The weather gods appear to have it in for Scottsville. In recent weeks it’s either been blistering hot or pouring with rain as was the case on Sunday.
A soft track doesn’t suit all, but there are horses that revel in the mud and don’t often get a chance in these conditions in KZN. That said, the Scottsville outside track was a little more than soft and after two races around the turn, a jockey protest and a track inspection in pouring rain the Listed The Sledgehammer was called off and postponed until this coming Sunday.
The underfoot conditions had no obvious affect on the two at the top of the weights in the Highland Night Cup as Silver Rose and favourite Strathdon took up the cudgels shortly after the start and finished in that order.
Once in front, Silver Rose settled for Gareth Wright and the race was run on his terms. Strathdon tried gallantly to get to grips in the home straight but Silver Rose kept finding to win comfortably.
Byron Foster, assistant to Andre Nel in KZN, expressed reservations about Silver Rose staying further than 2400m but the gelding did it rather easily under testing conditions so he may well be a factor come the big staying races in Champions Season.
Justin Snaith, on the other hand, has indicated that some of his runners are short of one run after the Cape summer, Strathdon and Pinkerton, third in the second when starting favourite, prime examples. But Listed The Scarlet Lady winner Miyabi Gold handled the heavy going comfortably and put up her hand for inclusion in the final field for the Vodacom Durban July.
She plugged away in the mud to win comfortably but the runner that caught the eye was Sabina’s Dynasty. Having her first outing for Brett Crawford, she was closing fast from well off the pace and it will not come as a surprise to see her name added to the list of July hopefuls at second entries alongside stable companion Charles.
Dennis Drier is responsible for two of South Africa’s promising locally-bred stallions, Master Of My Fate and now Captain Of All. Master Of My Fate already has a sophomore crop performing well but Captain Of All is still among the freshman ranks.
Captain Of All, winner of the Gr1 Tsogo Sun Sprint as a two-year-old, signed off his career with victories in the Gr1 Gold Horse Sprint and the Gr1 Mercury Sprint, all for Drier. KZN’s current champion trainer has stayed faithful to both Master Of My Fate and Captain Of All.
Cartel Captain gave notice that he could be in line to emulate his sire in the Tsogo Sun Sprint as he scored comfortably in the card opener. He was up against quality field of maidens and his experience over the often tricky Scottsville 1200m will count in his favour.
Robbie and Shannon Hill enjoyed their finest hour with Cascapedia winning the Gr1 Empress Club Stakes a fortnight back and look to have two nice juveniles in Into The Future and Fools Gold, first and second in the All To Come Juvenile Plate. Both came off smart barrier trials and look to have some scope.
One that does have scope for breaking his duck sooner rather than later is third-placed Pinkerton. A seven-furlong maiden will be at his mercy when next he steps out.
By Andrew Harrison