Spirits high in Van Zyl yard
PUBLISHED: October 29, 2014
Gavin van Zyl’s Mohave Princess ran a courageous race last night in the Gr 3 Yellowwood Handicap, where she was probably beaten only by the draw, and the Summerveld-based trainer, working out of his Johannesburg satellite yard, is expecting a good day at the big Turffontein meeting on Saturday.
In the R3,85 million Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Cup he has the second highest rated horses in the race, the 92 merit rated Go Deputy colt Pioneer Spirit, and also runs the 90 merit rated Brave Tin Soldier colt Iwo Jima.
Van Zyl said, “I was very happy with Pioneer Spirit’s preparation run over 1200m in which he came from off them and ran all the way to the line. He has come through his preparation very well and has been working well throughout the week. We respect Rich Girl, who has proven she’s top class, but we definitely feel we are in the race with a chance and expect him to be in the first three.”
He continued, “We would have appreciated a better draw for Iwo Jima, but I was happy with his prep in the same 1200m race as he finished well and also ran all the way to the line. He will prefer 1400m but will be even better suited to a mile as he is a half-brother to Smanjemanje. He will be doing his best work late and could finish in the money.”
Pioneer Spirit has stable jockey Keagan de Melo up from draw five and Iwo Jima will be ridden by Stuart Randolph from draw 13.
Van Zyl is bullish about the chances of his Gr 2 Peermont Emperor’s Palace Charity Mile runner No Worries (pictured) despite his wide draw. Upon hearing that the five-year-old Kahal gelding had opened at 20-1 said, “I think that must have been a printing error. They must have put a zero on the end of the two by mistake! He carried 63kg at Scottsville when needing the run in his penultimate and it didn’t bother him as he finished well, so the 59,5kg he has to carry on Saturday doesn’t frighten us. He has earned his merit rating and is getting better as he gets older. I would be disappointed if he doesn’t finish in the first three based on the way he has improved physically as an individual, on his trackwork and on the way he won last time. He is a horse who is on the up.”
De Melo rides from the widest draw of all in the 16 horse field.
The yard’s Go Deputy filly Kileigh finished like a train over the too sharp 1400m last time to record her third win on the trot and looks to be very promising. She runs in the Gr 3 Starling Stakes over 1400m from draw eleven with De Melo up.
Van Zyl said, “Majmu is the stand out horse and Kileigh wants further but there was nothing else that could be used as a prep for the Fillies Mile on Summer Cup day, so we are taking our chances. She is getting 2kg from Majmu, but that might not be enough over this trip and she has a wide draw too. But she is all heart, never gives up, so could find a place and is not out of it at all.”
Van Zyl is hoping the yard can start the day with a winner in race 2, the HSH Prince Charlene maiden plate over 1600m, with the Ideal World gelding Spekboom. Ideal World’s appear to improve all the time and Van Zyl said, “He had a bad draw last time and despite running without cover still ran a very good race to run third, so he will be very competitive.” De Melo is up from draw 8.
The yard might have their best runner of the day in race 4, a maiden over 1600m where they run two Fort Wood fillies, Withbatedbreath and Princess Milo.
Van Zyl said, “Withbatedbreath ran an excellent second on the poly last time considering she didn’t like the kickback and ran wide. She’s a very nice filly and is working well so from her good draw we expect her to take a lot of beating. Princess Limo came all the way from last to run fourth last time. A bad draw doesn’t help here. However, with a bit of luck we expect her to be in the hunt.”
Withbatedbreath is drawn three with De Melo Up and Princess Milo is drawn widest of all in the 15 horse field with Marthinus Mienie aboard.
The yard run the Way West colt Out My Way in the last, a MR 72 handicap over 1160m, from draw eleven with De Melo up and Van Zyl said, “He was very impressive last time (when winning a maiden over 1200m on the inside track by 4,75 lengths), but this is a jump in class and we will have to see how he is going to perform.”
Picture: Nkosi Hlophe
Princess lends helping hand
PUBLISHED: October 29, 2014
Princess Charlene of Monaco will once again lend her name to two lucrative maiden plates on the Turffontein Peermont Emperor’s Palace Charity Mile raceday card, each of them worth R250,000, and the Coastal Horsecare Units will benefit from the association.
Princess Charlene attended the meeting in 2012 but obviously won’t be there this year as she is currently expecting twins.
Princess Charlene’s father Michael Wittstock is an avid racing fan and also owns horses, some of them racing for the Monte Carlo syndicate (Monte Carlo is an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco).
The best horse he part-owns is the Glen Kotzen-trained six-time winner Albarakah.
Michael is responsible for bringing the association with the Princess to the Charity Mile raceday.
