No fear for young Marcus
PUBLISHED: January 13, 2015
Fear Not, the horse who gave Anthony Delpech a broken leg on Guineas day, runs in the Soccer 6 Maiden over 1200m at Kenilworth tomorrow and she carries plenty of stable conviction.
“We were very confident about her on Guineas day but the horse next to her played up,”says Adam Marcus. “Fear Not is a big filly and she reared with Anthony, injuring his leg in the process.
“But she has a lot of ability and we expected her to run as well as she did on debut although I think she will really come into her own when she goes round the turn.”
Fear Not, who will be ridden by Grant van Niekerk this time, opened at 6-4 with Betting World on Monday. Upper Echelon was favourite at 6-10.
Yogas Govender’s filly drops in trip after leading briefly over a furlong out in a 1 400m maiden last time and then finding no extra in the last 200m. She could be hard to beat despite the confidence in Fear Not.
But don’t overlook Indemnity who could be each way value at 10-1. She also comes back in distance and Vaughan Marshall says: “Her best run was over 1 200 and I am putting blinkers on her this time. I think this is going to be the secret. She went very well when I put them on for her work on Saturday. “
Carmina looked a certain future winner when making up a lot of ground in the final 100m on debut and would look the part in the opening Maiden Juvenile – indeed she opened at 1-2. But she has drifted out to 6-4 as Richard Fourie has opted for the stable’s newcomer Jo’s Bond (backed from 5-2 to 8-10).
“I thought Carmina’s race was very weak,” explains Justin Snaith. “Jo’s Bond was to have been my horse for the first two-year-old race of the season and she is the pick although she is naughty.”
Smart D’Argent ran poorly in a work riders’ race last time but on previous form the 5-1 chance can beat Pacific Coral and Trackmaster in race three and Quick Step Rosie (9-2) may follow up for Mike Bass in the Seasons Of Champions Maiden (race five).
Forte De Ouro showed that staying is his game when stepped up to the 2 500m of the Rugby 5 Maiden two races ago and Fourie’s mount looks the one they all have to beat. Yesterday’s 9-2 is a good price.
Ferdnand The Bull has his first run since the Matchem over three months ago in the Soccer 4 Handicap and Greg Ennion reports: “He pulled glutal muscles in his hindquarters. He is above average but he was in a paddock for six weeks so he will probably need the run.”
Space Launch caught the eye when winning a maiden on Christmas Eve and opened at 1-2 but Bold Var makes more appeal at 7-2 despite being raised 1.5kg for last time’s second.
Icy cold Sceptre Stakes
PUBLISHED: January 13, 2015
The weight for age (wfa) Gr 2 Sceptre Stakes over 1200m heads this weekend’s action around the country and has attracted a small but strong field which includes the exciting three-year-old Western Winter filly Cold As Ice.
Sean Cormack retains the ride on Cold As Ice after winning the Listed Laisserfaire Stakes over 1100m on her, while Karl Neisius, who has won four of the last ten runnings of the Sceptre, will be aboard her Joey Ramsden-trained stablemate Miss Saigon.
Ramsden last won this race in 2010 with the rank 40/1 outsider Badger’s Cove, who was ridden by Kelvin Jupp, although her odds were probably generous considering she had finished second the previous year.
Ramsden was taking care of the Gary Alexander-trained Blueridge Mountain when she won the Sceptre two years ago.
Blueridge Mountain was ridden by Glen Hatt, who unfortunately, being sidelined by a wrist problem, won’t be able to go for a hattrick, having won it last year aboard the Brett Crawford-trained Reflective Image.
Ramsden and Hatt also won the Sceptre in the 2005/2006 season with the three-year-old Starlit.
Three-year-olds have won five of the last ten runnings, so a lot points to Cold As Ice on Saturday.
Cold As Ice, who provided one of the season’s disappointments when breaking through the stalls and running back to the parade ring before the Gr 1 Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas, is packed with natural speed and led from start to finish in the Laisserfaire. She only had to be given a couple of backhanders to keep her contemporary three-year-old Rosier at bay and beat her by 1,75 lengths despite conceding 3,5kg.
