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THE J&B MET : TOUGH RACE TO WIN, TOUGHER RACE TO CALL

Bravura J&B Met Runner
Bravura J&B Met Runner

Bravura - Investec Cape Derby (Grade 1)

(Photo : Gold Circle)

R2,5 MILLION J&B MET (Grade 1)

Kenilworth, Turf, 2000m

29 January 2011

Mike Mood
Mike Mood

Mike Moon

The TimesBookmakers’ odds for the J&B Met suggest that the 2011 running of Cape Town’s iconic event is as close to a one-horse race as you’re ever likely to get.

As of this morning, marvellous mare Mother Russia, trained by maestro Mike de Kock and ridden by awesome Anton Marcus, was at 14/10. The second favourite was way out at 6/1, and that horse is Run For It, a three-year-old - an age bracket from which very few Met winners come.

At the other end of the age gap is eight-year-old Pocket Power, who has won the race three times and is an abiding public sweetheart. But he’s attracted so few wagers that his price was a generous 7/1. Most pundits reckon he’s over the hill and has lost his finishing kick.

That’s it then. All over bar the shouting, singing, dancing and OTT indulgence at South Africa’s biggest social whirl of the year?

Er, no.

The known knowns on which tipsters base their views might conceivably be trumped by any number of known and unknown unknowns.

Hey, the Cape is, like, a spacey place that the rest of the world finds difficult to fathom, you know.

For one thing, there’s always uncertainty about the pace at which the Met might be run.

The notorious “Cape crawl” involves front-running jockeys using the long Kenilworth bend to slow the race down and try to neutralise the chances of quality horses. The favourites are denied a sustained gallop and must join a mad sprint for the line in which a “roughie”, which might not normally stay a hard-run 2000m, can snatch the prize.

Remember the likes of Alastor and Bunter Barlow?

Then there is the recent phenomenon at Kenilworth of jockeys making a dash for the outside rail as they hit the straight - apparently due to faster going and less headwind. In this kind of scrabble, bumping and crossing can hamper the best.

Nevertheless, we make predictions :

1 POCKET POWER

Still a top performer. No surprise if he wins.

Weight 60kg, Trainer Mike Bass, Jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe, Draw 3

2 RUDRA

Stablemate of the favourite and likely pacemaker to ensure she gets a true gallop.

Weight 60.0kg, Trainer Mike de Kock, Jockey Johnny Geroudis, Draw 2

3 BRAVURA

Brilliant as a youngster. Back from injury; about to peak. Wide-ish draw.

Weight 59.5kg, Trainer Joey Ramsden, Jockey Glen Hatt, Draw 13

4 FORT VOGUE

Seldom fulfills his fashionable promise.

Weight 58.0kg, Trainer Mike Bass, Jockey Karl Neisius, Draw 7

5 RUSHING WIND

Blow us away?

Weight 58.0kg, Trainer Mike Bass, Jockey Piere Strydom, Draw 1

6 IN WRITING

On the wall? On the floor if it wins.

Weight 58.0kg, Trainer Dean Kannemeyer, Jockey Morne Winnaar, Draw 6

7 PAST MASTER

Speedy; stamina doubts. Sneaky chance.

Weight 57.5kg, Trainer Darryl Hodgson, Jockey Gerrit Schlechter, Draw 15

8 MOTHER RUSSIA

Weighted to win. Clever-clever fundis say she won’t stay 2000m, but there’s little evidence to support this.

Weight 57.5kg, Trainer Mike de Kock, Jockey Anton Marcus, Draw 8

9 TALES OF BRAVERY

Lousy draw; still has a chance.

Weight 57.5kg, Trainer Vaughan Marshall, Jockey Marthinus Mienie, Draw 16

10 CELTIC FIRE

Call the cops, not the fire brigade, if he wins.

Weight 57.5kg, Trainer Yvette Bremner, Jockey Karis Teetan, Draw 14

11 LION IN WINTER

But it’s summer.

Weight 57.5kg, Trainer Joey Ramsden, Jockey Andrew Fortune, Draw 9

12 LAST REGAL

If you say so.

Weight 57.5kg, Trainer Dean Kannemeyer, Jockey Muzi Yeni, Draw 12

13 CASK

Right name for the sponsor. Steep task.

Weight 57.5kg, Trainer Stephen Page, Jockey Richard Fourie, Draw 11

14 PADDY O’REILLY

Heard the one about the Irishman?

Weight 57.5kg, Trainer Glen Kotzen, Jockey Raymond Danielson, Draw 4

15 SUPER STORM

Upset material; pedigree to run on and overcome draw.

Weight 57.5kg, Trainer Mike Bass, Jockey Aldo Domeyer, Draw 17

16 FLIRTATION

Wink. A chance.

Weight 57.0kg, Trainer Mike De Kock, Jockey Anthony Delpech, Draw 5

17 RUN FOR IT

Good youngster, light weight. But this movie tends to be age-restricted.

Weight 52.0kg, Trainer Justin Snaith, Jockey Felix Coetzee, Draw 10

SELECTION

8 Mother Russia, 3 Bravura, 1 Pocket Power, 15 Super Storm

Extract from The Times

j&b met 2011
j&b met 2011

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J&B MET 2011 : THE SIXTY-FOUR THOUSAND DOLLAR QUESTION

Mother Russia J&B Met Runner
Mother Russia J&B Met Runner

Mother Russia - J&B Met Contender

(Photo : Gold Circle)

R2,500,000 J&B MET (Grade 1)

Kenilworth, Turf, 2000m

29 January 2011

Matthew Lips
Matthew Lips

Matthew LipsMother Russia seems better than ever at the age of five and has a bright chance of making amends for last year’s near-miss when she tackles 16 rivals in the 2011 edition of the flagship J&B Met on Saturday. Not surprisingly, Mother Russia is a warm ante-post favourite to land this much cherished prize and there is plenty of reason to believe that Mike de Kock’s mare will have bookies licking their wounds after the Kenilworth 2000m showdown, writes Matthew Lips in South Africa’s leading horseracing and breeding newspaper, the Sporting Post.

