Paul Reeves is to send a team of horses to Durban for the first time – and Skidoo will be among them after making pretty much all the running under Liam Tarentaal to record his third success off the reel in the Betting World Handicap at Durbanville on Saturday.
Reeves, who rode nearly 300 winners and started training in 2009, said: “I went to Durban with Sea Cat early in my training career but I haven’t been since. However I am taking ten horses in a week’s time. They will include some juveniles that we think a lot of and nice speed horses like Pippielangkous and Photocopy as well as Skidoo who could be a poly candidate. Basically I am looking for more options as there is so little racing for them in Cape Town at the moment.”
Brett Crawford is a deliberately slow starter with his two-year-olds and Remus, who made all under Greg Cheyne in the opener, was only the fourth of his current 50 at Philippi to run and the first to win. “I like to give them a bit of time,” explained the trainer who had drawn an uncharacteristic blank at the previous three Cape Town meetings. He went some way towards making up for this when the Corne Orffer-ridden Indi Anna sprang a 12-1 surprise in the TAB Telebet Handicap.
The second juvenile race was also Greg Cheyne-ridden with 19-4 newcomer Zarina proving too strong for the favourite Soft Day. Both first and second carried Marsh Shirtliff’s distinctive colours but were from different stables; he backed the favourite but covered the winner.
Asked if the filly’s win was a surprise to her, Candice Bass-Robinson said: “Ability-wise no but she worked poorly when Greg rode her on Thursday. I took her blood and scoped her but nothing showed up.”
Keagan de Melo is enjoying a tremendous season – he is third on the Western Cape log as well as one the national one -and he followed up success on the Dean Kannemeyer-trained Meet At The George (named after a pub in Durban) with a comfortable success on Eva Eileen in the Racing Association Handicap.
De Melo had ridden the Paddy Kruyer-trained 8-1 shot on her previous three starts but he only got the mount after M.J. Byleveld was unable to make the weight.
He said: “I was very fortunate to get back on her. I had been waiting for another filly in the race but she ended up being scratched.”
De Melo’s enterprising riding is beginning to change the accepted wisdom of riding Durbanville. Before he came along few jockeys were bold enough to attempt to challenge on the inside for fear of the gap being slammed shut in their faces but he often finds a way through on the rails – Meet At The George was a typical example – and Anthony Andrews did the same on 10-1 shot Six Degrees in the Interbet.co.za Handicap.
That winner is going to Mauritius after being purchased by fish magnate Bahim Taher in what Glen Kotzen described as “a risk buy.” The Woodhill trainer explained: “The horse wouldn’t pass any vetting. He had a problem with his breathing and we had to cut a growth from the back of his throat.”
Radiant Love got up close home under Orffer in the last and Mike Robinson reckoned the decision to geld the horse earlier in the season had paid the expected dividend. “I hadn’t wanted to geld him as he wasn’t really coltish but he was haemoconcentrating badly.”
By Michael Clower