Smanjemanje wins from The Apache and Pierre Jourdan
Smanjemanje wins from The Apache and Pierre Jourdan

Smanjemanje leads home The Apache and Pierre Jourdan

in the 8 January London News Stakes (Gr3)

(Photo : JC Photos / Summerhill Stud)

J&B MET (Grade 1)

Kenilworth, Turf, 2000m

28 January 2012

At the weights, Saturday’s “big one” looks like the conditions of the race were scripted for only one horse : the Summerhill graduate and Horse of the Year, Igugu. Her 13/10 chalk on bookmakers’ boards is quite generous then, given her record, but reflects more on a less-than-ideal preparation than her ability. The “J&B Met” is like an Olympics final, and, unless you’re unusually gifted, you’d not want the interruptions the daughter of Galileo has had to endure in the past months.

Take her out of the equation, and it’s anybody’s race. On merit ratings alone, the three-year-old Gimmethegreenlight (impressive victor in the time-honoured L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (Gr1) three weeks back against his elders) is especially well treated with 54kgs (55kgs at weight-for-age in the Plate,) and the services of Piere Strydom (J&B Met winner aboard Summerhill-bred Angus in 2006), and no penalty for his Plate win. He probably has a kilo or 2 in hand against the favourite in handicapping terms, if his 117 rating (same as Igugu’s) is accurate. His rating might be, though we suspect Igugu is better than rated. If the colt has a chink in his armour, it could be his stamina.

In Cape Town, they speak well of Kahal’s son, Tales of Bravery, though bias aside, we’ve always seen him as a thoroughly genuine Group Two horse, and he’s also got a bit to find against the three-year-old. By the way, Kahal’s two runners (Smanjemanje besides) make him one of four stallions (Silvano, Fort Wood and Dynasty) with a brace in the field.

The betting tells us to respect Bravura and The Apache as well. The former last won at this level exactly two years ago (Investec Derby) and while the extra two furlongs might help, he looks held by the Justin Snaith-trained Gimmethegreenlight on Queen’s Plate form, all things being equal. He wouldn’t have been far off his best that day (Joey Ramsden may say otherwise,) and you might argue much the same for Winston Chow’sThe Apache, on his run behind Smanjemanje in the London News (same day as the Queen’s Plate).

If the favourite hasn’t been following the press, and ends up fluffing her lines, Mike de Kock feels Ilsanpietro has as good a chance as any, and he’s next among the public fancies.

But strictly on his “Smanjemanje” form, he’ll be troubled attempting to reverse places with that man. At the weights, he can’t.

Which begs the question, what about our fellow Smanjemanje? They’re betting 13/10 Igugu, 7/1 Gimmethegreenlight, 8/1 Bravura and Tales of Bravery, 10/1 The Apache and 14/1 Ilsanpietro, Beach Beauty and Run For It, with “Smanje” among the “33/1 and upwards”. Capetonians can be notoriously parochial about their sports stars, and they’re forgetting “Smanje” had both The Apache and Pierre Jourdan in arrear in the London News, at very little weight disparity. What price Pierre Jourdan in this field? It seems they’ve forgotten where Smanjemanje comes from.

For our money, he’s worth a punt, even if it’s only for minor money. He only has to run to his efforts in the Victory Moon and the London News to make the bearers of those illustrations names proud, and to make you a richer man than you already are!