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(skyline pictures)


For the second consecutive year, the Astrapak 1900 produced a nailbiting finish, with  top filly River Jetez denying the flying Catmandu by the narrowest of margins, giving brilliant jockey, Weichong Marwing, his fifth winner of the evening.  Wonder Lawn and Silver Mist finished close proximity to complete the placings.

SA Horseracing reports that River Jetez raced in about seventh place early on and had a dream run on the fence for much of the race as Wonder Lawn went out to dictate matters ahead of Silverpoint, Jagged Ice, Floatyourboat, Equal Image, Apple-A-Day and Hilgrove. Hunting Tower, Appelate Court and Rudra were further back with Catmandu held up about a dozen lengths off the pace and Silver Mist and Run Angel Run bringing up the rear.

Wonder Lawn stuck doggedly to his task once he had brought the field in for home as challenges started to mount from all sides, with River Jetez making up ground smartly down the inside with Floatyourboat and, wider out, Hunting Tower looking briefly dangerous.

Wonder Lawn’s supporters had cause to hope for an pillar-to-post victory 200m out as he was still keeping the pack at bay but River Jetez was grinding him down remorselessly. Even as she mastered the pacemaker, though, Catmandu caught fire and unleashed a devastating late run which looked as if it might carry him through. However, he was a fraction too late and River Jetez had done enough to clinch a gutsy victory.

There is a lot to like about the winner. She has had a hard act to follow in the form of her big brother Pocket Power, but she has quietly established herself as a more than useful performer in her own right. Like her more accomplished sibling, she is at home over a range of distances and to all intents and purposes, she has yet to run a bad race in 15 starts. Whether this form is strong enough to cause any ripples in the Vodacom Durban July itself is another story, but for now her connections and sit back and savour a second big-race win for her, following her victory in last year’s KZN Oaks.

Catmandu, who is a 2005 graduate of Summerhill Stud’s Ready to Run programme, ran a tremendous race in defeat and the 4,5kg he was conceding to the winner was surely decisive in the end. As is now customary, he produced a powerful finishing kick and was only beaten on the nod of heads. It will be interesting to see what weight he is allotted in the July: a few months ago, one might have laughed at the thought, but he is proving to be an absolutely genuine performer who has now turned in three good efforts at Gr 1 or Gr 2 level and if he maintains this level of form, it would be no surprise to see him make the frame in the country’s biggest race.

Congratulations must go the breeders of River Jetez, Out Of Africa Stud, as well as her co-owners Marsh Shirtliff and Mr & Mrs C A Amm and her trainer, Mike Bass.

Race 9 - R300K - ASTRAPAK 1900 (Grade 2)
Merit Rated Handicap - 1900m

No

Horse

Jockey

Al/Bl

Kg

Dr

Fin

Dist

Time

14

RIVER JETEZ

Weichong Marwing

A -

53.5

2

1

0.00

116.40

3

CATMANDU

Stuart Randolph

A -

58.0

5

2

0.05

116.41

10

WONDER LAWN

M J Byleveld

A -

55.5

11

3

0.30

116.46

7

SILVER MIST

Andrew Fortune

A -

57.5

18

4

1.55

116.69

12

APPLE-A-DAY

Gavin Lerena

A -

53.5

6

5

1.80

116.74

1

FLOATYOURBOAT

Karl Neisius

A -

60.0

8

6

1.90

116.76

2

HUNTING TOWER

Anton Marcus

A -

60.0

3

7

2.05

116.78

15

RUDRA

Anthony Delpech

A -

52.5

13

8

2.10

116.79

11

SILVERPOINT (AUS)

Brett Smith

A -

54.5

4

9

2.20

116.81

8

HILGROVE

Sean Cormack

A -

56.5

12

10

2.35

116.84

9

OUTCOME

Robbie Hill

A B

55.5

15

11

2.60

116.89

13

OLYMPIC GOLD

Raymond Danielson

A -

53.5

16

12

2.70

116.91

4

EQUAL IMAGE (ARG)

Francois Herholdt

A P

58.0

17

13

2.95

116.95

6

APPELATE COURT

Richard Fourie

A -

57.5

7

14

3.20

117.00

5

JAGGED ICE

Bernard Fayd’Herbe

A B

58.0

10

15

4.70

117.28

16

RUN ANGEL RUN

Brandon Lerena *0.0

A -

52.5

9

16

4.80

117.30

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