MOTHER RUSSIA

The recent L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate Grade 1 was one of the most eagerly awaited showdowns of recent years, but Mother Russia turned the 1600m contest into a one-horse race when she hit the front full of running a long way from home and kept on firing to beat Tales Of Bravery by 2.25 lengths. Some may argue that 2000m stretches her stamina pretty much to its limits, but she failed narrowly to win the Sansui Summer Cup Grade 1 over the testing Turffontein 2000m in November and she is weighted to easily reverse that form with her victorious stable companion Flirtation.

Mother Russia was made use of from a wide draw when going close behind faster finishing River Jetez in last year’s Met, and not only does she have a much kinder 8 draw this time but she will be partnered by Anton Marcus, who has never been beaten on the daughter of Windrush. Ironically perhaps, it was two members of her own gender that denied Mother Russia victory in two of 2010’s most valuable prizes, but she looks well poised to join the likes of River Jetez and Flirtation by defeating male rivals to win a “major” over 2000m.

TALES OF BRAVERY

Tales Of Bravery is facing Mother Russia on 2.5 kgs better terms for that 2.25 lengths beating in the Queen’s Plate and can certainly make his presence felt. It must be said that he was always chasing shadows on that occasion, but he was nevertheless running on stoutly and there is no real reason to suppose that Vaughan Marshall’s gelding won’t be distance suited. He drew clear easily when he won a Grade 3 against his own age over 1800m last May and the Kahal gelding looks to be a much better horse now than he was then. He is drawn wide at 16, which never helps, but deep draws are not the nightmare on the Kenilworth summer course that they can be at many other venues and jockey MJ Byleveld has more than 600m of back stretch to work with before reaching the turn. A big run from Tales Of Bravery is entirely possible.

RUN FOR IT

After much debate about which of several high class three-year-olds would contest the Met, only Run For It has taken the plunge. Justin Snaith’s colt receives between 8 and 5 kgs from his rivals and looks virtually certain to relish going this far for the first time. The Dynasty colt appeared to be a most unfortunate loser when he found plenty of trouble in a packed field before finishing strongly to be beaten a long head into third behind Lion In Winter in the Peninsula Handicap Grade 2 over 1800m earlier this month. It is still easy to pick holes in the form of that race as they all finished on top of each other and the winner came from stone last on the turn to gun them all down, but Run For It looks progressive and can at least reach the frame again. We probably haven’t seen the best of him yet, and he does have the young-at-heart Felix Coetzee in the irons.

POCKET POWER

Then there is Pocket Power, who may very well be making his final racecourse appearance at the end of a career which saw him win this race on an unprecedented three occasions between 2007 and 2009. He would be a massively popular winner, but how realistic is it really? He finished a more than respectable third when bidding for Met win number four twelve months ago, but it is asking plenty of the champ to succeed as an eight-year-old where he failed at seven. He was staying on all right when 4.25 lengths fourth behind Mother Russia in the Queen’s Plate, but it may be clutching at straws to say that the mile is now too sharp for him when he had already won the Queen’s Plate four times previously. It would be unwise to ignore Pocket Power’s chances, especially on the racecourse over which he has ruled for so long, but he has not been able to win a Grade 1 for more than a year and a place may be the most one’s head (if not one’s heart) can anticipate on Saturday.

PAST MASTER

Past Master is one of the most talked-about horses in Cape Town and he did encounter some trouble in running when he stayed on to finish 5.75 lengths sixth behind Mother Russia in the Queen’s Plate. He was the impressive winner of a Grade 2 event over 1200m in December, and he is clearly versatile as he can also boast a win in last season’s Selangor Cup Grade 2 over 1600m. Still, it would take a horse of rare talent and flexibility to win the 1200m Diadem and the 2000m Met in the same season. Past Master (who’s out of a mare who posted four wins, all over 1200m) has never gone further than a mile and there really can be no guarantee that he will see it out. He is another with a poor draw, but he remains something of an unknown quantity here. Others, though, do appeal as being more probable winners.

BRAVURA

Bravura was laid for ten months because of injury after recording what was at the time his fifth win from as many starts in the Cape Derby Grade 1 over this course-and-distance a year ago. That represented a somewhat meteoric rise to fame by the son of Silvano, who’s only made his racecourse debut eleven weeks earlier. Joey Ramsden’s gelding has had two starts since his return and fared better in the more recent of them when staying on to finish less than one length third behind Cask in the Premier Trophy Grade 2 over 1800m in December. That still doesn’t look like Met-winning form, though, and Bravura will need to have come on considerably more since if he is to have the slightest chance of conceding 2 kgs to Mother Russia. Even the form of his Derby win probably wouldn’t be strong enough to allow him to do that and Bravura does appear to have a mountain to climb here.

