Master Of My Fate suffers possible career-ending injury
PUBLISHED: May 2, 2014
The top class Champions Season contender Master Of My Fate is likely out of racing for good having pulled up from his workout at Summerveld on Tuesday with a serious tendon injury.
Devastated trainer Dennis Drier said that all of the big Jet Master colt’s pace work had been completed ahead of his Champions Season pipe opener in the GR 2 Drill Hall Stakes on Saturday and he was having a routine workout on the sand when the injury occurred.
Drier said, “He must have just put a foot in the wrong place and pulled a tendon. When vet Manfred Rohwer looked at it he said that it looked as if someone had taken a gunshot to it.
The tendon had a clean hole the size of a bullet right through the middle.
“He doesn’t think he will be able to race again. This is a tragedy for everybody in the yard and also of course for the owners, the Papageorgiou family.
“Unfortunately these big horses like him with huge actions that have so much speed just need to put a foot wrong on any track and a lot can go wrong. To have a horse that you can place in features is what you build your hopes on and a lot of planning and preparation goes into choosing their races. It’s a punch below the belt to all of us.”
Master Of My Fate was identified by the late Andrew Papageorgiou as the only horse he wanted at the 2011 National Yearling Sale. He was so determined to get the Varsfontein-bred colt that he refused to lie down and eventually secured him for R3 million. After Andrew’s passing the horse was raced in his son Nico’s colours and was close to the heart of his widow Annetjie.
Master Of My Fate only started his career in May last year as a late three-year-old as he had to be box rested for five months as a two-year-old after splitting a hoof.
He lost on debut but then reeled off six wins on the trot including the Gr 2 Calulo Services Premier Trophy and the Gr 2 Glorious Goodwood Peninsula Handicap, both over 1800m at Kenilworth. He was then an unlucky fifth as the 5-2 favourite in the J&B Met as he was continually bumped and bored for the first 300m or so and forced to drop too far back, before making up plenty of ground in the straight.
On the bright side Master Of My Fate looks to have a fine future at stud as he was not only a top class racehorse, but has a superb pedigree and in conformation he closely resembles his magnificent father, the late great Jet Master, who is on course to claiming his seventh general sires title this season.
Meanwhile, the Drier-trained KRA Fillies Guineas hopeful Eventual Angel injured herself in her box and has also been scratched from tomorrow’s Greyville racemeeting.
Drier said, “It is not a serious injury, but the Guineas only comes around once a year and it was her main mission.”[/expand]
Big test awaiting Variety Club
PUBLISHED: May 2, 2014
Variety Club is already a multiple Group 1 winner, has twice been crowned South African Horse of the Year and earlier this year dazzled Dubai with a comprehensive defeat of some notably talented milers to take the G2 Godolphin Mile with some ease. But on Sunday, the five-year-old will face the stiffest task of his storied career in the G1 Champions Mile at Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong.
“I think this horse is one of the best milers in the world but when you come to the Hong Kong milers, they are the best in the world,” said Trevor Brown, assistant trainer to Mike de Kock. “You only have to look at their record in this race. You’ve got to respect them. They grind and then they kick.”
Sunday’s race will be the five-year-old’s first start for De Kock, a three-time winner of International G1 races in Hong Kong, but the Champions Mile is not among them. The trainer has had five previous shots at the race with Musir’s third-place in 2011 being his best result. Then again, Hong Kong-trained horses have won each of the nine editions since the race was opened to overseas runners. Indeed, Musir’s effort matched the best ever placing by an overseas horse in the contest.
Brown looked on contentedly yesterday morning as Variety Club completed his final serious piece of work on the turf course. The Var horse finished off an 800m gallop in 50.9s (28.3, 22.6) under big-race pilot Anton Marcus.
“I’m happy with his work this morning – Anton seemed very happy,” said Brown, “we didn’t want anything too over the top, just a little piece of work, a nice gallop and that’s what we got. He’s in good shape. We were a little concerned that he had to travel here by himself, later than his two stablemates, last week, but he’s taken it well, he’s a true professional.”
