Futura playing catch up
PUBLISHED: December 28, 2014
Champions Cup winner Futura will be given a work-out at Kenilworth on Saturday in a bid to make up for being forced to miss his L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate preliminary.
Brett Crawford said: “He was coughing and had to be given medication to nip it in the bud, and the medication meant that he had to be scratched from the Diadem. That race was going to be a gallop so now I will bring him to the course to gallop him.”
Futura remains 7-2 second favourite for the J & B Met with Betting World which has eased Legislate from 2-1 to 22-10. The Vodacom Durban July winner will gallop at Kenilworth on Wednesday and continues to please Justin Snaith who said “he is doing well.”
Act Of War has drifted from 6-1 a week ago to 15-2, presumably because punters are waiting to see whether he will run or instead opt for either Saturday week’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate or the Investec Cape Derby on Met day.
Joey Ramsden, speaking from England, said on Saturday: “He came out of the Guineas very nicely and we will freshen him up this week.” Asked whether the colt could go for the Queen’s Plate, Ramsden said: “He could very well run but I will have a chat with Markus Jooste and a longer one with Derek Brugman.”
The handicappers raised Act Of War by 2kg to 117 for his Guineas win, the same merit rating as Legislate and half a kilo higher than Triple Crown winner Louis The King. However, when you take the sex allowance into account, Cape Fillies Guineas winner Majmu (114) is officially the best horse in the country.
Guineas runner-up Harry’s Son was left on an unchanged 114 while third-placed Kingvoldt was upped 3kg to 113. Ramsden said: “He is in a few places but he may well go for the R1 million CTS Book 1 Graduates race on 24 January.”
The Sean Tarry fourth and fifth, Imperial Gold and Zambezi River, were raised 7kg and 5.5kg to 102 and 101 but sixth-placed Arniston was left on 92 – much to his trainer’s relief! Snaith said: “He ran on well in the Guineas and he may now run in the Politician Stakes over 1 800m on Saturday week.”
Both Mljet (eighth) and Light The Lights (ninth) ran below form and will miss the Politician.
Vaughan Marshall said: “The draw is a killer, as we all know. Mljet will go to Jo’burg and run in the Betting World Gauteng Guineas (Feb 28). I am taking 26 horses to Joburg and they will leave in the middle of next month. My assistant Adele Alsop will go up there for the first month and then I will go.”
Glen Kotzen added: “Light The Lights did everything right but never kicked and he pulled up coughing. He goes straight for the Cape Derby.”
Picture: Futura at last season’s July gallops (Nkosi Hlophe)
Fourth Estate lands Christmas Handicap
PUBLISHED: December 28, 2014
The Colin Scott-trained seven-year-old Dynasty gelding Fourth Estate showed his liking for the tight turf course at Greyville on Friday night when running on from off the pace under Alec Forbes to win the R200,000 Gr 3 Christmas Handicap over 1600m by a comfortable 2,25 lengths.
This was the first turf meeting at Greyville since November 9 and the course was presented in fine condition in front of another big Friday night crowd.
Fourth Estate has now won eight races, six of them on the Greyville turf, and earned bold black type for the first time. He was backed in from 14-1 to 10-1 and after jumping from pole position was settled on the rail in about midfield.
The second favourite Diamond King hit the front at the250m mark, but when Fourth Estate was switched inward he made up the ground quickly and kept going well to win easily. Isobar, the 9/2 favourite Candy Moon and Uncle Tommy had to be dropped out from wide draws and ran on from the back for third, fourth and fifth respectively.
Fourth Estate is owned by Colin Scott’s brother Rob together with B Bougardt and N Govender, was bred by Tertia Properties and has now earned R673,225 in stakes.
Picture: Fourth Estate (Nkosi Hlophe)
Hammie’s Hooker ready to shine
PUBLISHED: December 26, 2014
In the absence of stable rider Glen Hatt, recovering from surgical repair to a worn-out wrist, Brett Crawford has been forced to cast around for replacement jockeys. Hatt’s frustration at sitting on the sidelines will have been further aggravated by the fact that Champions Stakes winner Futura is a live contender for both the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate and the J&B Met and he warms up this afternoon in the more than capable hands of Bernhard Fayd’Herbe in the Khaya Stables Diadem Stakes (WFA) over the Keniloworth 1200m.
It is a super competitive race with the list of possible winners a long one and while Futura, having an obvious prep run for the Queen’s Plate, will be close to the top of many pundits lists, Fayd’herbe’s regular mount, Hammie’s Hooker, may be the one he has to beat.
With the future in mind, Fayd’Herbe will have been relieved that he had an alternative in Futura for this race as anything under 58kg is a major test for his already fat-free frame and Hammie’s Hooker comes in at 57,5kg. Mike Bass’s charge spent much of her career in the shadow of the superb Beach Beauty but her nemesis is now enjoying the paddocks of Drakenstein Stud which will hopefully have opened the door a little wider for Hammie’s Hooker.