CASK

Cask quickened well from near the tail of the field to win the Premier Trophy by half-a-length from Super Storm at level weights, but that form was put into some context when Super Storm later finished seven lengths behind Mother Russia in the Queen’s Plate. Cask himself subsequently finished only tenth behind Lion In Winter in the Peninsula Handicap, and although beaten just 2.25 lengths in a blanket finish there was precious little to suggest that he is a likely threat at this level.

LION IN WINTER

Lion In Winter was only supplemented for the Met at considerable expense after his Peninsula success, where he went further than 1600m for the first time and obviously relished it. He ran on well to win that 1800m event, but the form looks some way short of what will be required here, especially as he faces the luckless Run For It on 2 kgs worse terms for a difference of less than a neck.

FORT VOGUE

Fort Vogue has not won a race since he captured last season’s Peninsula Handicap, although he did finish a sterling fourth in the Met of twelve months ago. He is 1 kg better off with Lion In Winter for a recent 1.65 lengths beating and he is weighted to reverse the 1.75 lengths beating he received from Cask when finishing fifth in the Premier Trophy, but that doesn’t look good enough and veteran jockey Karl Neisius will probably have to wait yet another year for the J&B Met success which has eluded him throughout his illustrious career.

RUDRA

Rudra was impressive when drawing clear to win a pinnacle plate by five lengths over 1450m on the Turffontein inner course a fortnight ago, but this is a completely different test for the former Summer Cup winner. He could not have won more easily, granted, but the runner-up was a 66/1 outsider who’d done next to nothing for ages, the going was much softer than it will be here, and Rudra faces stable companion Mother Russia on 1.5 kgs worse terms than when he finished 4.75 lengths behind her in the latest Summer Cup.

FLIRTATION

There really seems to be almost no way that Rudra can be expected to win the Met under 60 kgs and stable companion Flirtation may fare better than him even though the weights don’t give her too much hope of confirming Turffontein form with Mother Russia. Flirtation’s Summer Cup win was full of merit, for she was drawn wide and finished very strongly from a long way back to run Mother Russia out of it in the final stages. She was running on well also when beaten less than one length by the seemingly much-improved Emerald Cove on her Cape Town debut in the Paddock Stakes Grade 1 over 1800m recently - but it still takes a big stretch of the imagination to believe that Mother Russia won’t easily get the better of Flirtation on 4.5 kgs better terms than in the Summer Cup.

PADDY O’REILLY

The “lunatic” horse of the race may be Paddy O’Reilly, who faces Bravura on 2 kgs better terms for a beating of 3.10 lengths in last year’s Cape Derby. That doesn’t exactly make Glen Kotzen’s gelding jump off the page as a likely winner, and if anything it casts some doubt on the strength of the 2010 Derby form, but Paddy was running on really well when beaten a head by Lion In Winter in the Peninsula last time out. That represented improvement on his unplaced effort behind Cask in the Premier Trophy and Paddy O’Reilly could just sneak into a minor place at big odds.

LAST REGAL

Last Regal is seldom far behind, but unplaced runs in both the Premier Trophy and Peninsula Handicap don’t amount to great recommendations and things have changed somewhat since Last Regal beat Tales Of Bravery into third place when winning the Winter Guineas Grade 3 last May.

RUSHING WIND

Rushing Wind ran on strongly when 4.5 lengths fifth in the Queen’s Plate and has Piere Strydom up from the best draw. Mike Bass’ gelding seems to be effective over a very wide range of distances, but this will be his first tilt at 2000m and he will need to improve again to have any chance of winning.

IN WRITING (ARG)

In Writing was running on to be beaten just less than a length into fourth in the Peninsula Handicap, having earlier finished stoutly from well off the pace to be 1.25 lengths fourth in the Premier Trophy. He comes here in probably the best form of his life, but he is the lowest merit rated horse in the field and it would still come as more than a mild surprise if he proved to be seriously competitive.

SUPER STORM

Super Storm probably prefers this distance to the 1600m of the Queen’s Plate, but as already alluded to the fact that he would appear to be well held and he has the widest draw of all on top of it.

CELTIC FIRE

PE hopeful Celtic Fire seems much more effective up to 1600m and even then he could only weaken to finish about 7.5 lengths adrift in the Queen’s Plate. He is priced up at around 150/1 for a good reason.

IN CONCLUSION…

Now that we have been through every horse in the field we need to address the sixty-four thousand dollar question - where is the pace going to come from? Answers, please, on the back of a postcard before Saturday afternoon. There is nothing here with any kind of history of consistent frontrunning, and the accent may be less on stamina than on the ability to race prominently and quicken.

Here, too, Mother Russia looks well favoured. She has raced in that fashion to very good effect on numerous occasions, and it isn’t hard to see everything falling into place for her on Saturday. Mother Russia ticks practically all of the right boxes, then, and is selected to win from Tales Of Bravery (who probably would also be suited to a slow-run race, although it could make his poor draw more problematic to overcome), and Run For It (who might want a hotter pace, but who has a very wily rider on board). For fourth we’ll go with the horse that we would really love to see bring the house down by winning it. You don’t really need to be reminded of who that is by name, do you?

Extract from Sporting Post

j&b met 2011
j&b met 2011

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J&B MET 2011 : FINAL FIELD

Past Master Horse
Past Master Horse

Past Master - WPOTA Diadem Stakes (Grade 2)

(Photo : Gold Circle)

R2,500,000 J&B MET (Grade 1)

Kenilworth, Turf, 2000m

29 January 2011 

Andrew Harrison writes that win or lose, champion Pocket Power is likely to be given a rousing reception when he graces Kenilworth race track for possibly the last time when he runs in the R2,5 million J&B Met on Saturday, 29 January 2011.

