Look beyond the obvious
PUBLISHED: January 30, 2015
The J&B Met meeting often produces upsets so it will pay to study the form intricately and look beyond the obvious runners.
A South Westerly wind is predicted by WindGuru and this should favour low draws in races down the straight.
The Gr 1 Investec Cape Derby features the high class Act Of War who should enjoy the step up in trip and he looks hard to oppose. The biggest danger is the unbeaten Ertijaal, a long-striding sort who relish both the trip and the long straight. Light The Lights was found to have a lung infection after his disappointing Gr 1 Grand Parade Cape Guineas run but has been doing well lately and as a progressive type who will relish the trip he looks to be the dark horse.
The Gr 1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes is packed with class and very competitive. However, the three-year-old fillies crop looks special this year. The potential superstar Cold As Ice has tremendous cruising speed and was running on when winning a Gr 2 over 1400m which gives hope she will stay the trip. Inara impressed with her runner up finish in the Gr 1 Avontuur Estate Cape Guineas and then won the Gr 1 Maine Chance Paddock Stakes despite being squeezed out in the straight.
Carry On Alice is full of class and effective over this trip. Hammie’s Hooker showed signs of being a high class miler last season and was ridden too aggressively in the Paddock Stakes. Jet Belle was an unlucky third in the Paddock Stakes and has always struck as a potential Gr 1 winner.
Arcetri Pink can be devastating on her day but needs a good pace. Priceless Jewel is likely fresher than the others having only run in sprints and
finished a fine third last year. Red Flame at last gets the opportunity to prove herself at this level over her best trip, but she has unfortunately drawn wide.
Maybe Yes won the Gr2 KRA Fillies Guineas last year when showing a superb turn of foot. However, Cold As Ice is tipped to beat Inara with Carry On Alice, Hammie’s Hooker and Jet Belle next best.
The Listed Sun International Summer Juvenile Stakes, which forms the first leg of the Pick 6, is often won by a horse flying under the radar, but the Dennis Drier-trained Seventh Plain did create a huge impression on debut, lengthening beautifully when hitting his considerable full stride. He is a possible banker.
The speedy Buckinghampshire is rated by the Justin Snaith yard as one of their best bets of the day. He was slow away and rushed when beaten by Seventh Plan but now receives 3kg. The Glen Kotzen-trained Princess Royal is a half-sister to a former winner of this race, the brilliant Princess Victoria, and won well on debut.
The second leg of the Pick 6 is a competitive handicap over 1200m and taking draws and form into account Bold Var could be the one to side with. Zingaro, Mister Matchett, Uncle Jim, Tour De Var and Azincourt make most appeal of the rest.
In the last leg of the Pick 6, Ultimate Dollar, St. Tropez and Fire Master have given the impression that they can go on to bigger things.
In the first leg of the PA Swannee Rose has a big chance from a nice draw. Summer Cruise should be cherry ripe and is drawn well over a step up in trip she should relish. Crystal Cavern has the class and form to win but has a wide draw to overcome. The same can be said for Seven Grand. Princess Salme has come down to a winning mark and is drawn in pole with Piere Strydom up.
Sail South is full of class and can win the tenth if the pace is better than in his last race over 1400m in which he didn’t settle. Ze Kaiser is over his feet problems so should also be included and Piere Strydom will suit Big Cat’s style. Night Trip and Captain America have big weights but are classy types that can’t be ignored.
The classy Indaba looks the one to beat in the eleventh, but Pecan Nut will be a big runner too.
Dynastic Power is the class horse in the Gr 2 J&B Urban Honey Reserve Stayers and is better than his merit rating. He will stay too but all of Coltrane, Shingwedzi, Mountain Master, Gothic, Ash Cloud and Wavin’ Flag have to be considered too.
Louis to polish his crown
PUBLISHED: January 30, 2015
Louis The King looks primed to deliver in tomorrow’s Gr 1 R2,5 million J&B Met.