The experienced Marcus, who was originally best known as the younger brother of former Hong Kong champion jockey Basil Marcus, has forged a reputation as a man for the big occasion with numerous G1 triumphs and five champion jockey titles in South Africa. He has also ridden in Hong Kong, chalking up a total of 144 winners in six racing seasons. It is he who will have to negotiate a route to victory from gate 12 of 14, a berth wider than most would prefer.
“He generally goes forward but he has been ridden off the pace and won at home in South Africa. We’ll have a think about what we might do. I’ll leave that up to Anton, he knows the horse,” said Brown.
Variety Club faces 13 rivals in a top-class renewal that also features the leading local contenders Able Friend, Glorious Days, Gold-Fun and last year’s victor Dan Excel, as well as the talented overseas raiders, the three-time G1 winner Gordon Lord Byron, Mshawish from France and the Japanese challenger Meiner Lacrima.
Meanwhile, trainer John Moore believes Designs On Rome’s QE II Cup win confirms his long-held belief that stablemate Able Friend is an international Group One horse in waiting – but Sunday’s Champions Mile might be the only test of that viewpoint for this campaign.
Moore revealed yesterday that tackling the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 17 is a long shot even if the Derby runner-up gives him a fifth straight Champions Mile.
Moore’s sole focus now is on the Group One Champions Mile. “With Able Friend, we are talking about another horse which is in the same bracket as Designs On Rome,” Moore said. “Everybody was saying, ‘You had Designs On Rome peaking for Derby Day, can you keep him going until the QE II Cup?’
“And Designs On Rome has come out and run an even better race than in the Derby: if we can take any guide on that you’d have to think this horse is going into the Champions Mile even fitter, even more focused and even more physically prepared.
“He’s the one to beat.”
Moore’s Champions Mile tally is at five, including the last four in a row with Able One (2007, 2010), Xtension (2011, 2012) and Dan Excel (2013).
Although he rates Able Friend as his main hope, he was not dismissing the chances of the somewhat forgotten Dan Excel. “He’s as genuine as the day is long. But Able Friend is definitely the better chance – he’s got tonnes of ability and there’s still more to come.”
Moore identified South Africa’s Variety Club as the main danger. “I just have to hope that Variety Club doesn’t bring his best,” he said. – HKJC.com[/expand]
In The Fast Lane primed for KRA Fillies Guineas
PUBLISHED: May 1, 2014
Justin Snaith said that his star filly In The Fast Lane had been doing very well and reckoned it would take a “smart filly” to beat her in Saturday’s Gr 2 KRA Fillies Guineas, where she has drawn in pole position.
In other important Champions Season news he revealed that Run For It had put up a sparkling bit of work under Kevin Shea at Clairwood and contrary to his earlier opinion he now believes this horse will be ready in time for the Vodacom Durban July, in which he finished second last year.
On Saturday Snaith also has the Gr 1 Investec Cape Derby winner Legislate in the Gr 2 KRA Guineas, while last year’s Gr 2 Betting World 1900 winner Jet Explorer will have his Champions Season pipe opener in the Gr 2 Drill Hall Stakes over 1 400m.
In The Fast Lane worked at Greyville last Thursday and seeing the course beforehand will always be of benefit to a horse’s chances, so she looks primed to deliver.
Snaith said, “Her last run in the Majorca can be ignored as we tried placing her handy and she got caught three wide. It was a disaster. If you take that run away, her form is very strong. She has been doing well in Durban. Her British owners will be flying out to watch the race.”
Legislate has also drawn well in the KRA Guineas and Snaith said, “It is a bit on the short side for him and it is a preparation for the Daily News 2000, but he could surprise. Captain America is the horse to beat, but I want Legislate running on and showing that he will be very competitive in the Daily News.”
Jet Explorer is having his first outing since the J&B Met and Snaith said it would be a preparation run and that from his wide draw he would have to be dropped out.