The three-time winner of the Western Cape’s most prestigious race heads up a field of 17 that includes recent L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate winner Mother Russia, runner-up Tales Of Bravery, Sansui Summer Cup winner Flirtation and the exciting three-year-old Run For It.

Pocket Power shares joint top weight with the Mike de Kock-trained Rudra in this conditions event and forms part of a quartet of runners from the Mike Bass yard. Others include Fort Vogue, Rushing Wind and Super Storm.

Mike de Kock holds a formidable hand and will saddle three runners including Mother Russia, Rudra and Flirtation.

De Kock is the only trainer to have won the J&B Met with a three-year-old in recent history, firstly with Horse Chestnut in 1999 and to prove a point, Badger’s Coast followed up for the stable the very next year. This time round the lot falls to Justin Snaith who sends out Run For It.

Second to smart stable companion Solo Traveller in the Bloodstock SA Cape Guineas, Run For It was very unlucky in the Peninsula Handicap won by another J&B Met candidate, Lion In Winter, after running into serious traffic in the straight. With bottom weight of 52kg and from a very in form stable, Run For It will have many supporters.

The Darryl Hodgson-trained Past Master ran a poor race in the L’Omarins Queen’s Plate behind Mother Russia but his connections are bullish about his J&B Met chances and Hodgson has had three weeks to remedy any problems.

Extract from Gold Circle

R2,500,000 J&B MET (Grade 1)

FINAL FIELD

#

Horse

Kg

MR

Dr

Jockey

Trainer

1

POCKET POWER

60.0

114

3

B Fayd’Herbe

Mike Bass

2

RUDRA

60.0

109

2

J Geroudis

Mike de Kock

3

BRAVURA

59.5

110

13

G Hatt

Joey Ramsden

4

FORT VOGUE

58.0

104

7

K Neisius

Mike Bass

5

RUSHING WIND

58.0

108

1

P Strydom

Mike Bass

6

IN WRITING (ARG)

58.0

97

6

M Winnaar

Dean Kannemeyer

7

PAST MASTER

57.5

114

15

G Schlechter

Darryl Hodgson

8

MOTHER RUSSIA

57.5

111

8

A Marcus

Mike de Kock

9

TALES OF BRAVERY

57.5

111

16

M Mienie

Vaughan Marshall

10

CELTIC FIRE

57.5

107

14

K Teetan

Yvette Bremner

11

LION IN WINTER

57.5

105

9

A Fortune

Joey Ramsden

12

LAST REGAL

57.5

104

12

M Yeni

Dean Kannemeyer

13

CASK

57.5

100

11

R Fourie

Stephen Page

14

PADDY O’REILLY

57.5

100

4

R Danielson

Glen Kotzen

15

SUPER STORM

57.5

99

17

A Domeyer

Mike Bass

16

FLIRTATION

57.0

104

5

A Delpech

Mike de Kock

17

RUN FOR IT

52.0

108

10

F Coetzee

Justin Snaith

j&b met 2011
j&b met 2011

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FRANKEL : AWAITING THE BLOCKBUSTER

henry cecil and frankel
henry cecil and frankel

Henry Cecil and Frankel

(Photos : Guardian / Racing Diary)

DEWHURST STAKES (Gr1)

In the era of the ground-breaking Zenyatta, Sea the Stars and Goldikova, movie scripts to follow Seabiscuit and Secretariat are easy pickings at present.

There was the glimpse of another potentially notable racing story in the process of unveiling itself in the ethereal majesty of England’s Newmarket gallops last Friday morning. It revolves around a colt named after one of America’s great trainers who is looked after by one of Britain’s finest in Henry Cecil. Whether Khalid Abdullah’sFrankel (GB) (Galileo) will prove box-office hit or false dawn is the question of the moment, and the clock is ticking down to his first major test Saturday in the Dewhurst Stakes (Gr1) at Newmarket. That is when he will have to confirm the abundant promise of his three starts so far, with the first taken in a virtual canter and the next two - including Ascot’s Royal Lodge Stakes (Gr2) - won by an aggregate of 23 lengths.

Cecil is in his veteran stage now, although that is a tag that does not sit well with a character whose natural bonhomie, energy and humor have been his trademark down the years. Still in full working order is his yearning for the big stage, if not for him then for his horses. Standing out against the mirk on Warren Hill in black attire, the publicity-shy, but style-conscious maestro of the stables that adorn the top of these famous slopes was not playing to the cameras.

You never get used to the publicity,” Cecil said in the frank and self-effacing manner which may be what keeps the public, and particularly Newmarket’s racegoing faithful, firmly on his side.

Every time Warren Place outperforms the opposition in the great races, the reception reserved for him remains undiminished, and will be in evidence again if his new star in the ascendant can keep the dream alive on Saturday. Such generosity of public affection, which he has always commanded, seems to have intensified of late in recognition of the downturns of his life story.

With serious illness an unwelcome caller at Cecil’s door in recent times, his connection with Juddmonte’s eponymous tribute to the much-missed Bobby Frankel seems appropriate. At 67, Cecil certainly seems to be reinvigorated by the presence of his latest flame, who swings along confidently near the front of the string on the way to his effortless canter.

While the Dewhurst will perform its usual task of unlocking the secrets of the following year’s G1 2000 Guineas, there is already the spectre of Epsom’s blue riband hanging over all talk concerning Frankel.

It took a talent of the magnitude of Sea the Stars to end the 20 year wait for a colt to complete the famed Guineas-Derby double last year, but Cecil is keeping both feet on the ground on this matter.