He was held up at a crucial stage in the L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate before flying home for second and that was only intended as a “bring on” race. The Triple Crown hero carried a big weight to victory in the Sansui Summer Cup and is very much at home over 2000m.
Futura showed fine finishing speed in his Vodacom Durban July third place run as well as when winning the L’Omarins Queen’s Plate, despite a slow pace in both races. He will appreciate this distance and is likely to be finishing strongly.
Punta Arenas finished third at a big price last year and will be cherry-ripe after a good preparation. His wide draw might favour him as it did last year, as he won’t have to expend much energy in finding a handy position in a likely slow paced race. He has a resolute finish and could present the best place value in the race. Power King is getting better and better after gelding and should now be at his peak. He is 1kg better off with Arion for a 1,25 length beating in the Peninsula Handicap over 1800m, in which he was doing his best work late.
Tellina placed in two Gr 1s over this trip at Turffontein last season and will be having his second run after gelding. He finished fifth in the Queen’s Plate, a race that was intended to bring him to his peak.
Dynamic went close to upsetting Capetown Noir over this course and distance in the Investec Cape Derby two years ago and has impressed in his unbeaten run this season. He is said to be getting “better and better” in work and from draw 6 could take advantage of a lack of pace by being right up there before staying on. However, trainer Justin Snaith’s yard has been badly affected by a virus that appears to be rife in Cape Town at present and it is hard to fancy their horses with confidence at present.
Gold Onyx has a short run in and was a touch unlucky not to get a clear passage in the Queen’s Plate after cruising in behind for much of the straight. He gets on well with Grant Behr, who has retained the ride, and he stays this trip these days. Arion takes a lot of work and is not the soundest, but his Peninsula Handicap win proved that he was at his peak, so he has probably just been kept ticking over. Jet Explorer will go into the Met off a good preparation, unlike last year when pulling a shoe and banging his leg in the Met Gallops. He is always a dangerous contender at his peak and will be 1,5kg better off with Futura and Louis The King for beatings of between one and two lengths in the Queen’s Plate. He does have a slight stamina doubt, but in a slow paced race he should get this trip.
Killua Castle’s best form was always on the Turffontein Standside Track until he waltzed in last time out in the Gr 3 London News Stakes over 1800m on the Turffontein Inside Track, so he looks to be coming into his own. He is only 1kg worse off with Louis The King for a narrow defeat in the Summer Cup. Helderberg Blue’s temperament let him down last season, but is now under control. He was forced to go for home too early when fourth in the Peninsula and trainer Mike Bass also admitted said that he had probably not done enough with him in work before that race. He does have a wide draw to overcome. Paterfamilias will be having his third run after a year’s layoff and could earn if showing the same form of his Premier Trophy third place last season. He also has a wide draw, but Bass expects both him and Helderberg Blue to run their best ever races.
Johnny Rockets is not a sound horse so is unreliable, but is capable of a strong finish and if he is able to fully let himself down, which he doesn’t tend to do, he could earn a cheque.
Astro News was a close up sixth to Igugu as a three-year-old, but has only placed once in ten Gr 1 outings.
The scratching of Legislate and Justin Snaith’s admission that his yard is battling to contain a virus has changed the dynamic of this race so the selection has altered slightly from last Sunday and is now Louis The King to beat Futura, with Punta Arenas, Power King and Tellina next best. However, Dynamic remains the dark horse as he looks to have the potential on his day to upset the favourites.
Neisius Met dream alive
PUBLISHED: January 29, 2015
“Cool Karl” Neisus celebrated his birthday on Tuesday but in something like 35 attempts has never landed the present he dreams of, winning Cape Town’s biggest race the J&B Met, which is to be run over 2000m at Kenilworth on Saturday.
The fifty-something stalwart has a chance of completing a lifelong ambition in the Gr 1 R2,5 million race this year as he has a good ride on the Dean Kannemeyer-trained Power King, who landed a nice barrier position of seven.
