20 minutes to post
PUBLISHED: April 15, 2015
Greyville this Friday night will be the respective venue and date for South Africa’s first ever 20/20 racemeeting, so called because there will be a gap of only twenty minutes between each of the eight races.
The innovative idea was the brainchild of Gold Circle’s Racing and Marketing Executive Graeme Hawkins and has generally been well received by officials, riders, trainers, owners and punters.
However, there were one or two concerns from certain quarters, while others felt a slight change to the format would be of benefit.
The racemeeting on Friday will start at 17h55. In order to accommodate the short space of time between events the odd numbered races will only have jockeys riding in them and the even numbered races will only have apprentices riding.
KZN’s chief Stipendiary Steward Sean Parker welcomed the idea and said, “It is innovative, which is good for racing, and I hope it turns out to be an exciting an enjoyable meeting.” Parker was confident that unexpected events, such as objections, could be handled in the time allowed as the jockeys involved would not have to be riding in the next race, which is usually often the case.
Paddy Wynne, a top jockey is his day who won the Durban July aboard Jamaican Rumba in 1982 and is now a riding master at the South African Jockeys Academy, said, “It is a good idea when you think what 20/20 did for cricket. It is something different and will keep the apprentices on their toes and give them more opportunities.”
Apprentice Tristan Godden will be riding in the meeting and said, “It is something different and us apprentices will obviously enjoy it as we can get more chances, which we need. It will be hectic at first but I think everybody will get used to the timings.”
One of KZN’s leading jockeys Athandiwe Mgudlwa said, “It will be a challenge as there will be quite a rush between races. It will be good for the apprentices who need experience and who can get more than one ride a meeting, but I have to say that for us jockeys it will be a loss, so we hope there are not too many of these meetings.”
Legendary jockey and now Summerveld trainer Michael Roberts was in favour of the meeting and said, “I hope it is a success. It is something new and racing needs something new. Unfortunately most of the trainers will be away at the Sales.”
Cape-based trainer Dean Kannemeyer, who now has a satellite yard at Summerveld, was also positive and said, “I am looking forward to it. I have a few runners and will be there as I am only leaving for the Sales on Saturday morning. It is something new and exciting. It will be nice to not have to sit around waiting for half-an-hour. Saddle Up and let’s go. The time often drags out at normal meetings. I think the punters would have studied their form, so canter down and let’s go. 35 minutes is too long although it is obviously necessary for the big racemeetings where there are long queues.”
Trainer Mark Dixon admitted that the meeting didn’t appeal to him and said, “I am a traditionalist, I love test cricket. But I think normal meetings should have 30 minute gaps, 35 minutes is too long.”
Trainer Karen Anthony said, “There are always positives to new ideas but also aspects that don’t suit. We had to wait a long time for our horse Big King to get a good draw and when he finally landed one he ended up in one of the apprentice races in the 20/20 meeting. He needs a strong, experienced rider and we had to scratch him again. So, I think if they mixed the apprentices with the jockeys for every race it would be better and that should still give the apprentices a lot of chances.”
Trainer Robbie Hill said, “I think it’s a good idea, although I don’t know if it will give the punters a chance to bet in time. I think the races should also be open to all riders with the condition that they can only ride every second race. The current format does give the apprentices more chances but the bottom jockeys won’t get the chances they could have had and also I had to scratch a few of my horses because I couldn’t afford to take a chance by running them from wide draws with apprentices aboard.”
Phil Georgiou, owner of the top class Harry’s Son and an enthusiastic punter, spoke on behalf of owners and the betting fraternity. His biggest concern was the length of time it is taking these days for a result to be declared all clear to pay. He said, “Punters who are collecting will be still standing in the queue waiting for the all clear and won’t have time to go down to the parade ring and then structure their bets. I know it could be said that you can collect later, but it doesn’t work like that, punters like to see what they have in hand before betting again. So hopefully the all clears will be a lot quicker. I think it will also be important for the presenters to be better prepared and be vigilant in their analysis and tipping. They will have to shorten it and not waffle on for ten minutes about every horse.”
Georgiou also felt that the information on first-time runners should be made available before the first race of the meeting and that it should be readily available, possibly via means of a screen scroll, throughout the meeting. He added that this should be the case for all meetings, because it is only in the Pick 6 where the first-timer rule applies. From an owner’s perspective Georgiou agreed with Hill that each race should be open to all riders, with the provision that no rider can take part in successive races.
