Drier glowing with confidence
PUBLISHED: January 7, 2015
Dennis Drier said that he “couldn’t be happier” with Jet Aglow ahead of Saturday’s Gr 1 Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes, while Glen Kotzen was also very pleased with one of the former’s chief dangers, Jet Belle.
Drier and his stable jockey Sean Cormack will be seeking respective hattricks in the big race, having won it together with the amazing Beach Beauty in the last two years.
Jet Aglow has finished second and third respectively in the last two runnings and Drier said, “It’s a competitive field but she hasn’t put a foot wrong since arriving in the Cape.”
The five-year-old Jet Master mare finished a far from disgraced fifth in the Gr 2 Lanzerac Green Point Stakes over 1600m behind Legislate on her seasonal reappearance and then won the Listed Cape Premier Sales Jet Master Stakes over 1600m last time out when admittedly well weighted. She jumps from pole position with Cormack up and looks the horse to beat.
Kotzen said last month that Jet Belle, who is also a five-year-old by Jet Master, had not suffered from the travel sickness that had affected her after her journey from Johannesburg last year. However, he said that it had been agreed not to give her a hard time in her last race, as they had wanted to see where they were with her after her very tough race in the Sansui Summer Cup. In the latter race she hit the front early in testing conditions before fading out. In a Conditions Plate over 1500m on December 20, she ran on in eyecatching style and that looked to be the perfect preparation for Saturday’s race.
She beat Jet Aglow in the weight for age Gr 2 Gold Bracelet over 2000m at Greyville on Super Saturday, so is going to be a big threat from draw seven. Kotzen said, “She doesn’t give much away at home but she looks magnificent and I think she will run a cracker. Greg (Cheyne)is also very pleased with her.”
Kotzen runs Gone Baby Gone in the Gr 2 Glorious Goodwood Peninsula Handicap over 1800m, where he jumps from pole position with Christopher Puller up and carries bottom weight of 53kg off his 91 merit rating.
Kotzen said, “Greg said he should have run in the first three last time in the Jet Master Stakes as he was hampered at a crucial stage and became unbalanced, which broke his stride, and he then got going again and flew. That was a nice comeback after his disappointing Port Elizabeth run and he is flying in his work.”
Of his other runners on the day, Kotzen said that Ashram had a chance in the workrider’s race (race 1) as he had been unlucky last time out, although Aces United looks to be the one to beat. He added that the first-timer by Captain Al in the second race, Entre Nous, was a smart filly and that the first-timer in the third, Cathy Pacific, was one to watch over more ground.
Legislate in stealth mode
PUBLISHED: January 7, 2015
Champion trainer Justin Snaith said that L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate favourite Legislate had resembled a cheetah when doing some nice pace work on his own on the Phillippi sand over 800m on Tuesday morning and that jockey Richard Fourie had returned smiling.
Snaith said, “A lot of jockeys will return saying things like ‘won’t come off the bit’ etc, but Richard always just keeps quiet. When he is smiling you know!”
The reigning Equus Horse Of The Year looks difficult to oppose having been highly impressive when smashing the Kenilworth Old Course record over 1600m in the Gr 2 Green Point Stakes in his seasonal reappearance, especially considering a lot of the other runners appear to be eyeing the J&B Met as their chief target.
However, Snaith was not counting his chickens and said, “The only certainty in racing is the uncertainty.”
The Dynasty colt is drawn perfectly in barrier two and Snaith added, “We are not looking for excuses, so are not worried about the pace, although there are a couple of Jo’burg horses in the race that might ensure a good pace.”
Legislate’s stable companion Jet Explorer could give him something to think about having put up his “best workout since Durban” on Tuesday.
This six-year-old Jet Master gelding finished a 1,55 length third to Capetown Noir last year and Snaith recalled, “I don’t want to say he was unlucky, but if he could have got his run at the right time he could have got closer as he was the fastest finisher. If he can come back to that form he could place. His last race was a ‘bring on’ race and he will be primed for Saturday.”