No doubt the Gr1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes will be high on her agenda come January but she warmed up superbly for today’s race with a flying finish behind the mostly under achieving stable companion Tevez in the Cape Merchants who will again be in opposition but this time with a 5kg swing in favour of the mare.
The Bass stable first call rider Grant van Niekerk’s name has been pencilled in behind Mercury Sprint winner Fly By Night and she comes off a winning hat-trick including a cracking finish to beat favourite Alboran Sea last time out. Last season she ran champion sprinter Via Africa to within a length in the SA Fillies Sprint but on the balance, Hammie’s Hooker may just have a touch more class.
Copper Parade, Captain Of All, Silicone Valley and Trip To Heaven are all on a ‘long’ shortlist but Hammie’s Hooker and Futura are fancied to fight this out with Fly By Night in close attendance.
The two supporting features hold plenty of interest and just how Cold As Ice behaves in the Laisserfaire Stakes will be watched with more than just passing interest. She looked to be the only serious opposition to the classy Majmu in the Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas but misbehaved at the start and went home in disgrace.
Summerveld-based Dennis Drier tried his luck with the speedy Generalissimo in the Selangor Cup, stretching the colt to a ‘mile’, but he shot his bolt a long way out. He is back to 1000m in the Capetown Noir Need For Speed Sprint and if he can get his act together Drier could pull off the exacta with stable companion Beckedorf the best weighted runner.
The Greyville turf was back in use last night for the Christmas Handicap and with Clairwood no longer an option most, if not all, future Greyville meetings will be a blend of poly and turf races.
There is a 4-4 split tomorrow with the first of the turf races looking set up for the Paul Lafferty-trained Flying Loot. The Aussie-bred has always been held in high regard and although only having won two of her eight starts she is set to win a few more.
This will be her third run after a break and her last two have been smart. She lumped 62kg into second behind the well fancied Rockaberry Lane last time out and before that kept the useful Clear Sailing at bay.
Looking past Flying Loot, all five of the remaining runners have chances with Cherry Tripper, Imperial Faberge and Cotswold the most likely dangers.
Race 4: (8) Down Under
Race 5: (2) Generalissimo
Race 2: (5) The Poet
A right ‘Royal’ Christmas
PUBLISHED: December 23, 2014
The Gr 3 Christmas Handicap over 1600m heads the card on Friday night at Greyville and there should be a festive atmosphere on course with large crowds expected at the popular Durban venue.
The Greyville turf has been given time to knit and is certainly looking in good shape so this competitive handicap, which has attracted a capacity field of 14 runners, should provide a fine spectacle.
The most interesting of the runners is the former Gr 2 Peermont Emperor’s Palace Charity Mile winner Royal Zulu Warrior (Pictured), who returned from a deserved layoff after a busy season to run just 1,55 lengths behind the classy Mr Whatever over 1000m at Scottsville on November 30. The eight-year-old showed there that he retains his enthusiasm for the game and he will take a power of beating if at his best as he won the Charity Mile off a merit rating that was effectively two points higher than his current one and it also came in his second run after a layoff.
The topweight Distinguished has his third run after a rest and if he repeats his run in the KZN Breeders Million Mile towards the end of last season, when giving the classy No Worries 6kg and going down by just 3,25 lengths, then he has a chance here from draw 2.
Candy Moon has always struck as one that wasn’t short of class and has formed a fine partnership with Sean Cormack this season. He loves the course and distance but is off his highest ever merit rating and is drawn widest of all.
Isobar ran on quite well over 1400m at Scottsville last time, but is worse off with both the winner King Of Torts and runner up Candy Moon and not only is he widely drawn but this is only the second time he tries 1600m.
Tommy Gun returns from a three month break after finishing second in the Emerald Cup. His second place in the Gr 2 Hawaii Stakes and an 8,25 length seventh to the top class Yorker in a Gr 1 weight for age mile showed at the beginning of the year that he is effective on turf and he has run well after a rest before. However, he has a tough draw.
Fourth Estate is course and distance suited and has in form Alec Forbes up from draw one. He has a bit to find with Candy Moon on their last meeting but there is a reversal in draw fortunes.
The lightly raced Silver Age won this race two years ago and went close last year, both at Clairwood. He has a bigger weight now and a tough draw, but is certainly capable and should have come on from his last run.
Last year’s winner King Of Torts is four points higher in the merit ratings but has a fair draw and is only 0,5 kg worse off with Candy Moon (Pictured) after beating him by 0,5 lengths last time out over 1400m at Scottsville.
Mike’s Choice has his third run after a rest, but has a stamina doubt so his wide draw won’t help.
Great Rumpus has a good draw but would probably prefer further.
Educated is the only female in the field and won her only previous start on the Greyville turf. She showed in her penultimate start when a narrow second to the useful Admiral’s Eye on the polytrack that she is effective over this trip and has possibilities, although she has a tough draw.