July on Majmu’s list
PUBLISHED: April 13, 2015
MAJMU is likely to be taken along the ‘Daily News-Durban July route’ following her stunning win in Saturday’s Gr1 Laurie Jaffee Empress Club Stakes over 1600m at Turffontein.
Mike de Kock said on Sunday: “We’ll be discussing Majmu’s future with Sheikh Hamdan and Angus Gold, we’ll be looking at export flight schedules, but at this stage the Durban July via the Daily News is the most likely option we’ll exercise with her.”
Majmu slammed her rivals by three lengths in a time of 97.50s, posting her second successive Gr1 victory and Mike commented: “She was beautifully prepared under pressure by Mathew and the team at Randjesfontein and I’m very proud today. Mat has done a sterling job. He’s had to take the flak and the bullets in my absence, but he has broad shoulders. Well done to all involved.”
Majmu raced handy and jockey Anthony Delpech was poised to make his move at the 400m mark when momentarily his mount appeared to feel some heat from the runners around her. But coming into the last 300m she kicked into gear to put the result beyond doubt in a matter of strides.
“Majmu wasn’t feeling pressure, I told Anthony to sit on her, not to pull the trigger too fast,” De Kock commented about her finishing effort.
The filly’s legion of supporters will be hoping to see much of the same if she were to line up in the two topline events during the KZN Champion season, the respective distances of which are likely to suit her and Mike added: “Majmu’s done everything we’ve asked of her and she’s top class but she has more to prove, more to conquer. I have read some reports in the media about her being the best filly I’ve trained but I can’t recall putting that on record. Majmu may well turn out to be the best, but right now Ipi Tombe remains at the top of my list by virtue of what she’d achieved.”
It was a great ‘day at the office’ for the De Kock stable, Sheikh Hamdan and Delpech, who opened the meeting with an impressive 1160m win by debutante Shaama (AUS), like Majmu a daughter of Redoute’s Choice. Anjaal bounced back to winning ways in Race 5 over 1400m, storming home four lengths clear.
Mathew de Kock said about Shaama: “She’s a smart filly and she reproduced what she’d showed us at home. We’ll consider our options, there is the Fillies and Colts Nursery coming up on Champions Day and a race in Durban that suits her.”
Anjaal had placed in a number of Graded races and has always been considered one of the best of his generation. That he’s only won at Graduation level to date is a result of his coltishness and lack of confidence, not a lack a ability and by the purposeful way he strode to the start this time it is probably safe to predict that he’s turned the corner once and for all.
De Kock said: “We changed Anjaal’s training programme and brought him back in trip. This was a super win, he had some quality runners behind him and hopefully he can go on from here. We’ll probably aim him at the KZN Guineas. He’s run well at Greyville and the Guineas could be the right target.”
The trio of Sheikh Hamdan-owned winners were all bought from the Inglis Easter Sale in Sydney and Mike reported: “I’ve just returned from Australia and we bought some super yearlings at the same sale, nine for Sheikh Hamdan and one on spec. Inglis Easter has brought us some spectacular results and I must thank Angus Gold and Jehan Malherbe for their ongoing help and expertise. We’re winning big races with wonderful horses, but to have ongoing success we have to pick them right as yearlings.”
Fly By Night on track
PUBLISHED: April 13, 2015
Fly By Night warmed up for her rematch with Alboran Sea with a smashing performance in the Racing.It’s A Rush Allowance Plate at Kenilworth yesterday.
Bernard Fayd’Herbe tracked the pace-setting Chestnut Dancer, pushed his mount into the lead just inside the 200m mark and was able to drop his hands well before the line. The 9-20 hotpot never saw the whip and she beat Jet Supreme much more easily than the two and a quarter length verdict would suggest.
Last season’s Mercury Sprint winner wore down Alboran Sea close home when Mike de Kock’s filly tried to make all (against her trainer’s wishes) in the Southern Cross in December and she had not properly recovered from a joint infection when Alboran Sea gained her revenge in the following month’s Betting World Cape Flying Championship. The pair meet again in Saturday week’s Computaform Sprint.
Fayd’Herbe, who expects to put up only half a kilo over at 57.5kg, said: “It will be harder up in Johannesburg but Fly By Night will go close. I was always travelling really well today.”
