Golden Horse Casino Sprint
(Photo : Gold Circle / Golden Horse Casino)
GOLDEN HORSE CASINO SPRINT (Grade 1)
Scottsville, Turf, 1200m
29 May 2010
David ThiseltonJJ The Jet Plane, one of South Africa’s most popular horses, will be travelling through the night on the eve of his attempt to become the first horse since Dambuster in 1984 to recapture the Golden Horse Casino Sprint crown at Scottsville on Saturday.
JJ, now back with his Vaal-based trainer Lucky Houdalakis, was unable to defend his crown last season as he was campaigning in England under Mike de Kock where he ran fourth and third in two Group 1 sprints at Royal Ascot and Newmarket respectively.
The former Equus Champion Sprinter by Champion Sire Jet Master had earlier won a place in the hearts of the horse-mad British public, partly due to a superb performance in winning a Listed race at Windsor and partly due to being the namesake of a popular children’s storybook character. JJ, who was purchased for a mere R70,000 due to his Charlie Chaplin-like front feet, had the first gallop after his overseas journeys only a few weeks ago and unseasonal rain has also hindered the efforts to get him fit in time. “He will not be at his peak,” said Houdalakis. “He is about 85% fit and all we can do his hold thumbs.” Houdalakis said earlier this month that only the race would tell whether he retained his former ability as he had never been a good work horse and always worked on his own. He was happy with his draw of six. JJ The Jet Plane will arrive at Scottsville on Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, Duncan Howells said that topweight Tropical Empire’s preparation had gone very well and “more than according to plan”. He said the same for his unbeaten two-year-old filly Romantic Moon, who contests the Allan Robertson Championship. Tropical Empire, despite being a seven-year-old, produced a probable career best performance in the Grade 2 Drill Hall Stakes over 1400m at Greyville in his last start and was unlucky in the Golden Horse two years ago when having to be snatched up at a time he was travelling very well. Howells said of his draw of seventeen, “It’s not good on paper, but I don’t want to go that route, it’s the way the cookie crumbles. I hope we have luck in running.” Howells said last week that he had done his job and would now leave it to jockey Stuart Randolph. He felt that his Silvano filly, Romantic Moon, could be something special. “She has never come off the bit,” he said. “She improved by a whole second in her last start and has improved again since.” Romantic Moon has won both her starts over the Scottsville 1200m course and distance of the Allan Robertson.
Alec Laird was a couple of hours away from Summerveld yesterday with his Golden Horse contender, Captain Scott. “We’ve come down earlier than normal as I want to get Jet Trail settled in before her run in the Woolavington,” he said. “Captain Scott didn’t enjoy the soft in the Champions Challenge. It’s not ideal coming down from 2,000m to a sprint. But he’s showed us speed before and we’re putting half-cup blinkers on too. “We’re hoping for a surprise. If Moroccan is fancied he must have a chance.” Captain Scott finished just 0,5 lengths behind Moroccan at level weights in an Allowance Plate over 1 160m at Turffontein in February and the latter went on to win the Grade 2 Senor Santa over that same course and distance. However, Captain Scott will now have to give Moroccan 1,5kg.
Moroccan, could make it two in a row for Zimbabwean-breds in the Golden Horse. He is a four-year-old by Kitalpha and has won five of his last six starts. Trainer Weiho Marwing said he was “fit and well” and would be travelling down on Friday.
Yogas Govender’sJamaican Dream drops down in trip and the yard said that a line could be drawn through his last start when finishing last in the Drill Hall. Byron Forster, the yard’s Summerveld assistant trainer, said, “That last start was all wrong, he bolted down to the start. The stiff 1200m should suit him. We are hoping that he gets run off his feet early as he is a keen sort and that will help him settle. “He is drawn in eight which will give him the option of going left or right. There is some speed around him which will help.”
Extract from Gold Circle
TROPICAL EMPIRE (AUS)
JJ THE JET PLANE
WARM WHITE NIGHT