Majmu ruled out of Met
PUBLISHED: January 6, 2015
Mike de Kock announced on Monday evening that he will be withdrawing the stable’s champion three-year-old filly from the J&B Met, the Western Cape’s showpiece event for which she was one of the ante-post favourites, and that the race operator will be officially notified on Tuesday morning.
De Kock’s decision to scratch Majmu comes despite the lifting of the recent movement restriction ban on horses stabled at Randjesfontein. He commented: “Under current AHS conditions it has been recommended that we move horses we intend to race in Cape Town to another centre or to Cape Town as soon as possible in case the movement ban is re-instituted, but I don’t want to prepare Majmu elsewhere.
“There are other overriding factors too. Majmu lost weight when she travelled to the Cape and back for the Fillies Guineas last December and had not put it back on after having had a month to do so. Taking another trip to Cape Town for a major race like the Met will be a bit hard on a young filly like her and could affect her Triple Tiara aspirations.
“We’d rather bide our time, the Highveld feature season is around the corner in Gauteng and it makes sense to keep Majmu stabled here in view of the Triple Tiara series. We had to make a decision whether Majmu would travel to Cape Town on Wednesday along with Pine Princess and Alboran Sea and after discussions with Sheikh Hamdan’s Racing Manager, Angus Gold, this evening we considered it to be in Majmu’s best interest to take her out of the J&B Met.”
Pine Princess has been accepted to race in the Gr1 Paddock Stakes at Kenilworth on Saturday (Jan 10). Alboran Sea will be running in the Cape Flying Championship on January 24.
Futura misses gallop, Snaith bullish as ever
PUBLISHED: January 5, 2015
Futura, forced to forego his L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate prep race, also had to miss Saturday’s planned racecourse gallop. But the Champions Cup winner remains on course for Saturday’s Kenilworth showpiece.
Brett Crawford explained: “He had only just stopped coughing and so he wouldn’t have been ready for a racecourse gallop. I gave him a spin on the sand instead. He is a very athletic type so he doesn’t need a lot.”
Bernard Fayd’Herbe’s mount has, understandably perhaps, eased slightly in the betting and is now 9-2 third favourite (from 4-1). Legislate has hardened to 1-2 with Betting World but Geoff Woodruff’s Sansui Summer Cup and Triple Crown winner Louis The King remains second favourite at 4-1.
Grand Parade Cape Guineas third Kingvoldt, the only three-year-old in the race, continues to drift and is now 12-1 after opening at 8-1.
Outsider Ashton Park (40-1) sprained a joint when nearly brought down in the Diadem Stakes nine days ago but Mike Bass, looking for a seventh Queen’s Plate triumph, is now a little more optimistic. He said: “I wasn’t hopeful of running him at the beginning of last week but I am now. The joint was swollen for most of the last week and I haven’t worked him. He has just been walking. Hopefully I will be able to this week.”
Justin Snaith, successful with Gimmethegreenlight three years ago, said at the weekend that he doesn’t fear any of the opposition, just bad luck in running. He added: “We won’t mind if the gallop is fast or slow. I just want him to have every opportunity and after that, may the best horse win. Indeed I hope they all get a fair chance so that there are no excuses afterwards.
“Legislate was very impressive in his Kenilworth gallop on Wednesday. Obviously it is hard to work out exactly how good he was as he went on his own, but I thought he was super impressive.”
The champion trainer, speaking of the Vodacom Durban July winner’s chance on Saturday, referred back to the four-year-old’s winning return in the Lanzerac Green Point Stakes and said: “He wasn’t fully tuned, just ready enough to run a good race. Yet to blow away a field like that and break the course record was scary.”
Snaith is also expecting a good show from 25-1 shot Jet Explorer and said: “He could be a dark horse for the placings. He will be given a chance and he will be running on at the end. He will do well.”
Joey Ramsden has undertaken to “let everyone know” if any change is made to the provisional plan to run Cape Guineas winner Act Of War in the Julius Baer Politician Stakes and said: “That’s still the plan but I will know more during the week.”