Mike Bass, who won the 2013 Computaform with What A Winter, added: “Fly By Night was fit for today and I would have gone straight for the Computaform had this race not come up. It will tighten her up that little bit more.
“She will travel by road with Tevez as I did with Hammie’s Hooker (fourth in Saturday’s L Jaffee Empress Club). She left at 9.00am on Thursday, swapped boxes at Worcester where I let them loose in the truck and arrived at Turffontein at 4.00am on Friday.
“The altitude up there is always a factor as there is less oxygen in the air but it is less of a factor doing it this way.”
Act Of War pleased Joey Ramsden in a work-out at Kenilworth yesterday morning and the Grand Parade Cape Guineas winner will run in either the KRA Guineas at Greyville on 2 May or in the Winter Guineas at Kenilworth the following day.
Joey Ramsden, on the mark with Capstone Von Klum, said: “Andrew Fortune rode him over seven furlongs and we gave him a good pacemaker to go with him. They went a strong gallop, Act Of War went very nicely and he picked off the other horse 200m out.
“He will definitely have another gallop and then which race he goes for will depend on the draws. We will be in the fortunate position of knowing these before declaration.”
Tomba La Bomba earned his Winter Guineas ticket by collaring 13-10 favourite Brutal Force 100m out in yesterday’s itsarush.co.za Handicap. The Bass 14-1 shot was the third leg of a treble for Karl Neisius who is surely living proof that a good wine can only improve with age.
He might be less than two years off 60 but he rides like perfection personified and his famous sense of timing produced first winners for stallions Russian Sage (the Eric Sands-trained Russian Speed) and Biarritz (Anglet, trained by Paddy Kruyer) in the juvenile races.
Robert Khathi gave the domestic scene a miss to fly to Nairobi to ride in the Kenya Derby. He is fast earning a big reputation at Ngong and he rewarded his growing army of followers by bringing Happy Times with a sustained late run to get up inside the last 50m.
Heartland shakes things up
PUBLISHED: April 13, 2015
The three-year-old colts and geldings picture for the Champions Season became even more confusing after the Justin Snaith-trained Dynasty colt Heartland had won the Gr 3 Byerley Turk over 1400m at Friday night’s meeting at Greyville.
This colt has always been held in high regard and is a fantastic specimen. The professional Snaith yard have always said about him that he was a typical Dynasty and would therefore take a few runs before the best of him was seen. Indeed, Friday night’s race was the first time he had contested a feature since running third to Act Of War in the Gr 3 Cape Classic over 1400m in his second career start last October. An aspect of his win on Friday night that will augur well in his bid to win his probable main target, the Gr 1 Daily News 2000 on May 30 at Greyville, was that he settled very well in the running despite the race having been run at a crawl. There are few Dynasty’s that don’t have good actions and Heartland displayed his when running on all the way to the line.
The confusing aspect was that the 0,75 length runner, the Western Winter colt Kingvoldt whose pedigree suggests that 2000m will stretch his stamina reserves, was surging strongly at the line despite being keen early and conceding 3kg to the winner. He will enjoy the KRA Guineas trip, but will he take his chances in the Daily News?
Third-placed Easy Lover set the pace and his limit is likely the mile.
However, fifth-placed Light The Lights, who was beaten 2,05 lengths at level weights to the winner, was an eyecatcher and will be an outsider to consider for both the Daily News and the July. He was extremely keen both going down and in the running, showing that he needed the run after a three-and-a-half month break, but just as his run in the straight appeared to be petering out he came back again and was doing good work late. He has a nice long stride and the Daily News and July distances will likely be right up his alley. This Western Winter colt strikes as being a tall, relatively lightly framed sort who is maturing and therefore improving all the time.
Act Of War looks likely to stay at home for the Cape Winter Series and the horse he beat in the Grand Parade Cape Guineas, Harry’s Son, will be hard to beat in the KRA Guineas. He was not quite himself in the Cape Guineas after an aeroplane journey that didn’t go smoothly, but still managed to beat Kingvoldt into second. The Paul Lafferty yard have also revealed that Anton Marcus said after Harry’s Son’s fifth place in the SA Classic over 1800m that the champion colt’s turn of foot had been blunted in the soft conditions.
The yard believe the ground and not the distance got to him, so he could well still line up for the Daily News.
The Sean Tarry-trained SA Classic winner French Navy will be lining up for the SA Derby on April 25, but should have enough time to recover and be freshened up for the Daily News.