The yard also run Agra and Varikate in a 1000m Conditions Plate for fillies and mares.
He said, “Agra only arrived in Durban last week because our boxes weren’t ready, so Varikate has had a lot better preparation, despite being laid off after an injury last Summer.
“Agra is sound and very fast and this is her pipe opener for the SA Fillies Sprint. She hasn’t raced since December as there was nothing for her. She has never raced on a turn before, so it will be interesting. Varikate worked at Greyville last week and looked around at everything. She is out at the weights, but could surprise.”
Meanwhile, the yard’s impressive Umkhomazi Stakes winner Harry Lime has come out of the race well and is on track for the Gr 1 Tsogo Sun Medallion at Scottsville on May 24.
Unfortunately one of his chief July contenders Readytogorightnow was eliminated from the Drill Hall and he is now looking at a Pinnacle race on May 18 and the Cup Trial as his qualifying route.[/expand]
Gate speed key for Beach Beauty
PUBLISHED: May 1, 2014
Leading Summerveld trainer Dennis Drier runs three top class horses, Beach Beauty, Master Of My Fate and Eventual Angel, in the Champions Season’s opening meeting at Greyville on Saturday and the yard are happy with all of them.
Beach Beauty has drawn 12 in the defence of her Gr 2 Independent On Saturday Drill Hall Stakes (1 400m) crown, but her early speed has enabled her to overcome plenty of wide draws before.
Assistant trainer Stuart Ferrie said, “She has definitely come on from her run in the Ponsettia, which she needed after coming back from the Cape.”
Master Of My Fate has excelled from 1 200m up to 18 00m, but this will be his first appearance since his unlucky fifth in the J&B Met. He has drawn six in the Drill Hall and Ferry said, “It might be a bit sharp for him, but he is doing well and we had to get him started somewhere.”
Ferrie said that the Right Approach filly Eventual Angel had needed her last start in the Gr 3 Umzimhkulu Stakes over 1 400m at Scottsville, despite winning it by two lengths.
“She has benefitted from it and she won that 1 400m race well enough for the mile to be of little concern. She’s up against a strong field and In The Fast Lane’s form looks very good, but let’s hope there is improvement to come.”
Eventual Angel has drawn in eleven and stable jockey Sean Cormack will be aboard.
Cormack has opted for Beach Beauty in the Drill Hall and Bernard Fayd’Herbe rides Master Of My Fate.[/expand]
Snaith plea ‘for the good of racing’
PUBLISHED: May 1, 2014
Justin Snaith has made a request for trainers to come to the party in solving a countrywide problem whereby races don’t stand up due to a lack of acceptors and he has done it “for the good of racing.”
The problem looks likely to affect a number of Champions Season contenders that can’t get their pipe openers, although it has generally not had any impact on his yard as his visiting string consists mainly of horses with the proven performance and accompanying merit ratings to get into feature races.
In a recent example a handicap race scheduled for Wednesday, April 16 was divided due to the over subscription and the higher division then had 28 remaining nominees.
Of these only three stood their ground.
All three of them were Mike Bass-trained Champions Season contenders, Gifted For Glory, Global Express and Night Trip, who were consequently left without their intended run as the race had to be scrapped.
Snaith referred to the merit rating restrictions placed on visiting trainers that was put in place at the request of local trainers and said that in that case the latter should at least then show an intention of filling the fields, although it should be pointed out that of the 25 scratchings in the aforementioned example, eleven of them were by Cape-based trainers.
The problem is particularly relevant this season due to the number of runners at Greyville currently being restricted to 12, meaning many big race contenders may have to look elsewhere for their preparations.
The Vodacom Durban July will have a field of 16, but the build-up features are currently being restricted to 12.
One of the reasons behind the problem of races not standing up could be the abuse of free nominations, whereby yards enter a host of horses without doing their homework beforehand.
Those trainers who have done their homework then see their horse drawn in the 100s and scratch without knowing that the field would possibly cut down to twelve or less.[/expand]