In The Dance is the move
PUBLISHED: February 14, 2020
In the second leg of the Pick 6 In The Dance has a turn of foot equal to that of her half-brother Capetown Noir and should be ideally suited to this…
The nine race meeting at Turffontein Inside tomorrow has some good horses turning out ahead of their Autumn feature season campaigns.
In the first leg of the Pick 6 over 1800m the front-running Chijmes should have a fine chance as he stays on well and this track with its shorter straight should suit him. The main concern is that there is another front-runner involved, Seville Orange. However, she is drawn outside of him so if he does get to the front and she challenges he can allow her to lead and, as she prefers further, he can overtake her in the straight. The main danger to Chijmes could be the filly Sunshine Silk who is the best weighted runner. In a handicap she would receive 7kg from Chijmes but is receiving 9,5kg here and carrying just 50,5kg.
Furthermore, she is drawn in pole and is one from one over this course and distance. AL Mutawakel has proven class and should enjoy this trip, although he would prefer 2000m and would also prefer the longer-straighted Standside track. However, he is being tried with blinkers which should help him get into the race earlier, although his draw of eight out of eight is thus going to be tricky.
Divine Odyssey looks to need a few runs to reach his peak and he should be cherry ripe now. He should be running on strongly over an ideal distance, but he has a sustained finish and would probably prefer the Standside track. Seville Orange and Tilbury Fort have the class to earn here too. American Indian is well drawn and capable of surprising. Ali Bon Dubai would prefer further.
In the second leg of the Pick 6 In The Dance has a turn of foot equal to that of her half-brother Capetown Noir and should be ideally suited to this tight mile. She is drawn in pole position. Return Flight is back in form and will be a big threat from the front. The up and coming Machali represents in form Candice Dawson. She is capable of a strong finish and being by Dynasty will be improving.
In the third leg of the Pick 6 over 1450m Tierra Del Fuego is admirably consistent and this distance is ideal. Furthermore, he has a plum draw of three. His stablemate Warrior’s Rest is equally admirable. He is very effective when getting to the front as he continually ups the tempo and runs all the way to the line. The concern is whether he will be able to get to the front from a wide draw of nine. Zouaves can’t be ignored either dropping back to his favourite course and distance, where he has a record of three wins in four starts. He packs a strong finish on his day and has a fair draw of six. The enigmatic Matador Man is the best weighted male but has his second run after a long layoff and will have his work cut out to make up ground over this tight track after his usual slow start. La Bella Mia is the best weighted horse and is interesting upped in trip as she finished fast last time over her favourite 1200m trip.
In the next leg of the Pick 6 Ocean City is very quick and capable of staying to the line over 1000m, so will be suited to this track and trip from a low draw. Prince Of Venice has always struck as one with plenty of ability and he can be a threat from draw five. Scoop has lots of ability and proved last time she is now off a competitive mark.
In the next leg Our Man In Havana is progressive over these middle distances and can beat the handicapper again. Rocky Path looks the chief danger on form. Tough Choice could run well fresh and Kings Cup and Master Supreme can be considered too.
In the last leg over 2000m Ever Fair is improving and distance suited and Fayrooz should relish the step up in trip after not being disgraced over a sprint on debut. Cotopaxi runs on over shorter so can be considered. Adorable Alley, and Smoking Hot also warrant consideration.
By David Thiselton
Seattle Force deserves respect
PUBLISHED: February 14, 2020
Seattle Force arrives at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Sunday with exemplary Highveld form and should make a bold bid in the UmThombothi Stakes…
Stuart Pettigrew is not an unfamiliar face in KZN, or more accurately that of his assistants, but when he sends a raider it is mostly prudent to sit up and take notice. Seattle Force arrives at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Sunday with exemplary Highveld form and should make a bold bid in the UmThombothi Stakes (Non-Black Type).
But the four-year-old will not have all his own way given the structure of the weights and the likes of Marchingontogether, the highest rated runner in the race, is set to get 4 kg from Seattle Force.
That said, one has consistent form, for the other, one has to look into a crystal ball.
A strong front-runner, Seattle Force has hardly been out of the money in recent outings and has been competing useful Highveld company. He was a beaten favourite behind Hero’s Honour on the Turffontein inside track last time out when weakening late but was only three lengths back. Prior to that he was caught late by the former KZN-based filly Flichity By Farr.
Going along with good recent form could be the way to go but Marchingontogether looks tossed in at these weights in spite of his rather dismal recent showings.
He made no show in the November Handicap and Summer Cup but did show a return to something like his better form when two-lengths off The Dazzler in the Christmas Handicap. That was followed by another disappointing effort when drawn wide in the Michael Roberts Handicap that was switched from Hollywoodbets Scottsville to the Hollywoodbets Greyville poly.
He was given a three-point relief in the ratings after that showing and the fact that Warren Kennedy has opted for this ride ahead of Michael Roberts fourth-placed Blackball suggests that Marchingontogether could prove the pick of the Gavin van Zyl pair.
