Majmu rated ‘unbeatable’
PUBLISHED: December 4, 2014
Majmu is as short as 3-10 to become the sixth winning favourite in nine years in the Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas at Kenilworth on Saturday.
Betting World, who clearly consider Mike de Kock’s star well-nigh unbeatable, make the Joey Ramsden-trained Choice Carriers winner Cold As Ice second favourite at 4-1 and Glen Kotzen’s Lanzerac Diana winner next best at 8-1.
These are the only three trading in single figures and the remaining prices are: 14-1 Jet Set Go, 20-1 Ataab (also trained by De Kock), 25-1 Inara, 33-1 Sunset Tripp, 45-1 Grey Light, Cuvee Brut, Jeweller’s Joy.
Missing from the big race line-up is Hot Affair, one of the top two-year-old fillies of last season. She was being targeted at this.
Mike Robinson reported: “Unfortunately she chipped a bone in her off-fore knee. She had surgery on Monday and she will be out for a couple of months.”
Picture: Majmu (JC Photos)
Cuvee Brut ready for challenge
PUBLISHED: December 3, 2014
Brett Crawford and Mike Bass take their chances with Cuvee Brut and Inara in the Gr 1 Avontuur Estate Fillies Guineas at Kenilworth on Saturday, but with the like of Majmu and Cold As Ice in the field, both are up against it.
Adam Marcus brings back the classy Priceless Jewel in the Gr 2 Tony Taberer Southern Cross Stakes over 1000m, a race which Bass looks to have a fine chance of winning as he is represented by a strong pair in Fly By Night and Lanner Falcon.
Cuvee Brut is a three-year-old Count Dubois filly, who has only had three starts, all of them over sprints, but she did catch the eye last time out in a MR 68 handicap for fillies and mares over 1200m at Kenilworth when producing a late rattle to win by 0,75 lengths.
On the downside, she was running off only a 75 merit rating and the filly she beat, Ladidah, is a relatively exposed three-year-old who runs off an 81 merit rating but had the advantage of a 4kg claimer aboard. However on the bright side the rest of the field, which included older fillies, were well beaten.
Importantly, Cuvee Brut’s first win over 1000m was at Durbanville, meaning she has experienced a left hand turn. Cuvee Brut is out of a half-sister to the useful Ziplock, who won up to 1600m, but Crawford was not quite sure whether she would see out the 1600m trip. However he said that she had been “doing well.” She jumps from draw five and will be ridden by Corné Orffer.
Candice Robinson, who is Bass’s daughter and assistant trainer, confirmed that the three-year-old Trippi filly Inara would appreciate the extra 200m having stayed on well in the Gr 2 Choice Carrier’s Championship over 1400m last time out for a 4,5 length fourth. In her penultimate start she finished just 0,4 lengths in second to the well regarded Indaba in a Novice Plate over 1600m, with the rest of the field well beaten, and the latter went on to slam them in impressive style in a MR 67 handicap over 1600m at Kenilworth.
However, Robinson said that although Inara had been doing well, the yard would be happy with a place on Saturday in a field of this quality.
All three of the horses who beat her in that race, Cold As Ice, Double Whammy and Jet Set Go, are in Saturday’s race, which is once again a level weights event, and Majmu’s presence will make it even tougher.
However, the pace is likely to be on, which should suit her down to the ground, and she is also well drawn in two, so can’t be ignored in bets like the trifecta and quartet. Grant van Niekerk retains the ride.
Robinson said that the Gr 1 Mercury Sprint winner Fly By Night, a much improved five-year-old Jet Master mare, was very well and had come on from her victorious seasonal reappearance in a Conditions Plate over 1000m at Kenilworth, so would have a “big shout” over the same course and distance in the Southern Cross Stakes. She was well weighted in that last race, but has earned her merit rating of 106, which is the third highest in the field behind the 108 merit rated Priceless Jewel and the 109 rated Gr 1 winner Alboran Sea. Former stable jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe rode Fly By Night to victory in the Mercury Sprint and is re-united with her at the expense of current stable jockey Van Niekerk, who rides Lanner Falcon. Robinson said that Lanner Falcon, a Trippi filly who was runner up in last year’s Cape Fillies Guineas, was in good shape, but the 1000m might just be a touch too sharp for her. Fly By Night is drawn one and Lanner Falcon eight, so the connections will be watching the two earlier sprints with interest to see which side of the course will be preferred by the jockeys on the day.