Jet Explorer’s career looked to be over as he suffered multiple fractures to his jaw when brought down in the Gr 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge at Clairwood last June. However, he has made an amazing recovery after an expert operation performed by Dr Ralph Katzwinkel of the Summerveld Equine Hospital.
He will be ridden by Sean Cormack from a plum draw of three.
Snaith has three runners in the Gr 1 Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes, Ash Cloud, Acrostar and Jet Supreme, and he said they would “make the tactical pace that we want.”
He added, “Ash Cloud needed her last start. We would have preferred a better draw for her as she is an out and out stayer and her only chance will be to let her gallop up front.” This is the Gr 1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks winner’s second start for the yard and S’Manga Khumalo is up from draw 12.
Snaith appears to be leaning towards Acrostar as his chief hope and Fourie is aboard from draw six. He said, “She will run a big race especially if the pace is on. Last time she was left with too much to do. She is very game, she always gives of her best, and will stay up to 2200m.”
He said of Jet Supreme, who beat Acrostar on the same terms last time by 0,2 lengths when winning the Gr 3 Victress Stakes over course and distance, “I’ve never considered her good enough to win a Gr 1, but this is a good opportunity for her. This is not the strongest Paddock Stakes field as it usually has the champion three-year-old. Jet Aglow has amazing form and looks hard to beat, but if she fluffs her lines our horses will have a chance as they will all run their races.”
The yard also have three horses in the Gr 2 Glorious Goodwood Peninsula Handicap over 1800m and Fourie has jumped ship from True Master on to Arion. Snaith regards Helderberg Blue as the horse to beat and said, “Arion finished as fast as Legislate in last year’s Cape Derby and beat him in a gallop before the Durban season, but then injured himself. He was one run short last time out and just weakened in the last bit, but he has come on from that run and has had another gallop since. He has been crying out for a big run, he is primed and has everything in his favour.”
He continued, “True Master was a bit disappointing last time and this will be a big test for him. Johnny Rockets ran a very good race last time and was a bit unlucky. He does run well fresh, so we’ve freshened him up again, but he is not a sound horse and has let us down before.”
The yard run four horses in the Gr 3 Julius Baer Politician Stakes over 1800m. Snaith said, “Arniston will run well as he ran 6th in the Cape Guineas and therefore did not get a penalty. I think Sean Cormack will suit him well. Seize The Throne has put in disappointing work going into the race. He is an out and out stayer and faces a test at this level but Richard has stuck with him due to his long term future. Bianzino put up a good gallop and will strip a lot fitter so will run a nice race at the weights. Parachute Man put up a very good workout on Tuesday and with luck in running could earn. Greg (Cheyne) is aboard and is riding at the top his game. But the field has some high quality horses in and would look like a Derby field in any other province.”
Snaith has a huge team of 40 runners on the day and sited Aces United in the first race as one of the yard’s best bets. He said, “I don’t think anything will come near him.”
Pine Princess cleared for travel
PUBLISHED: January 7, 2015
The Mike de Kock-trained three-year-old filly Pine Princess will be able to run in Saturday’s Gr 1 Maine Chance Paddock Stakes as the state veterinary authority confirmed on Monday that the last recorded African Horse Sickness (AHS) outbreak in the Randjesfontein jurisdiction was on November 28, meaning the 40 day travel ban that threatened to prevent her participation ended today.
Pine Princess is due to travel down today together with Alboran Sea, who will be running in the Gr 1 Cape Flying Championships on January 24.
Attorney Robert Bloomberg, a well known figure in horseracing, has been representing De Kock and Sean Tarry in regard to the moratorium that was imposed on the movement of a number of horses from Randjesfontein to the Western Cape due to a recent outbreak of AHS within a 30km radius of the training centre.
The horses involved included the like of Majmu, Ertijaal, Pine Princess, Alboran Sea, Trip To Heaven and Carry On Alice, although it no longer affects Majmu as De Kock announced on Monday that she would be scratched from the J&B Met for other reasons.