DUBAI DEWHURST STAKES (GROUP 1)

NEWMARKET 7F 16 OCTOBER 2010

RACE CARD

#

Horse

Draw

OR

Jockey

Trainer

1

DREAM AHEAD

2

128

W Buick

David Simcock

2

FRANKEL

4

123

T Queally

Henry Cecil

3

GLOR NA MARA

5

-

K Manning

Jim Bolger

4

RODERIC O’CONNOR

6

-

J Murtagh

Aidan O’Brien

5

SAAMIDD

3

115

F Dettori

Saeed bin Suroor

6

WAITER’S DREAM

1

109

K Fallon

Brian Meehan

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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DEDICATED TRIALS WITH STAKES FOR READY TO RUN CUP

checcetti racehorse a 2009 emperors palace ready to run graduate
checcetti racehorse a 2009 emperors palace ready to run graduate

Checcetti - 2009 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Graduate

(Photo : JC Photographics)

EMPERORS PALACE READY TO RUN CUP

6 November 2010 

charl pretorius
charl pretorius

Charl Pretorius

www.racingweb.co.zaJust a fortnight ago, the news broke of an intended increase in the stake for the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup to R2 million. Of course, that innovation becomes a reality for graduates of this year’s sale, while last year’s will be running for the advertised R1,5 million on Saturday 6thNovember.

The Ready To Run’s reputation among sales countrywide has not only been hard-earned, it has been sustained over many years. In a relatively short space, its associated race has grown from a half a million Rand event to R2 million, and now we have the news the stakeholders have introduced special trials in the lead up to this year’s event. History tell us that a strong preponderance of potential candidates only start their racing careers at this time of year, and with the heavy over-subscription of maiden events in all our big centres, there’s no guarantee of a run for a horse trying to make the cut.

As a result, both Phumelela and Gold Circle have allowed for dedicated trials with added stakes in each of the three major centres, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, where graduates of the sale are guaranteed a run without the risk of elimination. While this doesn’t preclude non-candidates from participating, those who are subscribed for the race with an opportunity to qualify, will get a run.

The details of the races are as follows :

Gauteng

Thursday 7 October 2010

R100,000

Vaal Turf Outside Track

1200m

Tuesday 19 October 2010

R100,000

Turffontein Standside Night Meeting

1400m

KwaZulu Natal

Sunday 3 October 2010

R80,000

Clairwood Racecourse

1450m

Sunday 17 October 2010

R80,000

Clairwood Racecourse

1200m

Western Cape

Wednesday 6 October 2010

R78,000

Durbanville Racecourse

1400m

Speaking from Summerhill, manager in charge of the Ready To Run string, Tarryn Liebenberg commented “It’s one thing incentivising investors with a big prize, it’s another affording them the opportunity to qualify. While the odds of competing for such a prize from just 150 candidates makes this the best sales race in the world, clearing the way for the best horses is just as important. This new innovation makes this possible, and provides our customers with the assurance that we’re batting for them all the way to the finish line”.

One horse who certainly put her hand up for a place in the line-up was Saturday’s 7,5 length winner, Checcetti, who couldn’t have been more impressive in beating a couple of competitive runners the first time Mike de Kock fitted the blinkers. Fillies already have a more than impressive record in the race, with a victory from the subsequent Group winner, Smangaliso, and a runner-up effort in last year’s event from the Gauteng Guineas heroine, Fisani.

For more information, please visit :

www.summerhill.co.za

and

www.tba.co.za 

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DURBAN JULY ALMOST A TRUE HANDICAP

irish flame
irish flame

Irish Flame

(Photo : Gold Circle) 

DURBAN JULY 2010

“NOT AN EASY PUZZLE TO UNRAVEL”

There has been a lot of talk about the class of this season’s three-year-old crop of colts with many expressing the opinion that they are the best we have seen in a long time.

Jack Milner writes that the three-year-olds have certainly done little wrong with many of the Graded races, especially the handicaps, going the way of the younger set.

Saturday’s Vodacom Durban July over 2200m at Greyville will finally reveal the answer as no fewer than eight three-year-olds will line up for this R3 million race. This year the race is almost a true handicap and as such is not an easy puzzle to unravel.

However, the good news for Pick 6 punters, who will be hoping to win a share in the carryover of R423,993 and an estimated pool of R5 million, is that Mike de Kock saddles seven runners and Mike Bass four. So for just two horses, one will get 11 of the 20 runners, most of whom are high up in the betting.

When Eyeofthetiger won this race in 2006, he carried 54kg - the heaviest weight carried to victory by any three-year-old. This year all of Irish Flame, Bold Silvano, Orbison, Ancestral Fore and Happy Valley will have between 54kg and 56kg on their backs and with the top weight still set at 60kg, some pundits believe it will be beyond them.

I disagree and believe the three-year-olds will dominate this race - and no horse has performed better during this KwaZulu-Natal season than Irish Flame.

He joined Mike de Kock’s yard after the Cape season. After running third to Pierre Jourdan in the SA Classic (Gr1) and finishing unplaced to Regal Ransom in a Pinnacle Stakes over 1600m, he went on to win the SA Derby (Gr1) in heavy going at Turffontein, the Daily News 2000 (Gr1) at Greyville and the Gold Circle Derby (Gr2) at Clairwood.

In reality he has only raced in three-year-old company and has not really been exposed to older horses. That is of little concern to De Kock. “Horses like Bold Silvano and Happy Valley have raced in open company which brings the collateral form into play. Both have beaten the older horses and Irish Flame has beaten both of them.”