Neisius said, “He has improved with gelding and is exceptionally well, he is probably the best he has ever been. The draw is fine, I am happy with it and I am just hoping for a bit of luck. He’ll run well.”
Power King will have no problem with the trip. He was running on late for a 1,25 length second last time out in the Gr 2 Peninsula Handicap over 1800m. He will not only be 1kg better off with the winner Arion, but Kannemeyer said he also still needed that run slightly, so will have improved further.
Neisius said Indaba in the 11th race was “probably his best ride on the day.” He said, “She is reasonably well weighted and is taking on weaker than she is used to.”
He said of his other rides, “Lanner Falcon (Gr 1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes) has to overcome a wide draw, but will drop off them anyway, and she has an eachway chance. Varlo (2nd race) is well, but it is a difficult race. He has an each/way chance but at the weights it’s going to be quite hard for him.
“I don’t know much about Harlem Shake (Listed Sun International Summer Juvenile Stakes). She won a nice race on debut, but I don’t know how strong that field was and up against the colts it’s going to hard to beat the first and second favourites (Seventh Plain and Buckinghampshire).
“Blackmore (5th race) will probably need this run as it is his first after gelding. Catkin (Gr 1 Investec Cape Derby), I don’t know much about him, but he is quite good as he has always been only a few lengths off Act Of War. Solar Star (10th race) has been going well at home and has an each/way chance, but it is a competitive race and hard to pick a winner.
Gothic (Gr 2 J&B Urban Honey Stayers) is very honest and always gives of his best. I hope he can go one better on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, the wind direction for the J&B Met meeting at Kenilworth on Saturday according to WindGuru is due to be south westerly, which means it will be blowing over the stands, and it will be between 15 and 17km/h in strength.
Experienced jockey Neisius believed that it was therefore “unlikely” that the jockeys would go to the outside for the sprint races down the straight. Furthermore, the inside draws should also be shielded from the wind by the outside horses, so low draws down the straight could be favourable on the day.
Snaith team still formidable
PUBLISHED: January 28, 2015
Justin Snaith has had five winners on J&B Met day on three separate occasions but admitted that this Saturday will “be the longest day of his life” as the virus that is rife in his yard, and in the area in general, has reduced the fortunes of his yard to a “hit and miss” situation.
Snaith was forced to scratch leading J&B Met candidate Legislate earlier this afternoon after conceding that although the Equus Horse Of The Year was ‘100% healthy’ his preparation had not been great after scoping full of mucus in his lungs following a subpar performance in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate just three weeks ago.
Snaith still has a massive team of 40 runners engaged on Saturday, including five in the R2,5 million J&B Met over 2000m.
The always professional Snaith team have sort the advice of the world renowned USA-based immunologist, Dr Holland, who practices a “serum aminoid test” as opposed to the more risky method of scoping, in order to find out whether horses are incubating a virus.
The virus affecting horses has been thriving in the current hot weather in Cape Town. Dr Holland has also advised on both treatment and prevention.
Jonathon Snaith spoke glowingly of the results of this assistance in a Met panel discussion on Tellytrack on Sunday. Justin said, “We are doing the best we can behind the scenes to contain the virus and find out which horses are incubating and which aren’t, but this has been the worst two weeks the yard have had, and it’s not just us it’s all over. It seems to be hit and miss and the yard have had more last places in the last couple of weeks than winners.”
He said of his 16/1 chance Dynamic, “He is sailing, he’s doing very well.” Dynamic has been seen by some as a possible pacemaker, but Snaith said, “He is not a natural front runner, he likes to come from behind, and it’s only when the pace has been too slow that he’s been up there.”
Arion is also a 16/1 chance and Snaith said, “My biggest concern with him was the Met Gallops as he’s not the soundest, so he went as slowly as possible and never came out of a canter. All is well with him.”
