Upsets in Triple Crown pointers
PUBLISHED: February 9, 2015
Johan Janse van Vuuren won the Gr 3 Tony Ruffel Stakes over 1450m at Turffontein on Saturday with his lesser fancied 22/1 shot Belong To Me, but his stable star Unparalleled nevertheless put in an excellent preparation for the forthcoming SASCOC Triple Crown classic events which begin with the Gr 2 Betting World Gauteng Guineas on February 28.
Earlier, the Weiho Marwing-trained Australian-bred filly Sensible Lover ended the unbeaten run of the Ormond Ferraris-trained Lazer Star in the Gr 3 Three Troikas Stakes over 1450m, although she was receiving plenty of weight from the latter.
Belong To Me, a three-year-old colt by Antonius Pius, had a slight stamina doubt over the trip, but was fine value considering he finished just 3,25 lengths back to the champion Harry’s Son in the Gr 3 Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m on the standside track, albeit when receiving 2,5kg.
He disappointed in the lucrative R2 million Lanzerac Ready To Run Stakes over 1400m at Kenilworth, but bounced back with a win over 1160m at Turffontein. The latter race gave Donavan Mansour the opportunity to get a feel of the speedy bay, who proved much more suited to the tight Inside track 1450m on Saturday than he was to the Standside 1400m.
Mansour rode a finely judged race again and his mount had enough in the tank late to just get the better of the persistent Australian-bred Mike de Kock-trained Redoute’s Choice colt Mutamakkin. The latter was backed in to 7/2 and was a touch disappointing, considering he was receiving 2kg from Belong To Me and 3,5kg from Unparalleled. However, he does have some stamina on his female side and will be better suited to further, so could still be a player in the Triple Crown events.
Unparalleled, a gelding by Lateral, was dropped out to last from a wide draw by Gavin Lerena, but finished powerfully to be beaten just 0,5 lengths. He will relish returning to the standside track 1600m of his facile Gr 2 Dingaans victory, in which he beat the Paul Lafferty-trained KZN raider Harry’s Son in testing conditions by 4,25 lengths. He will renew rivalry with Harry’s Son over the Dingaans course and distance in the Gauteng Guineas and the latter will be hoping for faster ground.
The Tony Ruffel did nothing to quash the overall opinion that this is not a vintage three-year-old male crop, although the unbeaten Investec Cape Derby winner Ertijaal, who is due to meet the like of Unparalleled and Harry’s Son in the R2 million Gr 1 SA Classic at the end of March, could still prove to be something special.
The three-year-old fillies crop, on the other hand, is unquestionably strong and Sensible Lover, who is by Good Journey, a Gr 1 mile winner at Woodbine in Canada, is the latest to put her hand up. She was officially receiving 7,5kg from the Toreador filly Lazer Star, but jockey Marco van Rensburg was reportedly riding 1,5kg overweight and it was also only the filly’s third career start.
The mighty De Kock-trained Majmu will square up to the exciting Gr 1 Thekwini winner, the Duncan Howells-trained Same Jurisdiction, in the Gr 2 Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas and the Three Troikas one-two finishers should add to what should be a vintage field in that race. Sensible Lover will likely relish the Standside 1600m trip having rallied to just get the better of Lazer Star on Saturday. The Fillies Guineas will tell whether it was the trip or the weight that was the Lazer Star’s undoing.
Punters have nothing to fear
PUBLISHED: February 6, 2015
Fear Not can live up to her name in the Shumani Printers Maiden at Kenilworth tomorrow and she is expected to justify favouritism.
She might be the horse who broke Anthony Delpech’s leg but that wasn’t really her fault and her two runs have shouted promise.
“She was a bit unfortunate last time in that she lost ground at the start,” says Adam Marcus who has maintained all along that she will come into her own when she goes round the turn. “She is a big free-striding filly and I think she is above average.”
The Mike Bass-trained Vogue’s Wood, who has also shown potential in two starts, is the obvious danger and opened at 3-1 with Betting World yesterday. Fear Not was installed 12-10 favourite but that was snapped up inside the first hour and she is now even money.