It was at the request of himself and his daughter that all of the nomination fee money for the two maiden plates be donated to the Horse Care Units.
The maiden plates were substantially over subscribed due to the prizemoney on offer so at R500 a nomination the total of 223 horses (102 for the 1160m event and 121 for the 1600m race) raked in R111,500 for the Horse Care Units.
Trainers and owners were biting their fingernails yesterday while awaiting the final field and draws, which were announced at about 15:30.
Picture: Princess Charlene of Monaco (EPA)
Rich Girl draws wide in Ready To Run Cup
PUBLISHED: October 29, 2014
The Charles Laird-trained Australian-bred filly Rich Girl, who is the highest rated horse in the R3,85 million Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Cup over 1400m on 104, was dealt a blow to her chances yesterday when drawing wide in 15.
If the two reserve runners come out, one of them being her stable companion Thirtytwosquadron, she will come in one position.
However, she will likely need to be dropped out in order to see out the trip and as one with plenty of natural speed this is not going to be easy from a wide draw.
However, she has been in fine shape at Summerveld and put in a sterling bit of work yesterday, so her class could pull her through.
Anton Marcus aboard will also be an obvious bonus to her chances.
Rich Girl will depart Summerveld in the early hours of Saturday morning and arrive at Turffontein close to the race time.
The second highest-rated runner in the race is also a KZN horse, the Gavin van Zyl-trained merit rated 92 Go Deputy colt Pioneer Spirit, but he has been up in Johannesburg for a while already at Van Zyl’s satellite yard. He drew virtually ideally in barrier five.
There wasn’t much joy for Pinoeer Spirit’s 90-rated stablemate, the Brave Tin Soldier colt Iwo Jima, who drew 14.
The 91-rated Silvano filly Silver Class, who is from the stable of last year’s winning trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren, landed a tricky draw of nine. Her stable companion the Muhtafal filly Chilli Chocolate drew ten.
However, the improving 89-rated Mike de Kock-trained Judpot colt Dreamuponadream drew perfectly in four, while his pair of 88-rated stable companions, the Western Winter colt Lava Flow and the Ideal World gelding Kingmambo’s Legacy, both drew fairly well in six and seven respectively. De Kock also runs the promising 85-rated Kahal filly Kosava, who won by 4,5 lengths on debut, and she drew wide in 16.
The plum pole position draw went to the talented Duncan Howells-trained Mambo In Seattle colt Saratoga Dancer. He will be ridden by Sean Veale, who won the race two years ago on Rock Of Arts.
There are two horses from Cape Town in the field, the Joey Ramsden-trained Captain Al colt Captain’s Orders, who drew 8, and the Brett Crawford-trained Dynasty filly Bella Espumante, who draw way out in 17.
Champion jockey S’manga Khumalo will be aboard the promising Sean Tarry-trained Teofilio filly Tamanee, who received a plum draw of three. Her stable companion Hyaku is the reserve runner.
The rest of the field is made up of Johannesburg horses, the Joey Soma-trained Trippi gelding Jock Silberstein (draw 2), the Gary Alexander-trained Admire Main colt The Elmo Effect (12) and the Mike Azzie-trained Elusive Fort filly Red Star (13).
Rispoli up for Challenge
PUBLISHED: October 28, 2014
Umberto Rispoli of Italy will be the likely sixth member of the overseas team for the International Jockeys Challenge that takes place on Saturday November 15 at Turffontein and Sunday November 16 at Kenilworth and this is exciting news as he is a highly rated youngster.
He will join James Doyle (captain) and Adam Kirby of England, Martin Harley of Ireland, Germany’s Andreas Helfenbein and Selim Kaya of Turkey.
These six will compete against S’manga Khumalo (Captain), Piere Strydom, Richard Fourie, Muzi Yeni, Anthony Delpech and Bernard Fayd’Herbe.
Rispoli rode in the 2010 Challenge and was the victor ladorum in the second leg at Kenilworth, where he rode one winner, a third, a fourth and an eighth place. However this was not enough to secure his team victory.
Rispoli set an Italian record of 245 winners in a season in 2009, breaking the record of 229 set in 1982 by Frankie Dettori’s father Gianfranco.
The 25-year-old made his race riding debut in 2005 with a second place on 5 February 2005 and waited just 14 days to taste his first victory.
He has had a few stints in Hong Kong where his biggest success was aboard Rulership in the 2012 Gr 1 QE II Cup. He had eleven wins from 128 rides in Hong Kong last season and has been granted a license to ride there again during the winter from November 15 to January 15, so will likely be taking in the Jockeys Challenge on his way to the island nation.