In the J&B Met betting Legislate has shorted from 22-10 to 18-10 and Futura has eased from 7-2 to 4-1. There has been significant support for the Bass-trained Premier Trophy runner-up Helderberg Blue who is now a 16-1 chance after being as big as 40-1 at one stage.
Meanwhile, Justin Snaith is on target to beat his own fastest century and needs just 16 winners in the next 32 days to do it. He landed a treble at Fairview on Friday and, although overshadowed by triple scorer Mike Bass at Kenilworth on Saturday, he had two more to take his total to 84. But the champion trainer is only third – behind Mike de Kock and Sean Tarry – in the trainers’ log and needs to win at least one of Saturday’s two Grade 1 races to regain his early season lead.
Trainers await travel solution
PUBLISHED: January 5, 2015
All options are being explored to transport the Mike de Kock-trained Pine Princess down to Cape Town in time for the Gr 1 Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes on Saturday, while in the meantime the state veterinary authority looks set to grant De Kock an alternative solution that will allow him to travel Alboran Sea and Majmu down in time for the Cape Flying Championship and J&B Met respectively, but he was yet to decide whether that alternative was “worthwhile.”
Randjesfontein horses have been subjected to a 40 day travel ban as it falls within a 30km radius of a recent positive case of African Horse Sickness (AHS). Sean Tarry is also affected by the ban as he plans to run Carry On Alice in the Cape Flying Championship and Trip To Heaven in the R1 million Cape Thoroughbred Sales Stakes, both on January 24.
Both De Kock and Tarry said today that the efforts to provide the best possible solution for the horses’ transport to the Cape included “legal wrangles.”
According to De Kock the state veterinary authority will grant permission for the horses to be moved to a training centre outside of the 30km radius, in this case The Vaal, where they will only have to stay for 14 days before being allowed to travel to Cape Town. This will enable runners for the Cape Flying Championship and J&B Met to reach Cape Town in time.
However, De Kock added that this alternative would mean a change of training tracks and environment, which was not ideal for a horse, and would also be subject to boxes being available, so he wondered whether it would be worthwhile.
Tarry said that everything was still “up in the air”, but that it was paramount that there was some sort of development “within the next 48 hours”, so that The Vaal option could at least be considered.
Pine Princess’s travel will obviously depend entirely on a solution being found within those 48 hours.
Tarry said there was a “lot going on” in the efforts to find a solution, including the case being “with the lawyers”. The connections of the horses are also awaiting a reply from a letter sent to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF). Tarry said that it was “alarming” that this letter, sent as a matter of urgency on December 28, had still not been replied to.
The travel ban was made by the state veterinary authority in order to protect the AHS Controlled Area in the Western Cape in line with the export protocol negotiated with the European Union (EU) in 1997.
De Kock, who spoke yesterday from his training centre in Dubai, admitted recently to having become increasingly demoralised by the AHS saga, which has had a severe impact on the racing and trading prospects of the South African thoroughbred as a whole and also on his own international ambitions.
He said recently that South Africa should “stop pandering” to the EU and instead concentrate their efforts on alternative solutions, and he said yesterday that it sent “a poor message” to the rest of the world that “we can’t travel our own horses around our own country.”
Goosen gets Trip Tease to shine
PUBLISHED: January 4, 2015
Vaal-based trainer Louis Goosen has worked wonders with the Zandvliet Stud-bred four-year-old Trippi gelding Trip Tease, who put his hand up as a genuine Gr 1 Computaform Sprint contender when winning the Gr 3 Lebelo Sprint over 1000m at Turffontein on Saturday, despite carrying a welter 61kg under Goosen’s famous brother-in-law Piere Strydom.
The Drakenstein Stud stallion Trippi sired the first three past the post, a continuation of the unstoppable form his progeny have been in this season. Trip Tease was purchased for a mere R70,000 at Bloodstock South Africa’s Emperor’s Palace National Two-Year-Old sale and has now earned R879,575 in stakes.