The son of 2003 champion Dynasty won the SA Derby by 9.50 lengths but took the Daily News 2000 by a neck from Bold Silvano, who is now 0.5kg better off.

“I thought the Daily News win was far more impressive than the Derby win,” said De Kock. “I thought 2000m at Greyville would be too sharp but he jumped out, was up with the pace and quickened away at the top of the straight. Bold Silvano ran at him at 100 miles per hour and in fact never looked able to pass him.”

“He doesn’t show you at home what he brings to the track and this is an extra 200m will be right up his alley.”

The Daily News run does bring Bold Silvano very close to Irish Flame, but he must be slightly suspect over the 2200m. “Bold Silvano is very comfortable up to 10 furlongs (2000m). He’s a classic World Cup horse and that is why I’m taking him to Dubai,” said De Kock.

He also pointed out that jockey Anthony Delpech will not get too far behind this time. “We’ve been riding him from behind because that’s the way he won the Betting World 1900 at Greyville. We’re not going to give his No 2 draw away and he’s going to be closer to the front. He’s got to be ridden confidently.”

The pace has also been discussed and many experts predict that De Kock will be looking for a fast pace. However, that does not appear to be the case. “A fast pace will suit Irish Flame and Ancestral Fore. A slow pace will suit Bold Silvano. The race must unfold the way it does,” said De Kock.

Mike Bass wants a quick pace for his runners. They include 2008 winner Pocket Power, who dead-heated with Dancer’s Daughter. Pocket Power is stuck at draw No 17 and a fast-run race will help jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe overcome that hurdle.

“If he was drawn well I would be very confident, he would have a big shout. But if he turns for home four of five lengths back, I will still quite confident,” said Bass.

“Pocket Power can quicken with anybody. It just depends on the pace. If there’s a good pace I have no concern about him quickening. Last year it was slow, he didn’t get out that well and he was stuck at the back of the field. Hopefully this year the pace will be decent.”

Although he will be turning eight the day after the Durban July, Pocket Power is a champion and it would be foolhardy to write him off. “It’s just a matter of his state of fitness as the season goes on,” explained Bass. “I don’t hammer him at the beginning of the season and he builds himself up. This year I thought his third run would be his best run but hopefully it will be his fourth.”

Bass has two another weapons in his arsenal in the form of J&B Met winner River Jetez and fourth-placed Fort Vogue while De Kock also saddles Gold Cup winner Ancestral Fore, the much-improved Happy Valley and Lizarre, all of whom have claims to wear the winner’s sash. 

But it could be Herman Brown’s three-year-old Orbison who fills the minor placing. He won the Champions Cup (Gr1) over 1800m at Clairwood, beating many of the rivals he meets in this race. If taken in isolation that run would make him very hard to beat, but the conditions suited Orbison on that occasion and his task may not be so easy this time.

However, the Mogok gelding has a magnificent turn of foot and can run with them or come from off them, all of which will make life easier for jockey Raymond Danielson to overcome No 16 draw.

Extract from Racing Express

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VODACOM DURBAN JULY 2010 : FINAL FIELD

vodacom durban july logo
vodacom durban july logo

R3MILLION VODACOM DURBAN JULY (GR1)

Greyville, 2200m, 31 July 2010

FINAL FIELD

#

Horse

Kg

MR

Dr

Jockey

Trainer

1

POCKET POWER

60.0

117

17

B Fayd’Herbe

Mike Bass

2

RUDRA

59.5

116

19

J Geroudis

Mike de Kock

3

FABIANI

56.5

110

4

M Byleveld

Glen Kotzen

4

IRISH FLAME

56.0

113

6

K Shea

Mike de Kock

5

FORT VOGUE

56.0

109

11

A Marcus

Mike Bass

6

BOLD SILVANO

55.5

112

2

A Delpech

Mike de Kock

7

ORBISON

55.5

112

16

R Danielson

Herman Brown

8

RED RAKE

55.5

108

7

I Sturgeon

Mike de Kock

9

ANCESTRAL FORE

55.0

111

13

K Neisius

Mike de Kock

10

RIVER JETEZ

55.0

107

9

J Lloyd

Mike Bass

11

ASLAN

54.5

106

10

F Coetzee

Sean Tarry

12

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

54.5

106

5

G Lerena

Mike Bass

13

HAPPY VALLEY

54.0

109

14

M Yeni

Mike de Kock

14

CAPTAIN SCOTT

54.0

105

15

S Randolph

Alec Laird

15

LIZARRE

53.5

108

20

P Strydom

Mike de Kock

16

RUSSIAN SAGE

53.5

104

12

R Fourie

Justin Snaith

17

FLYING TRISTRAM

53.0

110

18

G Hatt

Charles Laird

18

SERVICE ACE

53.0

104

1

G Cheyne

Mike Azzie

19

VERTICAL TAKEOFF

53.0

101

8

B Lerena

Sean Tarry

20

GOAT

52.0

101

3

K Teetan

Paul Lafferty

www.vodacomdurbanjuly.co.za

Comment

THE J&B MET : FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

j b met 2010
j b met 2010

THE J&B MET

KENILWORTH RACECOURSE

30 JANUARY 2010

Cape Town is rife with talk that Pocket Power’s shot at a fourth consecutive J&B Met will witness his come-uppance. Mike Bass, genius horseman that he is, won’t hear of it. He says the 7-year-old has never been better, and expects him to whistle past the R10 million earnings mark.