Bloomberg stressed that the moratorium had not prevented the Randjesfontein horses from moving either to Turffontein, The Vaal or Port Elizabeth for a fourteen day quarantine period prior to transport to the Western Cape.
In other words, movement from an “infected” area to any area outside of the AHS Controlled Area in the Western Cape is allowed, but travelling from an “infected” area to the AHS Controlled Area is not allowed. This is in order to protect the AHS Controlled Area in line with the export protocol negotiated with the European Union (EU) in 1997.
Bloomberg pointed out a further anomaly in that the Randjesfontein horse Trip To Heaven was able to travel to Turffontein to race against Trip Tease last Saturday, but whilst the former was in “isolation”, the latter was able to leave the next day for the Western Cape, because the Vaal training centre from where he comes does not fall within a 30km radius of any recent outbreak.
De Kock had also pointed out that the 14 day quarantine requirement at another training centre would have meant a change in both environment and training tracks, which is not ideal for a horse and would also increase the chance of injury. He might not have deemed it worthwhile even if that route had been the final option.
Furthermore, in the case of Pine Princess, she had tested negative to two recent AHS RT-PCR tests and would have been travelling directly into a quarantine facility at Kenilworth. Therefore, she would have been subject to the same risk control precedents which were set in the cases of both Igugu and Pomodoro in the 2011/2012 season, but which DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) now sought to oppose. Bloomberg and his clients addressed a formal letter to DAFF on 24 December stating their grievances and to date this has not been acknowledged let alone responded to.
Bloomberg also had to deal with a threat from the NHA to either scratch Pine Princess in terms of Rule 39 or suspend her in terms of Rule 93. However, no action was taken in this regard as the NHA agreed, after obtaining an opinion, that they had no legal basis to do either in terms of their own rules.
Bloomberg and his clients spent a lot of time and effort in acquiring confirmation of the exact date of the last outbreak as this would have had had a massive bearing on whether horses racing in the Cape in the latter part of January remained at Randjesfontein or moved to Turffontein. They were relieved when the date they had been led to believe was the correct one, November 28, was confirmed on Monday after a conference call between state veterinarians.
Prior to movement, individual state veterinarian (SV) movement permits will need to be applied for in respect of each horse. Further outbreaks may obviously still occur and with this in mind, it is hoped that other horses earmarked for the Western Cape will be moved earlier than scheduled.
Meanwhile, Mathew De Kock said that the yard had been very pleased with Pine Princess’s preparation for Saturday’s big race.
Futura back on track
PUBLISHED: January 7, 2015
Brett Crawford said that his Gr 1 L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plate runner Futura was fine after a recent hiccup and was back in work, but added that he would not be at his peak and the J&B Met would be the race that they would have him primed for.
The classy four-year-old Dynasty colt missed his preparation race, the Diadem on December 27, and as his bout of coughing was prolonged he also had to forego a racecourse gallop on Saturday.
Crawford said, “He is now fine and back in work, but we didn’t want to force him, so he hasn’t had a grass gallop. He is doing well and will run a good race, but won’t be at his peak.”
Futura won the Gr 1 Champions Cup over 1800m at Greyville last season.
Bernard Fayd’Herbe rides him from the widest draw of all in the nine horse field that will contest Saturday’s prestigious 1600m race.
Crawford runs the Tiger Ridge filly Maybe Yes in the Gr 1 Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes over 1800m, where she will be ridden by Corne Orffer from a draw of four. She displayed a fine turn of foot when winning last season’s Gr 2 KRA Guineas, but there was a question mark over her stamina range back then and she consequently avoided the Gr 1 Woolavington over 2000m.
Crawford said, “It’s her first time over the trip, but she is very well and has been working very well at home. I think she will get the trip.”
The yard run the former Gr 2 Selangor Cup winner De Kock in the Gr 2 Peninsula Handicap over 1800m. He was sidelined for a long time after fracturing a knee in last year’s Gr 1 Grand parade Cape Guineas, so did well to win his comeback run over 1000m in comfortable fashion in September.