He won on debut over 1000m on the sand by 8,25 lengths as a young three-year-old, but took four runs to win on the turf. His first win on the turf over 1000m was off a merit rating of 82 and he followed up by winning the Gr 3 Man ‘O War Sprint for three-year-olds over 1100m, also on the turf. After that he rattled off three wins in succession on the sand. A second place on the sand then preceded his win in the Listed Hampton Handicap over 1000m on the sand.
His merit rating had by now rocketed up and he looked to have a mountain to climb returning to turf as the handicapper accorded him a 107 merit rating despite his last win on that surface having been off an 86.
However, he continues to defy the handicapper as he started off his turf campaign on November 1 by winning the Listed Golden Loom Handicap over 1000m. The victory was an emotional one for Goosen as he was a colleague and close friend of the late great Buddy Maroun, trainer of the famously tough and prolific Golden Loom.
On Saturday Trip Tease had to race off a merit rating of 112 under handicap conditions, but such is his reputation now that he was sent off as 5/2 favourite. The classy Sean Tarry-trained three-year-old Trippi colt Trip To Heaven was a 3/1 chance and looked the main danger. Trip To Heaven was slowly away again, just as he was when winning the Gr 2 Merchants over 1160m on Sansui Summer Cup day.
Therefore, Strydom was able to get Trip Tease up against the outside rail, which is usually of help to a horse. The four-year-old Mike de Kock-trained Trippi gelding Tiger Territory was meanwhile making a bold bid from the front and when Trip To Heaven appeared on the scene it looked like those two would fight it out. However, Strydom extracted a withering late burst from Trip Tease to get up by 0,25 lengths. Tiger Territory and Trip To heaven shared second place.
The big weight for age events like the Computaform Sprint look to be the future for Trip Tease and as a horse with the winning habit combined with Goosen’s expertise in priming him for a race he will always be a tough nut to crack.
Picture: Louis Goosen (JC Photos)
All eyes on Legislate
PUBLISHED: January 4, 2015
The Gr 1 R1 million L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate to be run at Kenilworth next weekend is now rated one of the top five horseracing events in the world due to the magnificent efforts of the sponsors over the last decade and this year there will be additional hype as it is not since the great Pocket Power that the country’s racing fraternity have been as excited about a horse as they have been about the ruling big race favourite Legislate.
The Justin Snaith-trained Dynasty colt smashed the Kenilworth Old Course record in the Gr 2 Green Point Stakes over 1600m last time out and displayed a dominance that will make him difficult to oppose in both the Queen’s Plate and the J&B Met, so he could well capture the Equus Horse Of The Year title for a second year running, despite the latter race likely being his last appearance in the country. He has a plum draw of two on Saturday and Richard Fourie aboard is an added bonus.
The biggest danger could be the Triple Crown and Sansui Summer Cup winner, the Geoff Woodruff-trained Louis The King, as his most impressive performance was in the Gr 2 Gauteng Guineas last season over the Queen’s Plate distance and he also ran a fantastic race from an impossible position in the Peermont Emperor’s Palace Charity Mile in early November. Woodruff came into the Queen’s Plate with the Summer Cup winner Yorker last year and that classy horse benefitted from the run before running a good second in the Met. There are those that feel Louis The King, despite his record over 1600m, will follow in those footsteps.
The Brett Crawford-trained Futura is regarded as a future champion by many, as he has all the credentials including a fantastic turn of foot. However, he has had a slightly interrupted preparation and the impression given is that he would be more comfortable over further.
Tellina is consistently placed at Gr 1 level and is also a former Gauteng Guineas winner, while Grand Parade Cape Guineas runner up Kingvoldt’s performance will give a clue as to how good the three-year-old male crop is.
Jet Explorer was unlucky in last year’s Queen’s Plate and has enjoyed a fine preparation, while Ashton Park has blossomed in his five-year-old year and could build on his surprise Green Point Stakes runner up spot. Gold Onyx and Paterfamilias will likely be better suited to the Met
It is going to be a humdinger of a race, despite Legislate’s presence having led to an unusually small field of nine runners, and the country’s racing fraternity will be glued to the action at 16:40 next Saturday.
Picture: Legislate (Liesl King)