Priceless Jewel, a five-year-old Ashaawes mare, had quite a busy campaign last season, which yielded four wins, including a Gr 3 over 1400m and a Listed event over 1200m, and she also finished a fantastic two length third to the great Beach Beauty in the Gr 1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes over 1600m. She was kept going for the first couple of weeks this season in order to take part in the Gr 3 eDiamond Stakes over 1200m, in which she looked impossible to oppose at the weights, and duly won by 3,5 lengths.
The yard then sent her for a deserved holiday on the farm and have only brought her back slowly.
Basil Marcus said, “This is obviously a prep run for her and is a little bit short, but she is doing well at home. We are going to see how she goes and then decide where we go from there as there are only limited opportunities for her in the Cape summer season.”
Sean Cormack takes the ride from a nice draw of five which in a small field of nine will enable her to switch to whichever side is considered favourable on the day, so she could be a threat sitting off the pace and then running on.
Captains to kick start Drier’s Cape season
PUBLISHED: December 3, 2014
Dennis Drier believes his Cape Town string has turned the corner after a bit of a flat spell and is expecting “big runs” from Captain Of All, Captain On The Run and Crescendo in the Listed Val De Ra Southeaster Sprint over 1100m.
“I hope they show their true worth,” said Drier.
Captain Of All is a very speedy Captain Al colt and led virtually from pillar to post when winning the Gr 1 Tsogo Sun Medallion over 1200m at Scottsville as a two-year-old. In his next start in the Gr 1 Golden Horseshoe over1400m at Greyville it was probably only the sticky going that cost him victory as he looked all over the winner until running out of steam and being caught on the line by Forest Indigo and Kochka. He next appeared in November last year in a Graduation Plate over 1200m at Kenilworth and turned it into a procession, winning by 2,5 lengths. However, he has been off for more than a year since then having suffered stifle problems and a “joint hiccup”. However, Drier has taken him to Kenilworth for a gallop and is very happy with his well being and fitness.
He said, “He may need it, but I hope not.”
Stable jockey Sean Cormack will ride Captain Of All, who has to carry topweight of 61kg.
Captain On The Run is also a four-year-old by Captain Al. He disappointed a couple of times as a colt, but appears to have turned the corner since being gelded about a year ago. He had two good wins after gelding and with blinkers on, but after a below par run the blinkers were removed and he then went close next time out over 1200m at Clairwood in a competitive Pinnacle Stakes race. His only run since then has been on the poly and he returns from a 109 day rest. However, he will be carrying only 52,5kg and has in form Corné Orffer up, so should be competitive.
Crescendo beat the useful Flyfirstclass at Clairwood over 1200m the last time he went down the straight. An interesting formline from that race is that he beat Hunting Horn by 2,35 lengths when receiving only 0,5kg, while Captain Of All beat the latter just over a year ago by 2,5 lengths over 1200m when giving him 2,5kg. As Crescendo is receiving 7kg from Captain Of All, that particular formline puts him ahead of the latter. However, on jockey arrangements Crescendo appears to be the yard third string in the race. Crescendo is a resolute galloper and should love the tough Kenilworth straight course. Anthony Andrews is up and this horse should never be underestimated.
Meanwhile, Drier has abandoned the Gr 1 Grand Parade Cape Guineas plan for his top class Var colt Generalissimo.
“He doesn’t stay,” admitted Drier, reflecting on his Selangor Cup run over 1600m in which he faded out in the straight after being keen early.
He felt he was “too young” to take part in the Gr 1 Betting World Cape Flying Championship over 1000m on January 24, but hadn’t ruled out the possibility completely.
