Little blood was spilled on the Kenilworth battlefield as owners Ingrid and Markus Jooste and trainer Joey Ramsden swatted aside the opposition, winning race after race at Saturday’s prestigious Cape Guineas meeting. Their day of triumph was crowned by the thumping victory of Act Of War in the Grade 1 Grand Parade Cape Guineas.
The career trajectory of this three-year-old is remarkably similar to that of Variety Club, who became the world’s second highest-rated horse – also racing from the Ramsden yard in the Joostes’ green, yellow and black silks.
The son of Dynasty, bred by Arc-en-Ciel, will be heading overseas in the near future, said Jooste's racing manager Derek Brugman. Asked about the next assignment, Brugman replied that all of next month’s L'Ormarins Queen’s Plate, J&B Met and Cape Derby were under consideration, but thereafter the colt would enter the export process and would not travel to KwaZulu-Natal for the winter season.
In his post-race interview, Ramsden revealed that Act Of War had suffered a hiccup in his preparations for this R1-million showpiece. “We had one bad piece of work last week and it had me worried. There is not one homeopathic medicine I haven’t used on him this week.”
Racing fans can only speculate about how much easier the victory might have been if he’d been at his best.
It was the first time jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe had ridden Act Of War and he commented that the three-year-old was already “one of the best I have ever sat on”.
The bookmakers shortened Act Of War in to 13-20 at the off, with only Durban raider Harry’s Son (6-1) and unbeaten Joburg colt Zambezi River (8-1) being quoted in single figures among the balance of the contenders.
Both Act Of War and Zambezi River were slightly slowly away, but the former recovered quickly and settled in midfield inside the first 300m, eight lengths off the lead.
Light The Lights (16-1) set a fair pace from Brutal Force, Captain Alfredo, Harry’s Son, Kingvoldt, Act Of War, Imperial Gold and Zambezi River, who was about 10 lengths back. In the straight, jockey Piere Strydom made his move on Harry’s Son up the inside rail, with Kingsvoldt and Anthony Delpech tracking the challenge.
But Fayd’Herbe gave Act Of War a squeeze and within strides he shot to the head of affairs. “We got there a little too soon,” observed Fayd’herbe. But there was nothing in sight that was going to match this young champ and he cruised in 1.75 lengths clear of Harry’s Son, with Ramsden’s second string Kingsvoldt (14-1) finishing a commendable third and Imperial Gold (75-1) fourth, a further three lengths back.
The Cape Guineas is hailed as a proving ground of champions and there is every indication that Act Of War will match the high standards of his illustrious predecessors in the winner’s circle.
As Ramsden mentioned, Paul Lafferty’s charge Harry’s Son deserves plenty of praise as he has travelled extensively around the country in his brief career to date and has never put in anything less than an excellent, courageous effort.
Act Of War has now won six in a row, with his only defeat having come in his debut effort when he was a short-head second. His earnings have sailed up to R1.3-million, with his purchase price of R550,000 having become a forgotten ledger note.
Extract from Tab News/Kenilworth Racing (p)