Roberts-trained Master Of Fire over 1200m in a Maiden Plate.
O’Donoghue said this Capetonian now had promise, having overcome some early trials and tribulations as one who had never sat on a horse before arriving at the Academy.
On Thursday Gabriel Pieterse will be making his debut on the Grant Maroun-trained Singaswewin in an Apprentice Handicap over 1000m at the Vaal. Gabriel hails from Lusaka in Zambia. He was a Zambian champion motocross rider and also played polocrosse, so arrived with riding experience.
Two apprentices, Cole Dickens and Tyrell Maharaj, are presently in the UK. They are there for four weeks to complete the International Apprentice Course at the British Racing School campus in Newmarket.
SAJA has partnered with the British Racing School (BRS), through funding from The Childwick Trust, which enables two of its Apprentices to have such an opportunity annually. Cole and Tyrell are the fourth set of South African Apprentice Jockeys selected.
The pair will be based in Johannesburg after arriving home and will start riding in races immediately.
By David Thiselton
South Africa’s Champions Season
PUBLISHED: April 16, 2019
The Independent On Saturday evening race meeting at the Theatre of Champions on Friday, May 3, will open the feast of 51 feature events…
With a feature race stakes pot of some R30-million for owners and another R17-million also available to them for supporting events during the three-month feast of high-class thoroughbred racing from May to July, South Africa’s Champions Season in KwaZulu-Natal is ready and set to blast off at Greyville in Durban at the end of next week.
The Independent On Saturday evening race meeting at the Theatre of Champions on Friday, May 3, will open the feast of 51 feature events that will attract the best horses from the leading stables in the country, promising racegoers, general racing fans and the average public plenty of excitement and entertainment throughout the three-month programme.
Champions Season, one of the biggest and most comprehensive festivals of racing in the world that attracts international interest, includes feature race involvement of all categories of racing from the exciting juveniles to the mature stars over distances from 1 000m to 3 200m with Africa’s greatest racing event, the world famous R4.25-million, Vodacom Durban July, standing out as the iconic centerpiece of the festival and the 13 Grade 1 races to be run.
A total of 34 graded races will be staged with the R600 000, Grade 2 KRA Guineas, R500 000, Grade 2 KRA Fillies Guineas and the R500 000, Grade 2 Independent On Saturday Drill Hall Stakes getting the festival action under way.
Traditionally, the R500 000, Grade 2 World Sports Betting 1900 at Greyville on May 18 is where the preparation for the Vodacom Durban July begins “on site” and over the years a number of runners that have won the tough 1 900m race have gone on to win the premier event.
There are five “super” days during the season, the first being the unique Tsogo Sun Sprint meeting at Scottsville in Pietermaritzburg on May 25 where four Grade 1 sprints over 1 200m will be run. The best speed horses in South Africa gather at the venue for the R1-million Tsogo Sun Sprint, the R750 000 South African Fillies Sprint and the first two Grade 1 events for juveniles, the R750 000 Gold Medallion and the R750 000 Allan Robertson Championship for fillies.
The country’s top three-year-olds take centre stage a week later on June 1 in the R2-million, Grade 1 Daily News 2000 and the R1-million, Grade 1 Woolavington 2000 at Greyville. It is from the three-year-old ranks that the champions of the future emerge and a number of winners at this meeting have gone on to win the Vodacom Durban July, other major events and international success.
The battle for a place in the final 18-horse field for the Vodacom Durban July will close on June 8 with the running of the R1-million, Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge and the Grade 3 Cup Trial with the meeting also featuring the Grade 2 Tibouchina Stakes and six other exciting feature events.
With the feature programme continuing at pace over the following weeks the Grade 2 Post Merchants will provide a “sprint breather” before the Track & Ball “Derby” and Track & Ball “Oaks” at Scottsville with the KZN Breeders Club adding excitement to the festival with the eight-race programme for horses qualifying under the terms of the KZN Breeders Series headed by the R1-million KZN Breeders Million Mile.
Vodacom Durban July day dawns on Saturday, July 6, when some 50 000 excited fans will fill the Greyville racecourse for the 12-race feast headed by the R4.25-million, iconic Grade 1 “July” over 2 200m. With an exciting entertainment programme, fashion shows and parties raging in the massive marquee village, racing goes through to the evening including the R1-million, Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes and the two Grade 2 Juvenile clashes over 1 400m, the Durban Golden Horseshoe and the Golden Slipper.
The racing action continues through July and includes the New Turf Carriers Rider Cup where provincial teams will do battle before Champions Season comes to a dramatic close with the grand finale on Saturday, July 27, featuring the famous R1.25-million, eLAN Gold Cup over 3 200m, the R1-million World Sports Betting Champions Cup over 1 800m, the R1-million Grade 1 Mercury Sprint, the Grade 1 Premiers Champion Stakes and the Grade 1 Thekwini Stakes, both worth R750 000.
Oh Susanna’s future uncertain
PUBLISHED: April 16, 2019
He said yesterday: “That was my final effort and I won’t be doing it again. There are certain things in life that you can beat but unfortunately…
The racing future of Horse of the Year Oh Susanna hangs in the balance after the 2018 Sun Met winner managed only fourth when starting favourite for last Saturday’s HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes. But Justin Snaith has vowed to make no more overnight attempts to beat the altitude.
He said yesterday: “That was my final effort and I won’t be doing it again. There are certain things in life that you can beat but unfortunately nature isn’t one of them, and I have come to the point where I think I have tried enough – barring sending the horse to Jo’burg for three or four months beforehand. Indeed I had a sleepless night worrying about the altitude and about her travelling up to Jo’burg in the dark.
“The horse is fine – it just didn’t work out – but we are discussing her future at the moment including whether or not she will carry on racing.”
The Drakenstein homebred has already earned a place in South African racing history as the first three-year-old filly to win the Met since Chair Lady in 1902.
By Michael Clower