We purposely postponed this posting so we could get the very latest thoughts from the innermost minds of the best of the opposition. Looking at the betting, there’s no better man to talk to than Champion trainer, Charles Laird, who’s been second to Pocket Power in two of his three victories to date. Laird’s view is typically simple.

In Dan De Lago and Oracy, he has a brace of horses he rates better than both his previous runners-up, if Pocket Power’s colours are to be lowered, he believes it is most likely to come from his charges.

Stan Elley’s Kapil, a contemporary of the favourite, has never been better, though 2000 metres at the weights could find him out, despite a 2kg “pull” in his L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate second. Pace will, as always, play a big role, so if “dark” horse, Red Rake (also quietly fancied at 12-1), doesn’t cut it, Bass will have the contingency of Blue Tiger to provide it. For sure, the “Pocket” will need a pace to be at his best.

And then, of course, you can never discount a “July” hero in a race like this. Big City Life hasn’t quite shown his sophomore form of late, but he’s now supposedly back at his peak, and if his wide draw costs him, Glen Kotzen will still have Fabiani in reserve.

The last J&B Met winner from the rank outside draw, as far as we can remember, was Summerhill-raised, Angus, but without a contender in 2010, we’ve left the event to the gods!

FINAL FIELD

#

Horse

Kg

MR

Dr

Jockey

Trainer

1

POCKET POWER

58.0

119

2

B Fayd’Herbe

Mike Bass

2

SMART BANKER

58.8

110

16

F Coetzee

Charles Laird

3

STRATEGIC NEWS

58.0

107

11

P Cosgrave

Dylan Cunha

4

BIG CITY LIFE

57.5

111

14

*K Teetan

Glen Kotzen

5

FOREST PATH

57.5

107

13

G Schlechter

Stephen Page

6

KAPIL

56.0

115

3

M Byleveld

Stan Elley

7

SURFIN’ USA

56.0

111

12

W Kennedy

Jacques Strydom

8

BLUE TIGER

56.0

108

10

S Randolph

Mike Bass

9

RED RAKE

56.0

105

1

S Cormack

Basil Marcus

10

THUNDERING JET

56.0

101

15

M Yeni

Paul Lafferty

11

DIAMOND QUEST

56.0

98

7

K Jupp

Mike Bass

12

LION’S BLOOD

56.0

98

6

R Danielson

Herman Brown

13

ORACY (NZ)

55.5

110

17

P Strydom

Charles Laird

14

DAN DE LAGO (AUS)

55.5

108

8

A Marcus

Charles Laird

15

FABIANI

55.5

108

5

R Fourie

Glen Kotzen

16

FORT VOGUE

55.5

101

4

K Neisius

Mike Bass

17

MOTHER RUSSIA

55.0

106

18

A Delpech

Mike de Kock

18

RIVER JETEZ

53.5

104

9

G Hatt

Mike Bass

BETTING

#

Horse

Current

Opening

1

POCKET POWER

16/10

18/10

14

DAN DE LAGO

4/1

4/1

13

ORACY

7/1

11/2

4

BIG CITY LIFE

12/1

7/1

6

KAPIL

12/1

16/1

9

RED RAKE

12/1

16/1

18

RIVER JETEZ

12/1

16/1

15

FABIANI

16/1

20/1

17

MOTHER RUSSIA

20/1

12/1

2

SMART BANKER

33/1

33/1

16

FORT VOGUE

50/1

33/1

5

FOREST PATH

66/1

50/1

3

STRATEGIC NEWS

66/1

50/1

7

SURFIN’ USA

66/1

50/1

8

BLUE TIGER

100/1

100/1

11

DIAMOND QUEST

125/1

50/1

10

THUNDERING JET

125/1

100/1

12

LION’S BLOOD

150/1

66/1

BETTING COURTESY OF BETTING WORLD AS AT 5AM 30 JANUARY 2010

DESERT LINKS to make Singapore debut

desert links horse
desert links horse

Desert Links : Canon Gold Cup 2008

(Photo : John Lewis)

Group 3 $200,000 Jumbo Jet Trophy

The 3200m Canon Gold Cup (Gr1) kicks off the new South African racing season on Saturday and it’s fitting that champion of the 2008 renewal, Desert Links, should embark on his Singapore campaign exactly a year from that historic day.

On Sunday 2 August, the son of Kahalwill line up in the weight-for-age Group 3 $200,000 Jumbo Jet Trophy over 1400m, for trainer David Hill and jockey Mark Gallagher aboard.

Thoroughbred News Singapore reports that David Hill is filling in as caretaker-trainer of Desert Links until Basil Marcus takes up his Singapore training post next year.

David Hill and Basil Marcus have a long history together having teamed up in Hong Kong during the 1990’s, when Hill was in the training ranks and Marcus a leading jockey.

Desert Links arrived from Dubai with trainer Herman Brown in May, when Jay Peg was in town to defend his Singapore Airlines International Cup crown. He was left behind for Basil Marcus to take over as trainer upon his arrival in Singapore.

The gelding has been in David Hill’s yard just shy of two months and to date hasn’t been asked to do anything too strenuous, although he did catch the eye with a good second in a 1000m trial on July 21.

“He’s been in my stables from around the middle of June,” said Hill. “He hasn’t been asked to do anything too strenuous to date. He’s just been out to do some long slow canters and he’s had one trial to sharpen him up a bit. He was finishing the trial off quite nicely and I’m hoping he will be doing the same in his race on Sunday.”