Rosier, who is by Kildonan and is trained by Glen Kotzen, is in Saturday’s race, but stable jockey Greg Cheyne has not surprisingly preferred to ride the classy three-year-old Judpot filly Double Whammy.
Kotzen and Cheyne won the Sceptre with the three-year-old Lady Windermere in 2009, who like Double Whammy was a sprint-miler, and she went on to be named Equus Champion three-year-old filly.
Double Whammy was beaten 1,25 lengths by Cold As Ice in the wfa Gr 2 Choice Carriers Championships over 1400m in November, but that was when she was still in the habit of doing the donkey work out in front. When tactics were changed in the Cape Fillies Guineas, which was her last start on December 6, she showed a blistering turn of foot from behind. In the end she was only 2,9 lengths behind the mighty Majmu and 0,4 lengths behind Inara, who went on to win the Gr 1 Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes over 1800m last Saturday.
Double Whammy will probably prefer the 1200m trip to the mile and if there is a strong headwind like there was last Saturday it will suit her down to the ground. She could offer good each/way value, considering there are only seven horses in the field and therefore two places to pay, because she could possibly cause an upset, but if failing to do so she could well finish second.
The only pure sprinters in the field are Rosier and the Justin Snaith-trained five-year-old Var mare Varikate. The latter also looks well held by Cold As Ice as she will be 3kg worse off with her despite a 3,5 length defeat in the Laisserfaire.
Varikate beat two other entries, Priceless Jewel and Lanner Falcon, narrowly in the Gr 2 wfa Southern Cross Stakes over 1000m, but both of the latter pair will much prefer the 1200m trip.
Priceless Jewel was only 3,4 lengths behind the Gr 1 winner Captain Of All in the wfa Diadem Stakes over 1200m last time out and will now be having her third run after a rest. She is classy and is merit rated eight points higher than Lanner Falcon, so looks to be the one to fill a trifecta position together with Cold As Ice and Double Whammy.
Lanner Falcon beat Miss Saigon by two lengths over 1500m last time out, although she was receiving 2kg. Before her Southern Cross Stakes effort, she finished just 1,35 lengths back in fourth in the Gr 2 Merchants over 1200m to the useful sprinter Tevez. That was a handicap and she only had to carry 53,5kg, but she is a contender for a first three spot if repeating that run.
Miss Saigon hasn’t run in a sprint since August 2013 and that makes her quite an interesting runner because on that occasion she was only 3,5 lengths in fourth behind the champion Princess Of Victoria. Neisius’ record in this race speaks for itself, so this five-year-old Captain Al mare can’t be ignored.
Strydom riding high
PUBLISHED: January 13, 2015
Piere Strydom, who will be on Louis The King in the J & B Met, has pulled his stirrup leathers up a notch this season. Few jockeys anywhere in the world have ridden as short as he did when he rode his 5 000th winner on Act Of War in the Selangor.
The six-time champion explained: “I have tended to ride shorter in recent years as I have found that the higher you sit the more it helps the horse. Whereas the lower you sit the more you move about on him.”
Joey Ramsden is another doing things differently and reaping the rewards. “”We started interval training this season with the horses doing two or three pieces of work a day instead of just one,” he said. “Some horses are even doing three or four in a day and I have found that it makes a tremendous difference.”
Star filly Majmu’s departure from South Africa has been put back by six months. Mike de Kock had originally planned to put the Avontuur Cape Fillies Guineas winner into quarantine next month.
But son and assistant Matthew said: “She will run in the Triple Crown and maybe the Woolavington. Then we will see about going overseas.”
Bass Master Class
PUBLISHED: January 13, 2015
Mike Bass’ victory in the Gr1 Maine Chance Paddock Stakes on Saturday with the three-year-old Trippi filly Inara, ridden by stable jockey Grant van Niekerk, was his fourth win in the prestigious weight for age 1800m event for fillies and mares.
Bass’ is known for his ability to bring continual improvement out of his horses, but his Paddock Stakes record proves that he can bring the best out of young horses too if they are ready as three of his Paddock Stakes victories have been with three-year-olds.
He had previously won it with the three-year-old Perfect Order in 1992, the four-year-old Dollar Fortune in 1996 and the three-year-old Crimson Palace in 2002.