Blackball, drawn widest of the 13 runners here, was only a length back to GG’S Dynasty in the Michael Roberts and a little over a length back to The Dazzler in the Christmas Handicap, both times finishing ahead of Marchingtontogether with Kennedy in the irons. Raymond Danielson gets the call-up on Sunday.
Stuart Ferrie has been holding the fort while Dennis Drier has been trying to pluck a few plums in Cape Town and Ferrie saddles Wealthy who has an excellent record at Scottsville where he has recorded five of his six wins. He was beaten four lengths in the Michael Roberts but prior to that went down narrowly to the much improved Merlin From Berlin in a Chapter Challenge final. He does appear to be a couple of lengths better at Scottsville and victory will not come as a surprise.
The Dazzler and Silver Rose will have supporters while Dark Moon Rising may need another outing to find form. White Lightning is always knocking at the door which could pen soon while Twice Golden and Great Warrior are in the deep end but do have scope and light weights.
Van Zyl can get Pick 6 punters off to a good start when he saddles Wave in the opening leg. It is a Graduation Plate where all the stats point in his favour but he is up against opposition that boasts some useful form.
Touched off by the poly specialist Di Mazzio last time out, this extended trip back on the turf should be a benefit.
Promising Pearl Of Asia, winner of his first two starts, ran out of gas last time out but races with a tongue-tie for the first time and could still have more improvement to come.
By Andrew Harrison
Viva Rio could give Kotzen his third Derby victory
PUBLISHED: February 13, 2020
The Justin Snaith Politician winner Silver Host is second favourite at 9-2 for the ARF Commemorative-backed Grade 1 with stable companion…
Viva Rio, second in the Cape Guineas, has been installed 17-10 favourite to give Glen Kotzen his third Cape Derby victory at Kenilworth’s Prawn Festival meeting on Saturday week. The Woodhill trainer was successful with subsequent Vodacom Durban July winner Big City Life in 2009 and with Eyes Wide Open two years ago.
The Justin Snaith Politician winner Silver Host is second favourite at 9-2 for the ARF Commemorative-backed Grade 1 with stable companion Sachdev next in the market on 11-2. Snaith has won the race three times – with Russian Sage (2008), Legislate (2014) and It’s My Turn four years ago. Final declarations are this morning.
Anton Marcus, having won on all three rides last Saturday, is again the focus of attention in the early betting for this Saturday’s Kenilworth meeting. He has four mounts and three – Hello Tomorrow, In Auro and My Wicked Ways – have opened favourite while the Eric Sands-trained Morse is 3-1 second favourite for race three.
By Michael Clower
Bass-Robinson looking forward to Champions Season
PUBLISHED: February 13, 2020
Both Clouds Unfold, who defended her crown in the Bidvest Majorca Stakes, and Russet Air, who won the Cape Flying Championship, are by What A Winter…
Candice Bass-Robinson is now beginning to focus on the SA Champions Season in KZN after enjoying one of the best days of her career on Sun Met day, where she sent out two Grade 1 winners, Clouds Unfold and Russet Air.
She won the Vodacom Durban July in her first season as a licensed trainer, becoming the first female trainer in history to win the country’s premier horse race.
Sun Met day enhanced her reputation for big race preparation skills and also amplified how well she does with the progeny of former stable star What A Winter.
Both Clouds Unfold, who defended her crown in the Grade 1 Bidvest Majorca Stakes over 1600m, and Russet Air, who won the Grade 1 Cape Flying Championship, are by What A Winter.
Bass-Robinson said most of her SA Champions Season campaigners would be prepared at her home base of Milnerton before their first KZN races. They would be transported to KZN shortly before the race and then stay at Summerveld until the completion of their campaigns.
This approach worked with Marinaresco in 2016, when still trained by Candice’s father Mike, as he ran in the Cape winter series before running second in the July and then winning the Grade 1 Champions Cup.
The following season he arrived in Durban shortly before winning the Drill Hall Stakes and two runs later won the July.
Last season the same approach worked with Santa Clara, who was prepared in Cape Town before running a narrow second in the Umzimkhulu Stakes on April 7 and then winning the KRA Fillies Guineas on Champions Season opening night, May 3.
Freedom Charter was prepared in the same manner and won her first race in KZN on May 3 at Greyville, the Grade 3 Poinsettia Stakes.
Bass-Robinson said, “They are used to Milnerton and it is not easy when the training tracks are completely different.”
She has booked 15 boxes at Summerveld for the winter but is not sure yet exactly which horses will be going.
However, Clouds Unfold will definitely be one of them.
The star filly’s campaign will start on June 13 at Greyville in either the Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge over 1600m or the Grade 2 Tibouchina over 1400m. Her chief target is the Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes over 1600m on Vodacom Durban July day.