Stolen Destiny is not too reliable but loves Greyville and is distance suited and well drawn. This is his second run after a rest but that hasn’t troubled him before.
Emperor Niarchos will be hoping the rain stays away as he appears to prefer faster going, although he has won in the soft before. He is distance suited and has a fair draw but might be a touch high in the handicap.
Diamond King is 1kg under sufferance, but has finally had the gelding he needed. He is well drawn and has won a feature over course and distance before.
The three reserve runners, Auction King, Royal Zulu Guard and Double Clutch are all under sufferance.
Royal Zulu Warrior is tipped to beat Diamond King, with King Of Torts, Stolen Destiny and Tommy Gun next best.
Classy lineup for Diadem
PUBLISHED: December 23, 2014
The Gr 2 weight for age Diadem Stakes over 1200m to be run on Saturday at Kenilworth is always a very exciting contest as it pits a lot of the country’s best sprinters against top class classic horses that are preparing for races like the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate, the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes and the J&B Met.
The sprinters usually have the upper hand, but a notable recent exception was the 2010 winner Past Master, who went on to win the Met. The great Pocket Power finished second in the Diadem on two occasions, in 2006 and 2008, and in the first of these occasions he stormed through late and failed by only a short-head. Three weeks later he won the first of his four successive Queen’s Plates and a month after that won the first of his three successive Mets. Futura as a Gr 1 winner is the most eyecatching of the classic types involved in Saturday’s race and is joined by a classy pair of females in Hammie’s Hooker and Priceless Jewel as well as by the former Selangor winner De Kock and the Green Point Stakes runner up Ashton Park. The sprinters are headed by three Gr 1 winners, Tsogo Sun Medallion victor Captain Of All, Computaform Sprint hero Copper Parade, and Mercury Sprint heroine Fly By Night. Other notable sprinters are the three-year-old Gr 2 Stronach Group Racing Merchants winner Trip To Heaven, the Gr 2 Cape Merchants winner Tevez and the up and coming Silicone Valley.
Hammie’s Hooker was rated by jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe as the horse he was most looking forward to riding this season as she is set for Gr 1 glory now that her nemesis Beach Beauty has retired. This five-year-old Mike Bass-trained Trippi mare has exceptional speed and finished just 0,85 lengths back in the Cape Merchants over course and distance last time out. She is now 5kg better off so has an outstanding chance of winning. Fayd’Herbe will be aboard Futura, whom he has been booked to ride in the Met, and Hammie’s Hooker will be ridden by Aldo Domeyer. Futura has an exceptional turn of foot and is full of class, so will be doing his best work late. He will likely be outpaced early but over this tough 1200m winners can come from way off the pace, so he can’t be written off. Priceless Jewel has won a Listed and a Gr 3 over this 1200m course and distance. She has more than seven lengths to make up on Fly By Night from her last outing in the Gr 2 Southern Cross Stakes over 1000m, but she appears to be a sort that comes on quickly so she could well improve enough on that race to be a factor here with Greg Cheyne aboard. De Kock makes no appeal here after lacklustre performances in his last two starts. A forte of Mike Bass’s is his ability to bring horses into their own as they get older and two cases in point in this race are Fly By Night and Ashton Park, who are now both five-year-olds. Ashton Park finished second to Legislate in the Green Point, which was run in course record time, despite running three wide. All six of his victories have been over 1400m so he is interesting tried over this slightly shorter trip with Richard Fourie aboard.
The tall Jet Master mare Fly By Night ran just a head behind the brilliant Via Africa in the SA Fillies Sprint and has proved that was no fluke by winning all three of her sprints since. She is a huge runner here and stable jockey Grant van Niekerk replaces Fayd’Herbe. Captain Of All has tremendous early pace and will have come on a lot from his last start, which was his first outing in over a year and which he needed badly. Trip To Heaven was under sufferance when winning the Merchants at Turffontein so is consequently merit rated 109. He produced a fantastic finish from off the pace that day and will likely be suited by this tough 1200m. Port Elizabeth raider Copper Parade is a seven-year-old but is 5,5kg better off with Tevez for a 3,35 length beating in the Merchants and that was his first outing since going down by just 0,5 lengths to Fly By Night in the Mercury Sprint. He has a devastating turn of foot and appreciates a strong pace, which he should get with the like of Captain Of All in the race. Tevez comes from off the pace, so will never win by far, and he could still be a big runner here, despite being up against it with a couple of others on paper. Silicone Valley has only had three starts, despite being a four-year-old, so could still be anything, although he will still need vast improvement on his last start, which yielded a comfortable victory in a MR 78 handicap. Happy Forever had a good 2013/2014 season but is now six-years-old and hasn’t been firing this season. The West Is Wide could earn if having one of his going days, although his record in Graded races does not make good reading. Hammie’s Hooker could be the one to side with and she could beat her stablemate Fly By Night. Copper Parade is tipped to follow them home and Trip To Heaven and Tevez could be next best. Pictures: Liesl King