This ever improving sort should be a leading contender in the latter race and it will be interesting to see whether he can follow in the footsteps of the Tarry-trained Pomodoro, who was touched off in the SA Classic before going on to win both the SA Derby and the July.
The SA Classic runner up Amsterdam stayed on superbly in that race despite the testing ground and having been forced to make his run down the unfavourable side. He is also Daily News bound and looks the type who could set the pace.
SA Classic third and fourth-placed horses Deputy Jud, who strikes as an improving sort, and Unparalleled are both well regarded and are others to consider.
Nothing went right for Gauteng Guineas third-placed Forest Fox in the SA Classic, but he will be a force to be reckoned with in the KRA Guineas and possibly the Daily News too.
The Investec Cape Derby winner Ertijaal was asked to do a lot when leading the SA Classic in testing going and duly faded out to lose his unbeaten record. He will also be a Daily News contender in likely fast going.
Duncan Howells has said that his impressive, long-striding gelding Saratoga Dancer would likely be better as a four-year-old, so he would not “plan too much” for him during the Champions Season, but he added that he would “take his chances” if “the right races fall into place at the right time for him”, so it will be interesting to see whether those include the KRA Guineas or the Daily News.
The De Kock-trained Anjaal made an impressive comeback after a layoff in a 1400m event at Turffontein on Saturday and could be a KRA Guineas contender. Another of his classy three-year-old males, Jayyed, had wind problems and is still on the sidelines.
The Cape Derby third and tied fourth horses, Liquid Mercury, Krambambuli and Arniston are others that could play a part in the Champions Season three-year-old male events.
The KRA Guineas and Daily News have become possibly the two best pointers to the Vodacom Durban July as three-year-olds have dominated the latter race in the last couple of decades with 12 wins in the last 20 renewals. The two top class three-year-old events are therefore two of the most eagerly anticipated races in this fabulous three month festival of racing, the Champions Season, which begins with the KRA Guineas meeting on May 2.
Majmu back to best
PUBLISHED: April 13, 2015
The mighty Mike de Kock-trained Majmu took another step towards greatness at Turffontein on Saturday when powering clear to win the second Gr 1 of her career, the Laurie Jaffee Empress Club Stakes over 1600m, under Anthony Delpech and beating one of the best fields that had ever lined up for the race in the process.
However, her awaited clash with Same Jurisdiction didn’t materialise in the end as the latter was declared a non-runner due to her starting gate not opening properly.
This misfortune didn’t detract from Majmu’s performance. The grey Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum-owned Redoute’s Choice filly was handy in the running and went clear halfway down the straight. She won comfortably despite not having run since her Gr 1 Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas victory in early December. The brave Sean Tarry-trained Trophy Wife found her fourth big race place in succession, running on strongly for second ahead of her stablemate Tamaanee and the top class Mike Bass-trained mare Hammie’s Hooker.
De Kock, Delpech and Sheik Hamdan had a treble together, all with Australian-breds, as the two-year-old Redoute’s Choice filly Shaama had earlier won impressively on debut over 1160m and later the top class Lonhro colt Anjaal had bounced back to form and easily won a Graduation Plate over 1400m.
Later, the Listed Spook Express Handicap over 2450m was won in good style by the big Australian-bred Dylan Thomas filly Wild Ash, who is trained by Geoff Woddruff and was ridden by Anton Marcus.
Earlier the Louis Goosen-trained Trippi gelding Trip Tease put up an excellent preparation for the Gr 1 Computaform Sprint, to be run in two weeks time, by winning the Henneman Memorial Pinnacle Stakes over 1000m under Piere Strydom, despite carrying joint-topweight and hitting the gate after pre-empting the start. It was the amazing R70,000 purchase’s eleventh career victory in just his 16th career start. Strydom rode a treble to close the gap on National log leading jockey S’manga Khumalo, who had a single winner, to seven. Delpech’s treble put him just 16 off the pace.
Later in England, the famous Crabbie’s Grand National was won by the second topweight Many Clouds, trained by Oliver Sherwood and ridden by Leighton Aspell.
There was some top class racing at Greyville on Friday night which had three feature events on the turf. It has to be said that the slow pace of all three races will make the overall form quite hard to assess.