Pictures: Nkosi Hlophe
Epic duel in many ways
PUBLISHED: December 3, 2014
Big race jockeys Anthony Delpech and Bernard Fayd’Herbe are very excited about Saturday’s Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas at Kenilworth where the aspirant new darling of the South African turf, the Mike de Kock-trained Majmu, faces the best filly of her age in the Western Cape, the Joey Ramsden-trained Cold As Ice.
The clash matches any duel the race has seen in its long history and is as eagerly anticipated as the one between the De Kock-trained Igugu and the Justin Snaith-trained Ebony Flyer in 2010.
Interestingly, Igugu and Ebony Flyer were also ridden by Delpech and Fayd’Herbe respectively. The vanquished Igugu went on to become a national hero by winning the Triple Tiara and then doing the Vodacom Durban July/J&B Met double, all under the skilled hands of Delpech. However, her defeat in the Cape Fillies Guineas was a bitter pill to swallow, especially as the pair never met again.
Delpech said sometime later that Igugu had felt “lost” first time out on a left hand turn and besides being caught wide she had not quite been herself on the day. He and De Kock will not want to experience a repeat dose from the Capetonians.
The KZN-based jockey flew down to Cape Town last night (Wednesday) in order that he could show Majmu the turn at Kenilworth today (Thursday). Majmu only arrived in Cape Town yesterday and is being stabled at Kenilworth.
Delpech was reluctant to compare Majmu (pictured) to Igugu and said, “Igugu won so many Gr 1s and Majmu is just starting out, so it would not be fair to compare them yet. But she is obviously very good and I’m really excited as it is only now that we are taking on the better horses and we will see how good she is.”
The robust Australian-bred grey by Redoute’s Choice possesses devastating finishing speed, but in her two runs this season has appeared to take a while to get going. Delpech said, “She does unwind, although it depends how the race is run. Last time I dropped her out because of her wide draw, but she is a simple straight forward filly to ride.”
Interestingly, De Kock has entered another horse, the classy Ataab, who has the same owner as Majmu, Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum. It needn’t even be asked that the purpose of this entry is to ensure the good pace that will give Majmu her best chance of winning.
Fayd’Herbe on the other hand said, “I would love it if it were the normal Cape crawl!” Both he and Ramsden have a doubt that Cold As ice will stay a true mile and if it does turn into a sprint for home it would suit her down to the ground.
The Western Winter filly has won her last three starts effortlessly, including the Gr 2 Choice Carriers Championship over 1400m last time out where she showed a fine turn of foot from a handy position.
Ebony Flyer was drawn four in 2010 and Igugu eight, but this year De Kock has the advantage as Majmu is drawn six to Cold As Ice’s eight.
Fayd’Herbe said yesterday, “Cold as Ice is fit and doing really well, we are very happy, and her last gallop went really well. I will just be giving her a sprint up tomorrow (today (Thursday) ). We have obviously heard a lot about Majmu and seen her, so know how good she is, but I am excited about Saturday’s race.”
There are a number of other horses in the field that could be a threat.
Chief among them is the Glen Kotzen-trained Choice Carriers 1,25 length runner up Double Whammy, who is known to be a front-runner. However, Kotzen said that this Judpot filly had been forced to take it up last time due to the slow pace and when she was put in behind two horses in work the other day the result excited both Kotzen and jockey Greg Cheyne. Kotzen said, “It was a fantastic gallop and she did it very easily.”
Kotzen also runs the Trippi filly Jeweller’s Joy and after her fine sixth place finish in the Lanzerac Ready To Run Stakes over 1400m, in which she didn’t enjoy much luck, Cheyne had returned to say he couldn’t tell who was better, Jeweller’s Joy or Double Whammy. Double Whammy is drawn in pole position and Jeweller’s Joy is in barrier three with the experienced Karl Neisius aboard.
The Vaughan Marshall-trained Jet Master filly Jet Set Go, who is drawn four with MJ Byleveld up, also has a chance. She was running on well for a 2,5 length third in the Choice Carrier’s and will prefer the longer straight of the New Course as well as the step up in distance.
