KZN Summer Challenge well received
PUBLISHED: December 8, 2014
It was Gold Circle Witness KZN Summer Challenge Final day at Scottsville yesterday, which provides an incentive for the smaller owners in the game as each of the three finals carries a stake of R200,000.
New hold up tactics have paid off for the Kumaran Naidoo-trained five-year-old Albert’s Hall gelding Albert and he finished strongly off his lowest ever merit of 75 to win the 1200m final under Warren Kennedy. The Mike Miller-trained Clear Sailing had looked the winner when striking the front at the 300m mark but had no answer to Albert’s finish. The favourite Varbration led early but was found afterwards to not be striding out on his left hind and faded out. Commodity Strike finished third and was followed by Libertine and Mr Harry. Albert, owned by the Sukhraj family, was bred by Cecil and Gary Baitz, who ironically own Clear Sailing.
The Doug Campbell-trained five-year-old Miesque’s Approval gelding Kentucky Guest looked a picture going down to the start of the 1950m final and after travelling comfortably in midfield throughout he ran on resolutely to win by an easy 1,5 lengths under Donovan Dillon. This horse was battling until stepped up in trip and looks to have a whole new career ahead of him now as he is relishing the extra ground. De La Danza pipped the second favourite Zhivago for second. Delamere and Good Idea were next best. The favourite Buck Shot was unsettled in the preliminaries and overraced badly, so was eventually pulled out of the race.
Kentucky Guest was bred by Campbell and he also owns him in partnership with Raymond and Paula Deacon, BE Miskin, Morgan Pillay and AR Rapp.
The Duncan Howells-trained five-year-old Spectrum gelding Zestful caught the eye going to post in the 1600m final and after being settled well by Stuart Randolph produced a strong run down the inside to win comfortably despite carrying topweight. Sacred Jewel pipped the joint favourite Auction King for second. Translunar and Big Bird were next best. Zestful is owned by Albert Boshoff and Andre Hauptfleisch and was bred by Highlands Farm Stud.
King’s Gold was the highest points earner in the series and earned R28,500 for his trainers Greg and Karin Anthony. Royal Colours and Royalsecuritypower were joint second and earned R10,750 for trainers Paul Gadsby and Kumaran Naidoo respectively.
Mike de Kock completed a fine weekend when his odds-on first-timer by Captain Al, Captain’s Cup, converted stable confidence over 1200m in the second race under Anthony Delpech. On Saturday De Kock not only won the Gr 1 Avontuur Estate Cape Guineas with the brilliant Majmu over, but also the Listed Advance Fire Systems Secretariat Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein with the Australian-bred Northern Meteor colt Mitraad, who just got up under Randall Simons despite carrying topweight. All three of the aforementioned winners were owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. De Kock added another winner yesterday when his Western Winter gelding Rockaberry Lane won a 1200m handicap under Delpech.
Howells and Randolph also had a double at Scottsville yesterday as King Of Torts won a competitive Pinnacle Stakes event over 1400m.
There were also maiden race wins yesterday for Michael Roberts and Brandon Lerena with Aqaba, Dennis Bosch and Muzi Yeni with Surfing Belle and Tony Rivalland and Athandiwe Mgudlwa with Listen And Learn. The latter caused a major 33/1 upset in the last leg of the Pick 6.
Strydom sticks by Harry’s Son
PUBLISHED: December 8, 2014
Piere Strydom revealed at Greyville on Friday night that he would remain loyal to Harry’s Son for the Gr 1 Grand Parade Cape Guineas on December 20.
The connections of the Paul Lafferty-trained Equus champion colt have sweated for a long time on his travel plan for the big race.vHowever, the Bidvest Group have come to their rescue and the Australian-bred three-year-old colt by Haradasun is booked on an unscheduled BidAir Cargo 737 flight from Durban to Cape Town on the day before the race. Harry’s Son is one of the most laid back horses in training and took both of his recent return journeys by road to Johannesburg in his stride, so should enjoy the flight.
