More turf success for Howells
PUBLISHED: December 29, 2014
KZN champion trainer Duncan Howells rounded off a fine weekend when his Black Minnaloushe three-year-old Littleblacknumber made all in a fillies and mares Graduation Plate over 1200m at Greyville yesterday.
It was the third win of the weekend on the Greyville turf track for the Howells stable, following a double on Friday night, with Littleblacknumber repelling a number of challengers in the straight to win for the second time in succession.
Craig Eudey had mixed fortunes in the first race over 1600m as his 13/2 shot Mullins Bay filly Hunger Games won easily under Athandiwe Mgudlwa, while his outsider Hot Response dislodged the jockey early.
Keagan de Melo combined with Mark Dixon to win the second over 1400m with the favourite, The Poet, a hard-knocking colt by Brave Tin Soldier.
Sean Cormack won the third over 1000m comfortably aboard the speedy Dennis Drier-trained Var filly Black Velvet, while the odds-on shot Verge was caught in behind horses from an inside draw and could only run on for third.
The fourth over 1000m saw many tickets knocked out of the Pick 6 as the Chris Erasmus-trained Right Approach gelding Panza found extra under Billy Jacobson to repel the fancied Skrik For Niks.
The useful Paul Lafferty-trained Australian-bred Flying Spur filly Flying Loot jumped from the widest draw of all in the small six-horse field fifth race, a fillies and mares MR 88 handicap over 1000m, and she reeled in the speedy pacemaker Cherry Tripper to win comfortably under Stuart Randolph.
Lafferty later got a turf double when running one-two with the Stronghold gelding Double Clutch, who came from midfield under De Melo, and Auction King who fought out a MR 88 Handicap over 1900m.
The Gavin van Zyl-trained Trippi filly Se Agabor came from midfield under Derreck David to beat the favourite Cousin Annie in the seventh, a 1400m MR 76 fillies and mares handicap on the turf.
Both Van Zyl and Yeni completed a double in the last, a MR 88 handicap over 1900m on the turf, when the Classic Flag filly Qatar Springs kept the Howells filly Crime Victim at bay, although she did have to survive an objection.
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.