Saturday’s was a 57th career Gr 1 victory for Bass and a first for Van Niekerk, although the latter did land himself a one week suspension for causing interference at about the 1100m mark.
The Paddock Stakes is regarded as one of the most sort after races to win in South Africa as it adds tremendous broodmare value, so owner Gaynor Rupert of Drakenstein Stud was understandably thrilled with Inara’s win as well as with Jet Belle’s third place finish.
Inara went off at very generous odds of 20/1, considering she had finished only 2,5 lengths behind the mighty Majmu in the Gr 1 Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas and was always going to relish the extra 200m.
It looked at one stage as if she might be unlucky, as she was squeezed out a bit when the field moved towards the outside rail, but Van Niekerk’s split second decision to switch inward and go all out for a gap way inside of where he was proved to be a winning move.
Bass said Inara would now likely go for the Gr 1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes over 1600m on J&B Met day, where she is drawn very well in three, as opposed to her wide on Saturday.
Bass will have a strong hand in that race as he has also entered two other classy Trippi fillies, Hammie’s Hooker and Lanner Falcon, as well as the Western Winter filly Supreme Sunset.
Hammie’s Hooker started as the 5/1 joint second favourite in the Paddock Stakes on Saturday but faded out to finish a 5,95 length ninth. Bass said that she had to do too much down the back straight to gain the handy position she turned for home in, and it would have been asking for “the impossible” for her to have still gone on and won. She has come out of the race fine and is on track for the Majorca, which will also be a more suitable trip for her and where she has drawn well in eight out of the 22 entries.
Lanner Falcon, who looks to be a sprint-miler, is entered in Saturday’s Gr 2 weight for age Sceptre Stakes which has attracted a strong field, albeit of only seven runners.
Supreme Sunset beat the like of Athina and Majmu in Johannesburg when winning the Gr 3 Jo’burg Spring Fillies and Mares Challenge over 1450m, although it has to be said that Majmu was unlucky in that race.
However, she proved her class last time out over 1400m at Kenlworth when finishing just a length behind red Flame and beating Arcetri Pink, although she did receive weight from both of them. She is drawn eleven in the Majorca.
The yard’s Jet Master gelding Helderberg Blue was a touch disappointing on Saturday when finishing fourth in the Gr 2 Peninsula Handicap over 1800m after being heavily backed, but Bass and Van Niekerk felt that he could have finished second had the pacemaker not fallen away leaving him at the front at the 500m mark. He is still on track for the J&B Met and Bass feels that he has more to come.
Bass’s other victory on Saturday was courtesy of yet another progeny of Trippi, the three-year-old gelding Equity Kicker, who won a competitive Pinnacle Stakes event over 1200m. He beating his luckless stablemate Castlethorpe, from whom he recieved 7,5kg, by 0,2 lengths.
Equity Kicker will run next in the R1 million Cape Thoroughbred Sales Stakes over 1200m on January 24. All three of this horse’s wins have been over 1000m, but Bass said that he had proven better with hold up tactics and his narrow loss over 1200m happened before those tactics had been employed.
Meanwhile, Bass said that Castlethorpe’s part-owner Robert Bloomberg was considering supplementing this tough Australian-bred seven-year-old gelding for the Gr 1 Betting World Cape Flying Championships over 1000m, also on January 24. He would do so in the hopes that there would be a strong headwind on the day, as there was on Saturday, as this horse is better suited to further.
Bass’s Jet Master gelding Mountain Master ran a cracker in the Gr 3 London News Stakes over 1800m at Turffontein on Saturday, when coming from last to finish a 2,75 length fourth to the Sansui Summer Cup runner up Killua Castle, despite only receiving 1,5kg. However, he said this horse would now come home to Cape Town as he is entered in the Gr 2 J&B Jet Stayers over 2800m on J&B Met day
Majorca next for Jet Belle
PUBLISHED: January 12, 2015
Glen Kotzen was delighted with the run of Jet Belle in the Gr 1 Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes on Saturday, where she was a tad unlucky but still managed a 0,4 length third, and he said that it looks likely that he will run her in the Gr 1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes at the end of the month instead of the J&B Met.
