Bass on a mission
PUBLISHED: April 10, 2015
Fly By Night has her long-awaited prep for the Computaform Sprint in the Racing.It’s A Rush Allowance Plate at Kenilworth on Sunday and she is expected to start odds-on.
Betting World opened her at 6-10 yesterday and made Nights Of Stars the biggest danger at 4-1 with Sunset Tripp (7-1) the only other one in single figures.
At the weights the Mercury Sprint winner has a minimum of two lengths in hand over the next highest rated – Supreme Sunset (10-1) and Night Of Stars – but that is not a lot when a horse has been off for 11 weeks.
However Mike Bass is confident that she won’t be in need of the run. “She is quite fit,” he points out and says that the joint infection that caused her to run below par in the Cape Flying Championship was relatively short-lived. “It was caused by her whacking herself, one leg against the other, and she wears boots all the time at home.”
This 1 200m is on the short side for Supreme Sunset while Night Of Stars owes her rating to being raised 4kg for last month’s course and distance win. This race will show whether such a hefty increase was warranted.
Jet Supreme (10-1) has been off almost as long as the favourite and over-raced when she finished last in the Klawervlei Majorca. “This is a prep for the winter season,” says Justin Snaith but Andrew Fortune’s mount is another who would prefer further.
This is the only race that Anton Marcus sits out. The four-time champion, who has won on five of his 22 Kenilworth rides (a 22% strike rate) this season, partners six for the in-form Joey Ramsden and R1.3 million newcomer Brilliant Crimson for Bass in the first. The market is likely to provide the best guide here.
Supercilious, who would have finished a lot closer on debut had she started on terms, has obvious claims in race two particularly as her pilot is so brilliant at the gate. However Jane S Piddy finished like a certain future winner on her first start three weeks ago.
The form is difficult to evaluate – the first six were all newcomers and the fifth has been beaten since – but Greg Cheyne’s mount fairly caught the eye. “We have always thought highly of her but I thought 1 000m might be a touch too short for her,” says Glen Kotzen. “I would think she has come on because she was quite green that day.”
Seventh Feather flopped in a work riders’ race last time – she flyjumped and her saddle slipped – but her previous two runs suggested a marked improvement which could see her beat shorter-priced rivals in the Gill Davies Maiden.
“I didn’t change anything but she suddenly turned the corner,” recalls Carl Burger. “Some horses are like that and Gerrit Schlechter says she is now on top of her game.”
Mubtaahij- A foreign invasion
PUBLISHED: April 10, 2015
The annual ‘Who will win the Derby?’ debate will rage on until the running of the 141st Kentucky Derby on May 2 but a recently published blog (“Zipse At The Track”) on a popular US horseracing site (Horseracingnation.com) suggests that the Americans respect the chances of the Mike de Kock-trained Mubtaahij in the race being billed as ‘The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports”
The idea of a horse coming from Dubai to win America’s most prestigious race is somewhat foreign to me — And now you know why I never made it as a comic. Seriously, though, folks, I am really starting to warm to the idea of 2015 finally being the year that a horse comes out of the UAE Derby to make some real noise on the first Saturday in May. Oh what the heck, I will just come out and say it — I think Mubtaahij might be just the horse to beat all the Americans and win the 2015 Kentucky Derby.
Boo! Hiss! Before you call me a hater of hot dogs and apple pie — I’m not. I enjoy eating both of those things. Let me run down the list behind my reasoning for liking this son of Dubawi so much.
Running Style – With all the speed lining up for this year’s Kentucky Derby, having a horse who can relax early, is, in my mind, a very positive trait. Moreover, the Derby is seldom won by a stone cold closer, but rather by a horse who has enough tactical speed and maneuverability to find a preferable spot in the early stages, and then take full advantage of the right holes at the right times. In watching his racing in Dubai, it would appear Mubtaahij is just such a horse. Just watch him in his latest, as he relaxes early, measuring his competition. He then deftly moves off the rail to pounce, and when asked, his turn of foot is a thing of beauty. All of this should suit him perfectly on May the 2nd.
