Punters had their fingers badly burned at Durbanville yesterday when Anse Lazio, backed down to 13-20 for the 2 400m handicap, proved unable to get on terms with 6-1 stable companion Metropolitan on whom Anthony Andrews made almost every metre.
True, the favourite was beaten less than a length into third at the line but seemingly those who backed him have the drying ground (and just possibly the handicappers) to blame.
Andre Nel, trainer of both horses, said: “Anse Lazio is a mudlark and the softer the ground the better for him. I walked the course beforehand and the going is good but in some places it is quite firm. That said, I still thought he would outstay them.
“We were reluctant to let Metropolitan go the front but we needed the pace for Anse Lazio and Anthony rode the winner superbly. But I think the handicappers over-handicapped him for his last win. They put him up four kilos and I was thinking of appealing. I rang them and, as they said they would reduce the increase by a pound, I decided against it.”
Richard Fourie, who rode Anse Lazio, had better luck in the opener when his judgement proved correct. The Snaith stable thought he had made the wrong decision when he opted for Silver Host rather than 2-1 favourite Winter Is Over but, if he ever had doubts, they were dispelled in no uncertain fashion inside the final furlong.
“He was taking his time but about 300m out he changed his demeanour and I knew I was going to win – and I was able to put my stick away,” said Fourie, adding: “This is a quality horse.”
The majority of punters had to wait for race three before getting the better of the bookmakers when the Eric Sands-trained 22-10 shot Larentina quickened nicely well inside the final furlong. “I was happy with the way she turned it on once I got the split,” reported Greg Cheyne.
By Michael Clower