Strydom will consequently relinquish the ride on the likely favourite for the race, the Joey Ramsden-trained Act Of War. He was forthright and said, “Harry’s Son will be up against. It will be his first time around a left hand turn, while Act Of War has experience of the course. But I have been with him for so much of his career that I feel it is right to stay with.”
Strydom said Harry’s Son had moved up so well in the early part of the straight in last weekend’s Investec Dingaans that he thought he might hit the front too soon. However, the classy colt suddenly became one-paced at the 300m mark and could only plug on gamely for a well beaten second. Strydom was not sure whether this was due to the horse not staying the tough Turffontein mile or due to the sticky conditions.
However, the brilliant Dynasty colt will always loom large whenever Strydom’s illustrious career is discussed as his victory in the Selangor gave the great jockey his 5000th career winner. The milestone accomplishment has been accompanied by much fanfare from the racing media, the wider media and the public.
Gold Circle honoured the achievement on Friday night by flying Strydom down for a lavish function at Greyville. It co-incided with a well attended night racemeeting and “Striker” was able to meet and greet his many Durban fans and sign autographs for them.
The six-times champion jockey said, “The 5000th winner was by far the greatest moment of my career, better than winning the July, the Met and the Gr 1 in Hong Kong.”
Picture: Piere Strydom with the Gold Circle Publishing crew. (Left to Right) Warren Lenferna, David Thiselton, Strydom, Andrew Harrison (Nkosi Hlophe)
Via Africa on the Shea Shea route
PUBLISHED: December 7, 2014
Andre Hauptfleisch, the breeder and part-owner of Via Africa, was at Scottsville yesterday and reported that his champion sprinter had been in Dubai for three weeks already and was doing “very well”.
The arduous five month journey she and the other Dubai bound South African horses took was via Mauritius and England.
Hauptfleisch said, “She took the travel and the quarantine very well and Mike (De Kock) said she is doing well in Dubai. The plan is for her to follow the same route that Shea Shea took. She will have a prep run at the end of January. She will then run on Super Saturday on March 7 and on World Cup night. After that she will go back to England and be aimed at Royal Ascot and other top sprints.”
The races Shea Shea took in were The Dubai Excellence Stakes, followed by Super Saturday’s Listed Meydan Sprint and World Cup night’s Gr 1 Al Quoz Sprint. All of these races are over 1000m on turf. In England he then ran in the Gr 1 King’s Stand Stakes over 1000m at Royal Ascot, the Gr 1 July Cup over 1200m at Newmarket, and the Gr 1 Nunthorpe over 1000m at York.
Hauptfleisch raced Via Africa’s mother, the Qui Danzig mare Bump ‘N Grind, with Noordhoek Beach-based trainer Mike Stewart and she won three races over 1000m. However, she does not have a strong female line on paper and Hauptfleisch consequently bought out his racing partners for breeding purposes. His father Gren owned a share in Var and the rest is history.
The now five-year-old Via Africa, who is part-owned by Albert Boshoff, won three Gr 1s under the care of KZN’s current champion trainer Duncan Howells. She was unlucky to not be named Equus three-year-old Champion Filly, but won the Equus Champion Sprinter Award last season.
Her siblings have not fared well to date and three to have raced have only won one race between them, and that was courtesy of her full-sister Imbolc.
However, Hauptfleisch has a share in Elusive Fort and Bump ‘N Grinds two foals by this stallion give reason for hope. The first of them a Howells-trained colt called Al Wahed gives Hauptfleisch “goose flesh” on looks alone and has had two promising starts, a 3,15 length third to the promising Dreamuponadream and a six length second to the top class Generalissimo, both over 1200m. The second of them is a two-year-old filly who looks remarkably alike Via Africa and she is also with Howells.
Bump ‘N Grind currently has a robust foal by Oratorio and is in foal again to Var.
One characteristic of her foals according to Hauptfleisch is that they all eat up every scrap which is always a bonus for a trainer.
Hauptfleisch and Bishoff were at Scottsville to watch the Howells-trained Spectrum gelding Zestful running in the Gold Circle Witness KZN Summer Challenge and their journey from Cape Town proved worthwhile as the horse won the race in commanding style despite carrying topweight.