Training – Mike de Kock is one of the finest trainers in the world, having trained countless good horses to important wins. With the hearty Mubtaahij, he has been able to train his horse to be stronger and fitter than what we typically see in America. His horse is battle tested and only getting better for the work, and de Kock knows how to win big races.
Dirt – For the first time in several years, the UAE Derby was run and won on dirt, and there can be no doubt that Mubtaahij is a dirt horse. Five consecutive strong performances on the surface have more than proven that. While we never knew about the ability of recent Dubai shippers to handle the dirt, it is not a worry this year. There is every reason in the world to believe that Mubtaahij will take to the Churchill Downs’ main track swimmingly.
Distance – Discount this part of the equation, if you will, but after running a trio of solid races at seven furlongs and a mile, Mubtaahij demonstrated his fondness for a route of ground with two excellent performances at 1 3/16 miles. He’s run twice at distances farther than any other horse in the Derby field will have ever run, and in both cases, he finished very strong. When some are getting leg weary late, he should be prepared to see it out all the way to the finish.
Experience – After not doing much on the turf in England as a juvenile, Mubtaahij has had five quality races on Meydan’s new dirt course. Starting with a New Year’s Eve maiden win, the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum owned colt has moved up the latter of quality while racing on a regular basis. No horse will run in this year’s Kentucky Derby with more three-year-old experience than the horse coming from Dubai. Take a look at his lone loss on dirt, and tell me that this is not a tough horse, who will be more than ready for a fight on Derby day.
Form – There can be little doubt that Mubtaahij is thriving. Since coming to Dubai and switching to dirt, he has continued to improve with each and every start. He his 5-4-1-0 in those races, and his latest was undoubtedly his best yet. Provided that he acclimates well to his new surroundings, he will enter the Derby as a red-hot and improving horse. Considering that he has traveled well before, it is a good bet that he will also do well in Louisville.
Class – How do the races like the UAE Derby and Al Bastakiya stack up against American Derby preps? It’s impossible to know for sure at this point, but I would counter that I also wonder quite a bit about how good the horses that the Kentucky Derby favorites (Dortmund, American Pharoah, and Carpe Diem) have been beating truly are, other than Firing Line. In the $2 million UAE Derby, Golden Barows, Maftool, and Sir Fever all came in with a strong reputation, but Mubtaahij simply outclassed them. Who’s to say that bunch could not compete in U.S. stakes racing? And remember how well last year’s UAE Derby winner, Toast of New York did against America’s best in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Have I convinced you yet? Mubtaahij is a whole new type of Dubai shipper coming for the Run for the Roses. Unlike anything we’ve seen before, he is indeed a major threat to be our next winner of the Kentucky Derby.
Scott appointed Tellytrack CEO
PUBLISHED: April 10, 2015
Tellytrack has announced the appointment of Rob Scott as its new CEO. Scott, who is a board member of the Racing Association and long-time owner in the stable of his brother Colin Scott, also comes with considerable commercial experience and his profile is seen as the ideal fit for Tellytrack.
Since the departure of Ken Rutherford this role has been filled on a temporary basis by Phumelela’s International Executive Director, John Stuart.
In the new structure Scott will report into Stuart but will be directly responsible for the day-to-day operations on the horse racing television channel as well as implementing strategies for the future growth of it.
In making the announcement, Phumelela’s CEO Rian du Plessis said: “It was always the intention to employ a full-time CEO of Tellytrack and we are delighted to have someone like Rob come on board for this challenging position. His role will be to continue to develop the Tellytrack team to a level where its performance is at least equal to the best global horse racing channels”.