Rispoli has ridden in France for the last three summers and autumns and had a Gr 1 win in each of 2012 and 2013. He rode in Japan in early 2011 and also recorded a Gr 1 victory there. He has had two Gr 1 victories in Italy.
Rispoli has also ridden in races in the UK and Mauritius.
Rice excelling in South Korea
PUBLISHED: October 28, 2014
Former Ashburton trainer and ex-patriot Zimbabwean Bart Rice is flying the South African flag in no uncertain terms in South Korea and proving once more to the international racing fraternity that Southern Africa has some of the best horseman in the world.
Meanwhile, the ongoing relationship between Korean and South African racing is set to step up another gear after continuing negotiations and the Korean Racing Authority (KRA) have also announced that they have opened their doors to foreign owners, which provides an opportunity to race for the third highest prize money in the world .
Rice, by all accounts, became the first trainer in Korean history to have a winner with his first runner on January 24 this year and currently, after a double on October 15 from just two runners, he stands on 23 winners. However that has come from just 102 runners and has been achieved at a fantastic strike rate of 22,5%. After the October 15 meeting Rice was in 11th place on the Busan trainer’s log. However, his strike rate in this major racing centre is the third highest behind only the top two on the log, Kim Young Kwan and Peter Michael Wolsley. Rice has also had ten second places and four thirds.
The on course attendance figures in Korea are absolutely phenomenal and for example the average Sunday meeting attendance in 2010 was 192,999, although this dropped to 175,122 in 2011.
Fanatical racegoers have learnt that when a Rice horse is turned out it will be fit and well and ready to win. Rice’s success has caused the powers that be to sit up and take notice and the KRA have now requested that a South African jockey relocate on a permanent basis, although the criteria includes that he or she must have a winning percentage of at least 8%.
Furthermore, the KRA recently announced that they have opened their doors to foreign owners, meaning that South African owners would be able to buy and race horses there. However, the application in this regard is only open for a limited period and apparently closes in about two weeks time.
Korea has a Tote Monopoly and their prizemoney ranks third in the world behind only Hong Kong and Dubai. In 2012 they boasted a US$7.4-billion industry, and to put that into perspective an average weekend’s take at their three racetracks equaled that of all tracks in the United States over the same period.
The system of ownership in Korea is virtually flawless and prevents a problem trainers in South Africa face of non-paying clients. The KRA travel to foreign countries like Australia to buy horses that they believe will improve their stud book and then put them on auction in Korea. Owners that have been granted the right to race can buy these horses, but quickly lose this right if they fall behind in their payments to trainers.
South African racing and the KRA currently have a “twinning” agreement, which manifests in such events as the KRA Guineas meeting held in honour of South Korean racing at Greyville every year at the beginning the Champions Season. Opportunities have also been provided for jockeys and apprentices to be hosted on a reciprocal basis in both countries.
Vidrik Thurling, the former chairman of Gold Circle and now a director of Kenilworth Racing, was largely responsible for the forming of the bond with the KRA and for its continual strengthening.
He has revealed that there are currently ongoing negotiations between South African racing and Korean racing at the highest level that have revolved around such aspects as the swapping of television pictures with accompanying betting and paying of royalties. Further down the line there is the potential for co-mingling and there have even been discussions about the possibility of positive changes to the export protocols. Hyun Myung Kwan, who is both Chairman and CEO of the KRA, is due to attend this year’s J&B Met. These negotiations are all part of Korea’s efforts to internationalise as they evolve as a horseracing nation.
Rice’s venture was made possible when the KRA asked for a South African trainer a few years ago in order to uplift the overall quality of horsemanship among their ranks. Thurling discussed the matter with Gold Circle’s current Racing and Marketing Executive Graeme Hawkins and they identified Rice as a candidate that ticked all the boxes.
Rice’s horsemanship skills as both a trainer and an equestrian sportsman were not in question. Despite never being able to attract owners with significant buying power after relocating from Zimbabwe to South Africa in about 2005, he was able to still have winners with small strings of unfashionably bred horses.
Rice was approached by Thurling and after his positive response was flown to Korea by the KRA. Thereafter he was promised accommodation for two years plus 20 horses to start with. Gold Circle facilitated the move throughout as the red tape involved meant mountains of correspondence was required. They also helped Rice pay the deposit for the visa and work permit requirements, which was refunded by the Korean authorities after about three months.
Rice has not only had success on the race track in Korea, but has drawn further attention due to his high degree of professionalism. He is one of the only trainers in the country to have his own website. Gold Circle have followed his progress keenly and are not only delighted and proud to see the strides he is making, but also pleased that it has helped foster further potential in the relationship between South African and Korean racing.