Kotzen did have one winner on Saturday, the three-year-old first-timer Cathy Specific who is owned by his son Kuyan and bred by his mother-in-law Judy Wintle, and this promising filly has a nice story behind her naming.
Jet Belle was forced to ease down the back straight when the eventual winner Inara dropped in on her. Then in the main straight she was stopped
in her tracks for a number of strides before being able to switch inwards as the field moved across towards the outside rail causing herself, Inara and Jet Supreme to be squeezed out.
The Mike Bass-trained three-year-old Inara looked to be a deserved winner, as she didn’t have a clear passage either. However, jockey Grant van Niekerk was given a one week suspension for the official reason that his mount “shifted ground approaching the 1100m mark” when “insufficiently clear”, forcing Jet Belle “to ease off the heels of Inara”.
Van Niekerk rode a fine race after that, landing his first Gr 1 victory, and his snap decision to switch Inara way inward after being squeezed out proved to be a winning move.
Speaking generally, there are those who feel that causing interference in Gr 1s should be awarded with more severe penalties than they currently are as the penalty doesn’t match either the reward for winning or the cost of losing. Furthermore, there are also very few opportunities for owners to have runners in these races, although in this case Drakenstein Stud owned both Inara and Jet Belle.
There is also the aspect of danger, with an example being when Jet Explorer was brought down in the Rising Sun Gold Challenge. In jurisdictions – like Hong Kong, Japan and others – penalties tend to be a lot harsher. However, a Kenilworth stipendiary steward commented yesterday on Van Niekerk’s one week suspension and said that after a close review of the incident it was felt that the amount of interference caused did not warrant a ten day suspension and they felt that one week was appropriate.
Jet Belle, a five-year-old Jet Master mare, has now finished third in a Gr 1 on three occasions. Her odds of 14/1 in the weight for age event on Saturday were very generous considering she had beaten the 3/1 favourite Jet Aglow when winning the weight for age Gr 2 Gold Bracelet over 2000m at Greyville at the end of last season. She could also be forgiven for her Sansui Summer Cup run, where she hit the front way to early, and she then ran an eyecatching preparation three weeks before the Paddock Stakes over 1500m.
Kotzen said she had come out of Saturday’s race well and was likely to go for the Majorca next as she had drawn well in six out of the 22 entries.
Double Whammy, who was just 0,4 lengths behind Inara when finishing third in the Gr 1 Avontuur Estate Fillies Guineas, is also entered in the Majorca. She has drawn wide in 14 but stable jockey Greg Cheyne will face a tough choice. Kotzen regards Double Whammy, a daughter of Judpot, as a sprint miler and has her engaged in the Gr 2 Sceptre Stakes over 1200m at Kenilworth on Saturday. She will have a fine chance there in a field that has attracted only seven runners and Cheyne has chosen her above the yard’s speedy three-year-old Kildonan filly Rosier.
Cathy Specific ran a blinder in her debut on Saturday over 1000m, as she was slow away and looked to have plenty in the tank when crossing the line 1,5 lengths clear, despite starting at odds of 40/1. This big bay filly looks certain to stay further.
Kotzen’s wife Kathi suggested the name after the family had been to watch the dinner cirque show Madame Zingaro. A haughty character in the show names himself Cathy Specific as he dresses in drag and works as an air hostess. Cathy Specific the horse’s sire is Royal Air Force and her dam is I’m Too Sexy, so naming her after the character was a clever choice.
Kuyan’s racing colours were also eyecatching, red with a white circle and the letter “K”, for either Kuyan or Kotzen, in the middle of the circle.
Cathy Specific made a belated debut as she was off for a while with tendonitis and she has only been back in work for seven weeks. The yard always knew she was good because she had matched Double Whammy in workouts about a year ago. Kotzen will now nominate her for one of the minor handicap events on J&B Met day.
Royal Air Force, a Gr 2 winning son of the great Jet Master, stands at Sorrento Stud, where he doesn’t receive much support. However, he is throwing some promising looking types and a lot of them strikes as horses that will improve with age. Kotzen, who trains out of his private establishment in the Paardeberg, Woodhill Racing Estate, also has the full sister and half sister to Cathy Specific waiting in the wings.