Scott said: “I am looking forward to joining the Tellytrack team. The channel is the window to horseracing and serves a host of customers with varying needs and expectations. We will need to build a strategy that is not only commercially viable but also services our diverse customer base. This will require a team effort and some innovative thinking on our part. A lot of ground work has been put in place under the guidance of John and I look forward to building on this foundation.”
Racing Association CEO Larry Wainstein was excited about Rob’s appointment, highlighting his significant commercial and horse racing experience.
Could Majmu be mentioned in the same breath as Empress Club
PUBLISHED: April 10, 2015
The Gr 1 Laurie Jaffee Empress Club Stakes over 1600m heads a classy racemeeting at Turffonteiin tomorrow.
Majmu looks hard to oppose despite facing a high quality field in the Empress Club Stakes. She beat Inara with contempt in her last start in the Gr 1 Avontuur Estate Cape Fillies Guineas and the latter then went on to win two weight for age Gr 1s in succession, beating older females in both. Earlier, Majmu had given Siren’s Call 4kg and a 1,75 length beating. She is still the only female to have beaten Siren’s Call, who is on the cusp of landing the Triple Tiara. The De Kock yard have confirmed that Majmu will be close to her peak, although they added that the outing will bring her on. The draw of eight won’t worry Majmu as she settles well in the running and has the ability to make up ground easily before being switched into top gear.
However, she won’t be able to afford to let the well drawn and classy filly Same Jurisdiction get too far ahead of her in the straight, so jockey Anthony Delpech might be having one or two niggling worries about the draw. Same Jurisdiction will also have the advantage of a couple of recent runs under her belt. This is her best trip and she will strip fitter than she did in the Gr 2 Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas, in which nothing went right for her in the running. She should reverse form with Trophy Wife, Smart Call and Tamanee from that run.
Arcetri Pink could also be a threat if the ground comes up soft as she appears to grow an extra leg under those conditions and this is likely her ideal trip.
Banbury could offer value for a place as she is much better than her last run in the Gr 1 SA Fillies Classic, in which she overraced after being taken too handy. From pole position she should be able to be positioned just off the pace, which look to be the best tactics for her considering her impressive win in the Gr 3 Fillies Mile over Saturday’s course and distance. Hammies Hooker bounced back to her brilliant best last time out in the Prix Du Cap over 1400m after an overall luckless season and her close second to Beach Beauty in last season’s Gr 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes proved that she is effective over this trip, even if it might just stretch her stamina reserves. The selection if the going is fast is Majmu to beat Same Jurisdiction, with Banbury, Hammies Hooker and Trophy Wife next best, but in soft going Arcetri Pink could split them by finishing third.
The Listed Spook Express Handicap over 2450m is the supporting feature and here the classy Erin makes most appeal from a good draw despite having to carry top weight. Wild Ash looks to be a progressive stayer and could pose a big threat. The Centenary fits into the same category and should also be included in the Pick 6.
The first leg of the Bipot is in race 2 and Escape Route makes most appeal as he should improve on his fine debut. He is drawn one and it might be worth including the consistent Just As I Said from draw 8 as he has strong form and the going might be better on that side. Mystical Twilight is talented and potentially a lot better than her form suggests. Slinky Jack won well on debut so cant be ignored and a betting move for Picardi Pink must be respected.
Trip Tease should be too classy in the third where he is well in at the weights over his optimum trip of 1000m. Deliver The Power looks the danger.
In the fourth over 1400m the relaxed front running type Sea Fan could be hard to beat going around the turn from a good draw, although Honeybush Tea and Wandie’s will be running at her late and could be considered for the Pick 6.
Anjaal and Rake’s Chestnut have the most ability in the fifth, a Graduation Plate over 1400m, but appear to have their issues. Therefore O’Brien, Mr Mulliner, Captain Aldo, Light The Way, Arniston and Finchatton should also be considered.