Black Belvedere (5-1) also has good form although she has changed ownership and stables since her last run and new trainer Riaan van Reenen wants to see where he is with her – “She is working well but my feeling is that she wants quite a bit further. I think she will do well in the winter when the ground is softer.”
Marcus is also expecting a good run from 5-1 chance What Fun (backed from 5-1 to 7-2 yesterday) in the Macsteel Maiden 35 minutes later. “She showed massive improvement in her last race and she has shown more at home since,” he reports. “She is going to be right there although I’m not confident that she will beat Alzerra.”
Karl Neisius’s mount is 6-4 favourite despite suffering from seconditis. She has found one too good for her in each of her last five starts and normally it pays to bet against such horses. However Dean Kannemeyer is adamant that there is nothing ungenuine about her.
“She has got beaten fair and square in each race and it’s just that she takes a bit of time to quicken up,” he explains. “However she is holding her form and she will enjoy the 1 800m of this race.”
Captain Swarovski can be expected to improve on his debut fourth in the opening Signal Hill Maiden. However only one of the stable’s five Cape Town juvenile runners that have so far raced more than once has scored at the second attempt. Therefore it may pay to side with Schachar who ran a cracker on debut.
Joey Ramsden runs two newcomers including Tar Heel, a R425 000 Var half-brother to the Gauteng Fillies Guineas winner Go Indigo. “I haven’t done enough with them to know and neither has been to Kenilworth,” he says when asked if they are speedy sorts.
But he should win the following Steve Phelps Memorial with Sir Henry who might well have won last time had things gone more his way. And don’t forget Andrew Fortune who is sitting on a 43% strike rate. He has only two rides – Gauteng (10-1) and Henry Of York (5-1). Both make each way appeal.
Noor Dubai tries a trip
PUBLISHED: February 6, 2015
There is a double header in KZN this weekend with an eight race card on the Greyville polytrack tonight and an eight race card at Scottsville on Sunday.
One of the best bets comes in the first at Greyville, a Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1000m, as the Dennis Bosch-trained Seek The Summit ran on smoothly after a slow start at Scottsville on debut and comes out best on formlines too. Furthermore Bosch does not push his youngsters so she would have improved from that debut and she has a plum draw of five in the eight-horse field.
Donna Amata has the best form in the second over 1400m and although returning from a seven month layoff, trainer Alistair Gordon said she is a light framed filly who has had plenty of work and will strip fit. Jockey Alec Forbes believes she will enjoy the lighter polytrack surface so she should do well running fresh over a trip just slightly short of her optimum. Beyond her it is a tough race.
The third is a competitive fillies and mares MR 70 Handicap over 1400m and one that could offer value at long odds is Djembe Jamming who has always struck as being better than her form suggests. She is well drawn and 4kg claimer Akshay Balloo’s confidence will be up having just come off a winner around the turn at Scottsville. Overlap has a touch of class and will appreciate the step down in trip. Dizzy Feet, Supreme Dynasty and Fly Peg Fly can’t be ignored either.
The fourth is an intriguing maiden over 1600m that is likely to be fought out by the front-runner Roy’s Flyer and Fabrizio, but on formlines the latter gets the vote. The fifth is an apprentice handicap over 1600m. Pearly King has always struck as a nice type and has been more settled in the running lately, but on the downside this is his rider’s first ever ride around the turn. Therefore Live Controversy, who drops in class, is the choice. Mumsy’s Jet and Chill have to be considered, while Mackdesi has the eyecatching booking of Craig Zackey and has plummeted down the merit ratings. The sixth is another tough apprentice handicap over 1900m and Priceless Gem makes most appeal on form from On My Wits Alone, Discourse, First Flight, Pimpernel and Born To Rule.
The seventh is a MR 90 handicap over 1900m and looks a three cornered contest. Warcraft is unbeaten in two starts on this surface and impressed both times. He strikes as a horse that will continue to improve. Kentucky Guest has thrived since being stepped up to this trip and is 1,5kg better off for a 2,75 length beating by Warcraft so should be right there.