Since then he has been well beaten in three sprints, including two Gr 2s.
However, he was gelded before his last run and Crawford said, “This is his first run around the turn since his injury and gelding and he is definitely looking for this sort of trip. He has been doing well.”
He jumps from draw ten with Orffer up.
Crawford runs the Gr 1 eLan Property Group Gold Cup winner Wavin’ Flag in a Pinnacle Stakes event over 2800m. He finished a fine fourth in the Gr 1 Sansui Summer Cup, before finishing fifth as favourite over 2500m last time out back at Kenilworth. He didn’t have to be freshened up before that last race, but did have to get back into the routine of the Phillippi training centre, so was likely not quite at his best. Crawford said, “He’s not a sand horse (he has been working on sand), but is definitely fit and well.”
Orffer rides from draw two.
The yard have two runners in the last race over 1400m, Prescient and Heliane, but Crawford was not bullish and said, “It is the first time this trip for Prescient, so it won’t be easy from a wide draw, and Heliane ran well last time over 1800m but is also drawn wide.”
Woodruff kicks off Cape campaign
PUBLISHED: January 7, 2015
Geoff Woodruff begins his powerful Cape Town assault with Arcetri Pink in the Best Dressed Hat Conditions Plate at Kenilworth today.
The Gauteng Fillies Guineas winner, second in the Empress Club and third in the Garden Province, should not beat Supreme Sunset on adjusted merit ratings but there are grounds for believing that she may be good enough. Gavin Lerena flies in for the mount and the filly opened at evens with Betting World.
“This is more of a run to acquaint her with the track – the Klawervlei Majorca is a target – but I think she will be fit enough to do herself justice,” says the five times champion trainer.
Officially Supreme Sunset has 1.5kg in hand at the weights. She was raised 3.5kg for her 25-1 shock win in the Joburg Spring Challenge (when Arcetri Pink was over two lengths away fifth at levels and when Majmu suffered her only defeat) but she has run nowhere near the revised rating in her two subsequent races. You would have to wonder whether the handicappers over-reacted.
That said, Mike Bass rates her and says: ”I don’t know what happened in those two races but she is quite decent. I gave her a break after her return, I have freshened her up since and she is doing very well. She is in with a shout.”
She is certainly a big price at 6-1. Bass also runs Play Of Light (33-1) and the useful Princess Ofthe Sky (7-1) who was reported to be making an abnormal respiratory noise last time. “She is a bit restricted because of her wind,” says her trainer. “But she can manage this 1 400m comfortably.”
Neil Bruss has booked champion S’Manga Khumalo for 33-10 chance Red Flame who has won three of her last five and her trainer reckons she is still improving. “Her last race was over 1 800m and it was too far for her,” he says. “This is a prep for the Majorca.”
Antonia’s Fortress (who, not surprisingly, has drifted from 4-1 to 7-1) faces a well-nigh impossible task with top weight but she has won her last two and Yogas Govender reckons there is more to come. Petty Officer is a 16-1 shot but, according to Greg Ennion, Karl Neisius says she won’t be disgraced. Neisius can’t do the weight and so in-form Richard Fourie takes over.
Malan du Toit has been working on Captain’s Dove who refused to load last time and this filly has the form to beat 5-2 favourite In The Know in the first. “The last time she actually ran was over 1 400m and it was too far,” says Mike Robinson. “She doesn’t show much at home but she is a very talented filly.”
Ovar keeps running well and may get the better of Winter Trade in race three although the once-raced Mayoral Decree and newcomer Royal Union Jet may not be far away.
Blinkers failed to work with the well bred Imibala (he refused to settle and over-raced) on Christmas Eve so he runs without them in race four but Sail For Gold is preferred. Unfortunately the price has gone and he has already been backed from 5-2 to 13-10.
In Tribute is far from the most obvious choice in the Itsarush.co.za Handicap but Govender is keen on him so he could be worth a few rand each way. He has already been supported from 10-1 to 7-1.