Battle In Seattle is course and distance suited in the sixth over 1400m and appears to have the strongest form, although he has a tricky draw. Via Della Tigre has some fine form and is not only well drawn but looks well handicapped too. Prince Of Darkness is a capable sort and is only two points higher than his last win so he could feature and Inala and Moon Lay Hidden make most appeal of the rest.
The last leg of the Pick 6 is race 9 over 2000m and the improving Pride In Battle should enjoy the step up in trip having been a bit unlucky when running on late over 1600m last time. Tempest looks likely to relish the trip too and will be a big runner. Jamming should also be included in the Pick 6.
De Kock hoping for a fine evening
PUBLISHED: April 9, 2015
As the Gauteng autumn season builds to its grand finale at the end of the month where the final legs of the Triple Crown and Triple Tiara will close off the programme, things are warming up in KwaZulu-Natal for Champions Season which starts at the beginning of May.
At Turffontein on Saturday the Grade 1 L Jaffee Empress Club Stakes and the Listed Spook Express Handicap head the card that is dedicated to the memory of those who perished in the Henneman air crash many years ago and racing enthusiast throughout the country will no doubt pause for a moment to honour their memory.
At Greyville tomorrow night, the Listed Easter Handicap will get the action underway. The race had been the top event on the washed out Scottsville meeting earlier in the week and Gold Circle has included it in tomorrow night’s programme and run on the turf over 2 000m as the opening race on the card.
Later, the Umzimkhulu Stakes and the Byerley Turk – two Grade 3 races over 1 400m for three-year-olds – will also be run on the turf and will see the first real seasonal onslaught by the visiting trainers with eight out-of-town yards competing in the two races. So it’s game on and we are in for some great racing over the next three-and-a-half months.
The Umzimkhulu Stakes is for fillies and with Mike de Kock withdrawing his one filly Bang Sue from the race, six runners are set to face the starter including De Kock’s daughter of Trippi, One Fine Day. This filly showed her potential a year ago when third to Alboran Sea in the Grade 1 Allan Robertson at Scottsville and second to Afrikaburn in the Grade 1 Golden Horseshoe at Greyville.
She then ran four lengths fourth to superstar stable companion Majmu over 1 400m at Turffontein which confirmed that she is well above average. Incidentally, Majmu will make her first appearance since her brilliant win in the Cape Fillies Guineas and will meet Same Jurisdiction from the Duncan Howells stable for the first time in the L Jaffee Empress Club Stakes at Turffontein.
Among those taking on One Fine Day tomorrow night is the Dynasty filly Alexis from the Brett Crawford stable, Silver Class from the Johan Janse van Vuuren yard and the Stuart Pettigrew-trained Future Fantastic where Anton Marcus has picked up the ride.
Alexis has shown some useful ability and could be the main danger to One Fine Day while Silver Class has not been disgraced behind the likes of Flame Cat and Rich Girl.
If Marcus cannot get Future Fantastic into the winner’s enclosure he has a big chance of doing that in the Byerley Turk where he partners the Western Winter colt Kingvoldt for trainer Joey Ramsden. The three-year-old ran super races behind star Act Of War in both the Selangor Cup and the Cape Guineas then put in a gallant effort behind Futura in the L’Ormarins Queens Plate.
He is the class act in this race and undoubtedly the one to beat but Justin Snaith is sure to believe that his Dynasty colt Heartland will give the favourite more than a run for his money. With only five runs to date and a third behind Act Of War in the Cape Classic last October, he has been a consistent performer and commands the utmost respect.
Of the local contenders, the Duncan Howells-trained colt Easy Lover has a good money chance from his inside draw. He has won up to a mile and has not been disgraced in his forays to the Highveld for feature events. The blinkers will be removed for tomorrow night’s contest and his easy win in the KZN Guineas Trial is evidence that on his day he is a useful individual.
Light The Lights finished close up behind Mljet and Harry’s Son in the season last year which is testimony to his ability when on song and Glen Kotzen will be looking for a bold showing from his charge tomorrow night.