The price paid for a yearling at auction goes more to conformation and pedigree in the hope that it has some ability. As Dean Kannemeyer pointed out before his R4.5 million yearling buy, Seventh Gear, won the second at Hollywoodbets Scottsville yesterday, “there are plenty of million-rand duds around. I think that it’s a bit unfair to put pressure on the trainer just because the horse was bought for a lot of money.”
But Seventh Gear is no dud although he has some way to go before he recoups his purchase price on the track – but the signs are good. A magnificent physical specimen, the colt still looked a little underdone in the paddock but finished off his race smartly as he and the luckless High Voltage fought out the finish with the balance of the field in another race.
Seventh Gear is unlikely to be seen out again this term, Kannemeyer intimating that the colt would be put away and prepped for the Cape summer with the Gr1 Cape Guineas and Gr1 Cape Derby on the radar.
Tobie Spies is a wizard with juveniles and the money arrived in spades for the grey filly Snow Palace in the third and it was money on the mark.
Craig Zackey sat patiently in the pack until two furlongs out with the fuse burning. Once the flame hit the powder, Snow Palace sped clear to win as she liked.
Pace, or a lack of it, can upset even the best laid plans and Shane Humby was chewing on his hat as the field dawdled around the back stretch in the fourth setting up the race for a sprint home. Donovan Dillon was wise to the pace and sent favourite Winter Retreat about her business at the top of the straight, poaching a break on the opposition. It proved a timely move as Winter Retreat held on just long enough to hold the late challenge from Miss Jagger. “I was a bit worried as they crawled down the back straight. Filly is an out-and-out stayer and a sprint home did not suit her.”
Muzi Yeni is not going down without a fight in the national title race although his chances of catching log leader Lyle Hewitson look remote, Yeni 12 behind with a little over two weeks to the end of the season. Nathan Kotzen ensured that there was hanging around for his more fancied runner Paybackthemoney in the fifth as apprentice Gabriel Pieterse stretched the field from the jump on stable companion Kheelan Dynasty. Paybackthemoney returned the compliment with a comfortable win.
Kotzen and Dillon were back to collect the cheque in the sixth as Master Keys put in a storming run up the inside to get the better of Karatage and Bon Bon with favourite Perfect Air under pressure a long way out.
By Andrew Harrison