The De Kock-trained Trippi filly One Fine Day put up an excellent performance to win the Gr 3 Umzimkhulu Stakes over 1400m. She had to come from second last in a race run at a crawl, but showed a blistering turn of foot under Delpech to win by a length from the running on Silver Class. The classy Alexis came from last and had to be switched from the inside to the outside in the straight so did well to finish just 1,75 lengths behind the winner, to whom she conceded 2 kg. All three fillies will be contenders in the Gr 2 KRA Fillies Guineas, although One Fine Day and Alexis were the ones that created the best impression. One Fine Day is owned and was bred by Drakenstein Stud.
The Gr 3 Byerley Turk over 1400m saw another slow pace, this time set by Easy Lover. The Justin Snaith-trained Heartland settled well in the running in third place under Sean Cormack, while Kingvoldt tugged at the bit behind him. Light The Lights fought with his rider going down and in the running. Heartland showed why he has always been so well regarded when running on strongly in the straight to win by 0,75 lengths. The runner up Kingvoldt was surging late so this was an excellent performance, considering he was conceding 3kg to the winner. Easy Lover carried 2kg more than the winner and finished 1,75 lengths back in third. Light The Lights carried the same weight as the winner and finished 2,05 lengths back, but he clearly needed the run and was doing good work late. He could be a fair each/way ante-post outsider to side with in the Vodacom Durban July.
Heartland was bred by Highlands Farm Stud and is another top progeny of the National Log leading sire Dynasty. He is owned by two of the great sire’s biggest supporters, Jack Mitchell and his daughter Nancy.
The meeting was opened by the postponed Listed Easter Handicap over 2000m and the Paul Lafferty-trained Double Clutch defied the handicapper for the third time in succession to win in good style under Keagan de Melo. This Derek Martin “King”-bred four-year-old gelding by Stronghold has earned the nickname “the miracle horse” as he recovered from a life threatening illness early in his career and has gone on to win five races from just 12 career starts. De Melo cleverly took him to the front having correctly predicted that the normally handy King Neptune would not be as pacey without the blinkers. Double Clutch, who started 33/10 second favourite, then dictated at a slow pace and ran on resolutely in the straight to beat the Duncan Howells-trained 40/1 outsider Crime Victim by 1,5 lengths. The latter ran on in eyecatching style, despite being under sufferance. Silver Spring and Gone Baby Gone finished third and fourth respectively. The favourite Balance Sheet battled to make up the ground off the slow pace and finished fifth. Jockey Delpech said later that Balance Sheet had proved in need of the run, which was his first as a gelding.
Another potential three-year-old classic horse that put his hand up during the meeting was the Duncan Howells-trained Mambo In Seattle gelding Saratoga Dancer, who was a bit keen early in a Pinnacle Stakes event over 1600m behind a snail-like pace set by the only filly in the race, Euphoria. The long striding gelding was admittedly only carrying 50kg under Muzi Yeni but created a fine impression when finally wearing down the persistent Euphoria in an exciting tussle down the straight. He had been backed in from 12/1 to start 5/2. The favourite Jet Explorer had little chance of making up the ground off the slow pace, considering he was conceding a whopping 11,5kg to the winner and that this was his Champions Season pipe opener.
Howells said later that Saratoga Dancer would be better as a four-year-old and would probably not be taking on the best during the Champions Season.
The official first race on the card saw an eyecatching debut win over 1400m for the giant two-year-old Ideal World filly Persian Rug, who is trained by De Kock and is owned by two of his assistants Nathan Kotzen and Steven Jell. Anton Marcus schooled the green filly by turning her around on the way to the start and cantering her around the bend. She then beat a weak maiden field effortlessly and looks one to follow.
Dennis Drier looks to have possibly the two best sprinting males in the country in Captain Of All and Generalissimo. The latter made his comeback in a 1200m race on the polytrack and his 15/20 odds proved generous as he annihilated them by four lengths unextended. Drier had told owners Nick and Ben Jonsson to ignore his previous start in Cape Town as a slight sideways knock had affected him and he had duly finished lame. Drier, with the support of the Jonssons, had excercised caution by not running him again in Cape Town. The Gr 1 weight for age Computaform Sprint over 1000m at Turffontein on April 25, for which Captain Of All will be a leading contender, comes too soon for Generalissimo, but Drier said that all going well he would be targeted at the Gr 1 Golden Horse Casino Sprint over 1200m at Scottsville on May 23.