The Paul Peter-trained Rebel’s Champ took a while to hit top gear in yesterday’s Non-Black Type Marula Sprint over 1200m at Hollywoodbets Scottsville but when he did he stormed home to convert 12/10 favouritism under Warren Kennedy.
The five-year-old Rebel King gelding carried topweight but looked hard to beat under the conditions of the race. He was 2,5kg well in with the second best weighted horse, Tribal Fusion, according to official merit ratings.
Rebel’s Champ was a touch slowly away as Cumulus set the fractions on the inside. Kennedy positioned the 12/10 favourite behind the third favourite Celebration Rock who was prominent in the centre. Towards the inside the second favourite Ishnana had started slowly and then pulled his way alongside Celebration Rock. At the 400m mark Rebel’s Champ had a wall of horses in front of him but Kennedy was able to switch him towards the outside for a clear run. He was looking a touch laboured until Kennedy changed the whip to his left hand and the horse then changed legs to a left lead and took off. Kennedy had to change whip hands again as the horse began hanging inward but his momentum carried him past Cumulus in the shadow of the post to win by a quarter of a length. The Drunken Sailor ran on well on the outside for a half-a-length third and it was then two lengths back to Goliath Heron and Waywood who were separated by a head.
The win clinched a double for Peter and Kennedy as they had won the third over 1400m with the five-year-old Pathfork mare Promise, who has now won six times from just 17 starts.
Garth Puller and Luke Ferraris also scored a double together.
Puller consequently reached 30 winners for the season, which gives him a lead of eight in the KZN Championships from second-placed Gavin van Zyl.
Puller’s three-year-old Philanthropist gelding Rasputin’s Remedy came from last under Ferraris in the fifth race, a Maiden over 2400m, to catch the favourite Jet Lignite and win by half-a-length at odds of 41/10.
In the next race, an apprentice handicap over 1200m, Ferraris extracted a powerful finish from Puller’s four-year-old Oratorio gelding Krishnie’s Jet to catch the rank outsider Maa Nonu and win by half-a-length.
Anton Marcus also scored a double, winning the fourth over 1600m on the hard-knocking Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained four-year-old Twice Over filly On The Double, and the last race on the improving Mike Miller-trained Ideal World filly Basetsana, who can go on to win more as she was still green in first-time blinkers.
Louis Goosen’s three-year-old Captain Of All gelding Elementary was backed in the first and got home by a quarter of a length under Craig Zackey.
The next over 1400m saw a win for Nathan Kotzen and Kabelo Matsunyane with the three-year-old gelding Walton Hall, who is by the promising sire Wylie Hall.
Puller had many runners on the day and roared into the lead on the Hollywoodbets Sizzling Summer Challenge trainers’ table. He started the day five points behind leader Paul Lafferty and after gathering 104 points to Lafferty’s 47 he is now 52 points ahead of the latter.
Marcus started the day two points clear of Warren Kennedy on the jockeys’ table and finished the day nine points ahead of him.
By David Thiselton