This is the first three-year-old Gr 1 of the season and it should be a humdinger.
Pictures: Cold As Ice (Liesl King); Majmu (JC Photos)
Snaith realistic with Sunset Tripp
PUBLISHED: December 2, 2014
Champion trainer Justin Snaith admitted that he could only be “hopeful” at best about Sunset Tripp’s chances in the Gr 1 Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas to be run at Kenilworth on Saturday, but he was still confident that his 15-strong team would have a good meeting overall.
As a trainer who has dominated the Cape Fillies Guineas in recent times with four wins in the last seven renewals he knows exactly how good a horse has to be to win it.
He said, “You have to have a superstar to win it and this year’s three-year-old fillies are very good. Sunset Tripp is doing very well and for a filly to run third in the Ready To Run Stakes was impressive. We would have preferred a better draw, but she is doing very well, she has no niggles, she is hassle free, and is a real trier.”
If she proves not good enough to win, she could at least play an important role as the pacemaker as she did in the Ready To Run Stakes. This is especially in light of trainer Glen Kotzen saying that his charge Double Whammy had been a reluctant leader in the Gr 2 Choice Carrier Championship over 1400m last time out and the yard planned to adopt different tactics this time. However, Snaith said, “If we do lead we will do it on our own terms.”
The likely favourite from the Mike de Kock yard, Majmu, will be hard to beat if there is a good pace and it looks increasingly likely that her stablemate Ataab might go the front to ensure a strong gallop. Snaith won this big race with Captain’s Lover in 2007, Sparkling Gem in 2008, Ebony Flyer in 2010 and In The Fast Lane last year.
Snaith said that his yard was in good form and could be followed. “The bipot is the best new bet around and a good one for followers of our yard because we are consistently close.”
Daring Dave looks their probable best runner on the day in the Listed Val De Ra Southeaster Sprint over 1100m. The four-year-old Dynasty gelding was only caught late by Tevez last time out in the Gr 2 Cape Merchants over 1200m and looks likely to appreciate the slight drop in trip.
Snaith said, “He was unlucky last time as the loose horse forced him to go too soon and Sean (Cormack) said if he could ride him again he would wait longer. His aim has always been the Gr 1 Betting World Cape Flying Championship, it’s still a long way off, so I have done very little with this horse. I have hardly galloped him at all, and he should be getting better with every run.”
Cap Alright also runs in that race and Snaith said, “He was disappointing last time and hope he can make a comeback, otherwise we will try him over further.”
The yard run the five-year-old Var mare Varikate and the three-year-old Antonius Pius filly Arria in the weight for age Gr 2 Tony Taberer Southern Cross Stakes for fillies and mares over 1000m. Varikate beat males in the Gr 2 Post Merchants over 1200m at Greyville during the Champions Season. She is 4kg better off with Gr 1 Mercury Sprint winner Fly By Night for a 3,5 length beating in a conditions race over the Southern Cross course and distance last time out.
However Snaith said, “When I saw her in the ring last time, I knew I hadn’t done enough with her and we’re hoping we can get closer to Fly By Night this time.” Varikate has natural speed and is usually right up with the pace so as a fitter horse should run all the way to the line this time unlike last time when leading and fading late.
Snaith said about Arria, “Two-year-old racing is weak in Cape Town and her good juvenile form just hasn’t worked out.”
Snaith mentioned a few other runners, “Fire Master (runs in the 2nd race, a maiden over 1200m) will be a very nice horse in time and might go close here. The Jet (8th race, a MR 77 handicap over 1000m) hated the tailwind last time so will do better, but its too close to call between her and Lotus Lily Lake, who won well last time and has a chance if repeating that run. We are just testing the waters with Current Event (4th race MR 74 Handicap over 2400m) as Port Elizabeth staying races are weak. Bianzino (9th race, an MR 69 handicap over 1600m) is a very nice up and coming sort and we are expecting a good run.
Picture: Arria – Richard Fourie (Liesl King)