Assegai loves the poly and has won his last two over 1800m on this surface. He has a lovely action and is consistent, so should be right there. Noor Dubai will likely be favourite in the last, a fillies and mares maiden over 1900m, but despite being bred for this trip she does not have the biggest of actions and preference is for Highly Regal. The latter is by Ideal World so will love the trip and will be getting better all the time, so she can reverse form with Mariah Ann from their last turf meeting over 2000m.
The highest rated race at Scottsville is a MR 95 Handicap over 1400m and it might provide a good opportunity for Stolen Destiny, who is only one point higher than his last winning mark and enjoys this course and distance. The classy Goldie Coast is well drawn so could be a threat, despite carrying topweight against the boys.
Title picture: Assegai contests R7 at Greyville (Nkosi Hlophe)
De Kock eyes UAE Guineas
PUBLISHED: February 5, 2015
Mike de Kock has a large string of runners in Dubai tonight and quite a few of them have winning chances.
In the second, a handicap over 1200m on turf he said of his three runners on his website, “Fountain Of Youth would have come on from his run last Thursday, but he’s still short of his best. Merhee has been disappointing in Dubai, but he’s best all-round form has been on turf and we’re expecting him to run well. Whistle Stop needs this sprint to sharpen him up.” The horse to beat could be the tough Richard Hannon-trained handicapper Ninjago, who has always run well fresh and goes well on fast ground.
The third is the UAE 1000 Guineas on dirt and here De Kock expects Ad Idem to have improved enough to reverse form with Local Time, a Godolphin horse who beat her over 1400m on dirt recently and now goes for a five-timer.
De Kock said about the fourth, a conditions race over 1400m on turf, ” “I’m happy with Forries Waltz but he is short of peak fitness. Mastermind ran a cracker over 1200m a fortnight ago and is fitter now. He should see it out. Toscanelli was just out of the frame in a Gr1 last September, but hasn’t yet shown us that he’s up to that level of form.” The Hannon-trained Burnt Sugar went close in a Gr 1 over this trip at Longchamp as a two-year-old and on paper is hard to beat.
In race 5 a handicap over 2810m on turf, De Kock said, “Star Empire won this race in 2013 and finished second last year. He’s game, honest and still very well. Mickdaam tries this journey for the first time but he kept on in the Derby at Epsom as a three-year-old, then won a Gr3 over 2500m and he’s a six-year-old now.” The Godolphin horse Famous Kid made all to win a twelve furlong handicap at Newmarket on good to firm ground last September and makes appeal with a light weight after a decent Dubai debut on dirt.
Last year’s Dubai World Cup winner African Story makes his reappearance in the sixth, a Gr 2 on dirt over 1900m. He has it won on paper but the consistent Prince Bishop should be more forward and Le Bernadin and Surfer are both interesting having both won well last time.
De Kock said about the seventh, a handicap on turf over 1600m, “Ajeeb had merit in his pipe-opener over 1000m here a month ago. He finished out of the frame at Graded level over 1600m when he raced in Australia, but he’s won well over 1500m and we’re hoping the mile will be up his alley now, Flying The Flag needs to race to bring him on and he prefers further. Royal Ridge has an eachway chance, he looks course and distance suited and we can’t fault his work at home. Captain Lars was only beaten 4.5-lengths last time needing it badly. He’s doing really well and is fitter now, he could feature.”
The former South African dual Gr 1 winner Slumdogmillionaire made a decent recent comeback and makes most appeal of the rest together with Music Theory.
Fortune still got it
PUBLISHED: February 5, 2015
Andrew Fortune was the centre of attention when he won on his first ride for nearly three months at Kenilworth yesterday.
He managed to get down to 60kg for Around Not Across in the Futura Maiden Plate but he had to get to work early when the 13-20 hotpot struggled to go the pace. But he was able to lead well before the final furlong where he repeatedly looked round for what proved non-existent dangers.
Many in the small crowd flocked to the winner’s box to greet him. They watched in amusement as he took a hefty swig from a bottle of water and promptly spat it out onto the grass in front of him.
The former champion said: “People are telling me ‘You are tired, you are old’ and when I ring them they are not answering the phone.
“I’ve got to thank Joey Ramsden. He was kind enough to give me the ride – and thank God the horse won!”