Clouds Unfold was set to be one of the stars of the SA Champions Season last year but unfortunately broke loose one day at Summerveld and fell.
Bass-Robinson said, “She chipped the point of her hip. It was a serious injury and she spent three months doing nothing.”
However, the Majorca, which she won with authority, proved she has fully recovered.
Russet Air might avoid KZN and be aimed at the Grade 1 Computaform Sprint at Turffontein.
He will first take in the Grade 2 Diadem over 1200m on February 22 at Kenilworth where he will carry a 2kg Grade 1 penalty.
Bass-Robinson said, “He doesn’t really enjoy running around a turn and I think the Turffontein track will suit him.”
The horses being looked at to try and make it a fifth Bass-trained Vodacom Durban July winner overall (Mike won three and Candice has won one) are More Magic, Sovereign Spirit and Majestic Mozart.
Bass-Robinson spoke of her success with What A Winter’s progeny.
She said, “I enjoy training them as they have good temperaments, they respond and do well and when you get a good one you get a really good one. We have bought a number because he throws nice specimens, they look like horses that will win. His best is still coming in the next two seasons because he is now not just getting numbers he is getting good quality mares too.”
Dutch Philip, Magical Wonderland and Snow Report are among the other good What A Winters that Bass-Robinson has trained. All three are Graded winners.
What A Winter won the Cape Flying Championship twice and was an Equus Champion Sprinter twice.
However, as Clouds Unfold proves, he doesn’t only throw pure sprinters.
Clouds Unfold is out of a Montjeu mare, which might explain it, or otherwise she has been influenced by What A Winter’s damsire Ahanoora, who like her, was a chestnut.
Ahonoora was a sprinter who progressed from handicapping as a three-year-old to Group company as a four-year-old and his biggest success was when being awarded the Group 1 William Hill Sprint Championship (The Nunthorpe) over five furlongs at York after an objection.
However, he exceeded all expectations at stud and proved capable of siring top class performers at a wide range of distances. He proved to be one of the most successful and important representatives of the Byerley Turk Line in the modern era and his best progeny include Epsom Derby winner Dr Devious, the Group 1-winning sprinter and successful sire Indian Ridge and he is damsire of the like of New Approach, Cape Cross, Azeri. Leroidesanimaux and Acclamation.
By David Thiselton
Ginger Biscuit not stale yet
PUBLISHED: February 13, 2020
Ginger Biscuit hardly fits the bill as super star but in common is that she is eight years old and soldiered to her ninth career victory…
Maybe Diva, Black Caviar and more recently Winks, have been the iron horses of modern day Australian racing. Their performances on the racetrack are legendary but the one thing that they all have in common is their age, sex and iron will.
This exalted trio raced to an age where most thoroughbred racehorses will have been retired to the breeding shed, hacking brigade or show jumping arenas. But with hardly a blemish on their form in an age where most fillies and mares – and males for that matter – will have been put out to grass and deemed past their sell-by date, they soldier on into equine immortality.
The Pat Lunn owned and trained – officially by Johan Janse van Vuuren – Ginger Biscuit hardly fits the bill as super star but in common is that she is eight years old and soldiered to her ninth career victory at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday.
The daughter of Admire Main, not a popular commercial stallion, was bought for R20k as a yearling and in seven seasons has clocked up 79 races and her ninth win.
Lunn is a man of few words but Keagan de Melo, successful with a top class ride on Mythos in the second for Dean Kannemeyer, expanded a little.
“Very gutsy,” he said when quizzed post-race by Paul Lafferty, one-time assistant to Lunn in the days of yore. “When she comes to the course you can always rely on her to finish in the first three. Today she won and is a bonus and she truly deserve it. She is very consistent and I just enjoy riding her.”
Serino Moodley is fast making a name for himself as a solid and reliable rider and although in the past he has fallen foul of authority for his over enthusiastic use of the stick, he still managers to get his mounts in the right place at the right time. With legendary jockey Michael Roberts in the background giving advice, it’s not surprising that he is maturing. He scored on the Roberts-trained rank outsider Forever Amber on the first but was more kind to punters in the seventh as he steered Guru’s Pride to an easy win, bursting through late to win as he liked.
It is not often that a jockey is priced up favourite for seven out of eight races on the card – and probably eight had his mount not been scratched – but Anton Marcus is in warm demand in KZN by all trainers. Although when he calls for a ride, you can knock two or three points off the bookmaker’s odds regardless of the form.
But being favourite and winning are two different scenarios and in South Africa where conspiracy theories abound for little more reason than a punter has ‘done’ his cash, opinions can get heated.
There have been a few ugly scenes of disgruntled punters verbally abusing, trainers, officials and jockeys at the past two Hollywoodbets Greyville meetings, and while one can admire their passion, their poor behaviour cannot be condoned. There are other avenues of complaint to the stipendiary stewards – views legitimate or not.
By Andrew Harrison