Picture: Via Africa (Liesl King)
Setback for Afrikaburn
PUBLISHED: December 7, 2014
Dean Kannemeyer’s Cape Guineas hopes for Afrikaburn have been dashed by a setback and the Golden Horseshoe winner is to be put aside for the Durban season.
The Milnerton trainer said: “He was shaken up after the Green Point and I wasn’t quite happy with his off-fore joint. I spoke to Fred Crabbia and we are going to geld him. We will then throw him out before bringing him back for the Durban season.”
Studs are apparently queuing up for stable companion Capetown Noir after last week’s decision to retire the Cape Guineas, Cape Derby and Queen’s Plate winner.
Kannemeyer said: “The injury that caused him to be scratched from the Champions Cup (bruising on the near-fore tendon) flared up again and quite a few people are keen to stand him.
“He was a brilliant miler and a magnificent individual as well as being one of the most intelligent horses that I have had anything to do with.
“He also has great presence and just to watch him walking round gave me goose pimples.”
Met and then the world
PUBLISHED: December 7, 2014
And now for the J & B Met. It looks as if Cape Town’s greatest race could be next for the mighty Majmu and, if so, it just might be her South African swansong.
The Australian-bred grey boosted her reputation sky-high when she totally outclassed the opposition in the Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas at Kenilworth on Saturday and her famous globe-trotting trainer is intent on the world stage with his latest star.
Mike de Kock, winning his third Cape Fillies Guineas, said: “I will talk to Angus Gold (racing manager for owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum) but the Met is definitely in our thinking and it might be her last start here if she is exported.
“I don’t see any need for her to run again before that but, if I do run her, it will be in Jo’burg. We will definitely export her eventually because I believe she is well capable of winning a Group 1 abroad.”
Saturday’s race was robbed of a lot of its significance when second favourite Cold As Ice plunged through the pens, giving Bernard Fayd’Herbe a nasty fall and galloping the full mile of the race. A bitterly disappointed Joey Ramsden felt he had no choice but to withdraw her while De Kock sympathised: “To get to the start in a Group 1 and not get a run is gut-wrenching and I’m gutted for Joey, Finchy and the boys. It took a bit of a shine off the race.”
Fayd’Herbe, who sprained his neck and was stood down for the rest of the day, saw it coming and believes it should have been avoided.
He explained: “She played up and I called to the starter for them to let me out. They didn’t and she broke through the gate.”
Anthony Delpech is still haunted by the ghost of Igugu’s defeat by Ebony Flyer four years ago and he disclosed afterwards that this lay at the heart of his decision-making.
He said: “Igugu got all lost round here and I rode her too confidently – I didn’t get aggressive early enough – and that’s why I rode Majmu the way I did. I wouldn’t have gone clear at the 500m otherwise.
“I also pulled the trigger early because my pacemaker was coming in on me and I wasn’t sure that he knew I was there. She will be better when I can chase a couple home and I think she wants further.”
Indeed it was only in the final furlong that the 30-100 hotpot really came into her own. She seemed to slip into another gear as she strode away and the two-and-a-half-length margin said far more about the way Delpech allowed her to ease than her superiority.
De Kock commented: “The further she goes the better she will be and I thought she won this in facile fashion. She is a tough, strong filly who weighs in excess of 500kg. She is straightforward although fairly temperamental in that she knows what she wants – but I suppose that is typical of most of the female species!”
The surprise packet was 25-1 shot Inara who ran on into second and Mike Bass is now targeting the Maine Chance Paddock Stakes on 10 January.
He said: “She will be comfortable over 1 800m. She is not the most robust filly but she has ability and next season she will come into her own.”
Greg Cheyne made his move on Double Whammy immediately Delpech made his (“she moved up well and stayed on”) but Glen Kotzen was concerned about the way she lost second close home – ”I don’t think she quite gets a mile and she will probably go for a sprint next.”
Vaughan Marshall immediately ruled out suggestions of the Paddock Stakes for Jet Set Go (fourth) and said: “I will take her to Jo’burg and have a crack at the Triple Tiara.”
Picture: Liesl King