KZN has been slow to produce a potential Classic contender but that may have changed in just over a minute at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday.
Mount Anderson still has a lot of learning to do but Keagan de Melo was a good teacher, not giving his mount time to think as he rushed him home in the Sea Cottage Handicap over 1400m.
Even with the two veterans Collabro and Oloye wrestling for the early lead, the gallop was pedestrian. “They went slow early on and then quickened up at the thousand,” commented De Melo. “He got caught a little flat-footed.” From there it was hard at work and De Melo never let up all the way to the line with Mount Anderson eventually put two lengths over the opposition.
Nicolet Roscoe, who saddled three winners for Dean Kannemeyer said, “He’s a nice horse but still has a lot to learn. This was a bit short for him.”
Whether he is able to match it with the visiting big guns, only time will tell, but on yesterday’s evidence, he’s in with a shout.
There are still five months to go before the end of the current season but Warren Kennedy, barring accidents, looks home-and-hosed. Chasing his first national title, Kennedy has not been tempted to tour the country, plying his trade between KZN and the Highveld, and with the support from some strong stables in both centres and able to ride close to bottom weight, he will be a hard man to catch as he went 52 winners clear of his nearest rival, Greg Cheyne.
The first yesterday was very much a mirror image of the title race as Kennedy bounced clear on the odds-on favourite Jozi Hustle and helped by a stiff tailwind he was not for the catching.
Kennedy gave his supporters plenty of confidence for his second win as he steered Paul Gadsby’s charge Rain Dance to what eventually turned into a rather comfortable victory over the luckless King Julian.
Kennedy had King Julian covered on his inside for much of the early exchanges but on the final turn Donovan Dillon angled out and appeared to have made a winning move as King Julian hit the front travelling smoothly.
Rain Dance appeared to be caught a little flat-footed, but once Kennedy straightened him up and balanced, he reeled in King Julian, the two with the race to themselves.
Explosive Beauty lived up to her name as she ‘exploded’ out of the pack for Kennedy’s third win of the afternoon for Paul Lafferty. Connect Me never looked settled as she carted the field along at a good pace and was a spent force early in the straight. Favourite Jackson Wells looked to have the wood on the field as she moved up on the outside rail before Kennedy produced Explosive Beauty with a telling finish to win comfortably. “I always thought she was a good filly,” said Lafferty. “Thought she was good enough to run in a feature but she refused to jump and had us stumped. We took the ear muffs off and she showed what she can do. She won with a lot in hand.”
By Andrew Harrison