News Stream rides his luck

PUBLISHED: 09 December 2019

Merlin From Berlin (Candiese Lenferna)

Very often when a track has been out of commission for some time it takes the riders a little time to adjust. That was probably the cause of some of the pain punters had to endure as favourites fell short of their billing and riders wandering all over the track hunting the best going, that two months back proved to be a distant memory at Hollywoodbets Scottsville yesterday.

But as Mark Dixon pointed out after 20-1 chance News Stream had held off favourite Gimme Peace; “the second horse was unlucky but in this game, you take your luck when you can.”

Merlin From Berlin (Candiese Lenferna)
Merlin From Berlin (Candiese Lenferna)

Gimme Peace found traffic as the field bunched up the centre of the track in the 1600m KZN Summer Challenge final and only got out when it was too late. Special Blend found even more trouble. “I was following Keagan (Gimme Peace) but then got carried out,” explained S’Manga Kumalo. “There was nowhere to go so a had to switch in.” Desperately unlucky are words that spring to mind.

Also riding his luck was Merlin From Berlin that benefitted from an incident that nearly saw High Altar and apprentice Thabiso Gumede disappear over the outside fence. Sean Veal on Wealthy hunted a tight gap between Paths Of Victory and High Altar in the straight resulting in Wealthy cannoning into High Altar costing her any chances she had.

Wealthy got off relatively lightly and chased hard but Merlin From Berlin got home by a neck.

The stipes had the incident on multiple video replays and will be looking into the incident.

Master Keys, touched off in a PE raid last time out, was back in the winner’s circle as she put in a sustained finish to win the River Indigo Handicap (Non-Black Type). Helped by a solid early gallop, she was always handy under Khumalo, and the top weight quickened like a good horse.

This was her fifth win from ten outings in the colours of Alderman Rob Haswell and Nathan Kotzen has the Gr3 Flamboyant Stakes at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Boxing Day pencilled in as her next target. Her win was the first of a Kotzen double with Merlin From Berlin the second leg.

Yogas Govender saddled the first juvenile winner of the current KZN season as Harlington Express out-gunned the filly Magicallee in a tight finish much to the delight of rider Billy Jacobson who is on a hot streak at present. Visiting colt Accomplishment was sent out favourite but was not match for the first two home, beaten a furlong out.

Govender was back in the winner’s box soon after as Quatro Five Six made full use of the fresh Scottsville turf. Starting from the widest draw only to finish up on the inside fence. Seasoned jockey Sherman Brown was content to let his mount drift for fear of breaking his stride as his mount was clear of the opposition. Experience is an invaluable asset in race-riding.

Favourite Avro Lancaster scraped home to keep many PA punters alive but the Bi-Pot nose-dived in the first leg as rank outsider’s filler the first two places.

In A Minute, paying just short of R70 a win on the tote, and Fateful Mistress, R8.90 a place, got home ahead of favourite Explosive Beauty, consigning most Bi-Pot tickets to the bin.

Denis Schwarz, soon to drop his apprentice tag and fresh from his victory in the Gr 1 Gauteng Summer Cup, is riding at the top of his game, and flew home to Gauteng with a double. He rode a pearler on the Gareth van Zyl’s filly Slievanorra in the fourth, coming from way back to snatch victory to follow up on Celebration Rock, getting Paul Lafferty’s import home by the shortest of short heads from the filly Marsanne.

By Andrew Harrison