Jet Explorer’s form points to a possible stamina doubt and Snaith said, “It depends on the pace. He didn’t stay the July trip (2013), otherwise he would have won it, although he might have been sent for home too early. He’s a runner, make no mistake, although he will prefer a slow pace.”
He said of the rank 150/1 outsider Johnny Rockets, “We have him as sound as we can have him. He hurt his feet in his last start. It is just his feet that worry him.” This horse runs with quite a head carriage, due to his unsound feet, and it would be interesting if he one day fully let himself down as he does look full of potential.
Snaith denied a rumour that Astro News had been supplemented in order to set the pace. He said, “He is as sound as he’s ever been going into a big race but has no easy task. One of the reasons we entered him was in order for Luyolo (Mxothwa) to gain some experience and to give him a feeling of a big race as we think this young jockey has a bright future.”
Snaith named Buckinghamshire in the Listed Sun International Summer Juvenile Stakes as one of his best runners on the day.
However, he lamented that most of his runners were poorly weighted in their respective races. He cited the example of Ultimate Dollar, who runs in the ninth over 1600m, as he was beaten by St. Tropez in the maidens over 1400m two runs ago, but now has to carry 1kg more than him.
Kotzen bullish with Belle
PUBLISHED: January 28, 2015
Glen Kotzen is bullish about a number of his runners at the J&B Met meeting on Saturday where he has two Gr 1 contenders.
He said about the five-year-old Jet Master mare Jet Belle, who runs in the Gr 1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes over 1600m from a great draw, “I think she is a huge runner, she was unlucky in the Paddock Stakes and her preparation has gone flawlessly so is good value at 10/1.”
He said that Jet Belle had been working and looking “exceptionally well”. Kotzen runs the Western Winter colt Light The Lights in the Gr 1 Investec Cape Derby over 2000m.
This horse’s plan has always been to mirror the route Big City Life took all the way to his Vodacom Durban July win in 2009, because Kotzen has always believed he would get better as he got older and went further.
He followed in Big City Life’s footsteps by winning the RA Stakes in Port Elizabeth. He ran below par last time out in the Gr 1 Grand Parade Guineas but a subsequent lung wash revealed an infection, which was the identical experience Big City Life suffered before winning the Cape Derby. Kotzen mentioned that the virus effecting horses in Cape Town appeared to be rife, but has been pleased with Light The Lights progress since and said, “He has been working well and is very bright.”
Kotzen has three fillies in the Listed Sun International Summer Juvenile Stakes, including Captain Al filly Princess Royale, who is a half-sister to the yard’s brilliant Princess Victoria, who won this race on her way to stardom in 2011.
Kotzen said, “Princess Royale has come on a lot from her winning debut and is a serious runner. The other two haven’t won so will be receiving weight. Princess Jane is quite quick. We thought Entre Nous would win first time out but a lung wash showed she had the virus. She put up a fantastic workout last time. But on their work I would say Princess Royale has the edge.”
Kotzen was bullish about Gone Baby Gone, who runs in the tenth, a MR 96 Handicap over 1600m. He said, “I think he is a huge runner. He has solid form over a mile and was unlucky last time as he was brought for his run down the inside in the worst going and just gave up in the last bit.”
His son Kuyan’s horse Cathy Specific won on debut over 1000m at Kenilworth despite being slow away and runs in the first race, a MR 86 Handicap for fillies and mares over the same course and distance. She was only given a 74 merit rating, so goes in with bottom weight, but is officially 1,5kg under sufferance. Kotzen clearly thinks a lot of her and said, “She weighs 560kg and this might be a bit sharp but she will be flying at them.”
The yard have a team of 14 runners for the day and Omaticaya, who runs in the eleventh over 1800m, was another he mentioned, “She ran a cracker last time over 1700m in a similar race with the same top-weight and she has a good draw. It’s a competitive handicap but she is very honest.”