“I am a little concerned whether he is fit enough to run, but I thought the seven furlongs (1400m) would be a good race to start him off in. I just hope he doesn’t blow out in the straight. If he does then I’ll have to give him quite a bit more work.”

David Hill said he was quite taken with Desert Links who is a seven time winner in South Africa including two wins at “black type” level.

“He looks like a racehorse and importantly performs like one,” said Hill. “The hardest part is trying to get a guide on his form, but he certainly looks the part anyway.”

Following Sunday’s race, David Hill said he would look at stepping Desert Links up in distance in an effort to get him to his ultimate goal, the Group 1 Singapore Gold Cup over 2200m in November. He explained that Desert Links would target the new “Classic” races aimed at getting more stayers into Singapore.

“There will be some nice races for him in the lead-up to the Gold Cup,” said Hill. “Those new staying races that the club will be putting on will be ideal for him. I hope that he can pick up some prizemoney along the way before I hand him over to Basil, so in the meantime I’ll just keep him ticking over through to the Gold Cup.”

Desert Links is a five-year-old by Kahal from the Home Guard mare Selborne Park. He arrived in Singapore with a rating of 97 and has raced on 22 occasions in South Africa and Dubai, registering seven wins and a further three second placings over distances of 1600m up to 3200m.

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The Rags to Riches story of IMBONGI

ready to run

Emperors Palace Ready to Run graduate, unwanted in the sales ring, turned adversity to advantage when he won the first of two Guineas in May last year. His rags to riches story saw him beat the pants off multiple Group One winner, Russian Sage, in the KZN version of the Guineas. He then took matters to another level, when he beat Horse of the Year, Pocket Power, and three other Group One winners with consummate ease, in the Drill Hall Stakes.

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IMBONGI : Arlington Million charge for The Warrior

mike de kock and imbongi
mike de kock and imbongi

Mike de Kock and the warrior Imbongi

(Photo : John Lewis/DRC)

“Mike de Kock considering Arlington Million for Imbongi”

Following Imbongi’s fighting third in Saturday’s totesport.com Summer Mile Stakes at Ascot, Mike de Kock is now considering an Arlington Million charge for the African Warrior.

Imbongi had made a successful British debut in the John Bovington Memorial Criterion Stakes (Gr3) at Newmarket over seven furlongs just two weeks ago, and followed that performance with Saturday’s Ascot Group Two third, being beaten only a length by Aqlaam who is rated 117 and is rumored to be heading for the Breeders’ Cup.

“That was a world-class run,” said trainer Mike de Kock. “We’re considering the Arlington Million next for Imbongi.”

THE SUMMER MILE STAKES AT ASCOT

imbongi summer mile challenger
imbongi summer mile challenger

Imbongi

(Photo : Summerhill/HKJC)

IMBONGI’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE

The Summer Mile Stakes has always been a good race, as it provides an opportunity for the best milers in Europe to maintain their sharpness while they’re waiting for the next big Group One challenge later in the season. We doubt though, that the race has ever attracted the quality of contenders that line-up on Saturday at 2:50 pm (that’s English time, of course, which means 3:50pm here).

The first three past the post in Royal Ascot’s Queen Anne Stakes (Gr.1), Paco Boy, Cesare and Aqlaam, line up again here, and so Imbongi will really have his work cut out if he’s to feature in the money. According to Racing Post, he’s in with something of a squeak, as the fourth highest rated horse in the field. Paco Boy and Cesare each have a Racing Post rating of 135, Aqlaam 134, and Imbongi 133, which means there’s not much in it, if ratings matter. Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t others in the field, but it certainly seems, on current form, these are the chief protagonists.

What the race will certainly do, is tell us where Imbongi sits in the pantheon of the worlds best milers, because this just about represents the best form in the world this year. From all accounts, he’s well and ready to run, so for South Africa’s sake, let’s keep everything crossed.

SUMMERHILL PROSPECTS FOR THE VODACOM JULY

catmandu and outcome for vodacom july
catmandu and outcome for vodacom july

Catmandu and Outcome

(Photo : Gold Circle/Summerhill)

“Thandolwami, Catmandu and Outcome -The Summerhill Soldiers”

Earlier this week, you read our piece on Thandolwami, and Craig Eudey’s remarks on his chances. One thing you’ve got to give Craig, he’s true to the saying “you cant get a good man down” and we know from our own discussions with him, he’s as bullish as anyone could be, taking on a horse of Pocket Power’s potency.

We have two other horses in the field however, and Outcome’strainer, MichaelMiller, is on record as saying that wherever River Jetez finshes, Outcome will be all over her. We had River Jetez’ trainer, Mike Bass and his wife Carol here over the weekend, and Mike thinks she has a live chance of lifting the silver. So if Mike Miller’s right, and Mike Bass is right, this could just turn out the Year of the Filly.

Our other representative, Catmandu, comes to Durban under the tutelage of AndreKirsten. He has to be one of the unluckiest horses in training, as he has a number of Group One performances under his belt, yet he remains a maiden as far as Feature race victories are concerned. Last year, we fancied him to kill in the July, expecting him to run right on the money, but he looked a somewhat tired horse in the finish, after a long and arduous campaign.

His form this year has been a little more in-and-out, yet if he gets his lines right, he’s a runner, no doubt about it. We spoke to Andre Kirsten this morning and he reported that Catmandu arrived in good shape in Durban yesterday, and with the weight difference this year, he must have a shout.

So who will win the Vodacom Durban July

vodacom durban july logo
vodacom durban july logo

“David Thiselton lays down his Vodacom Durban July selections”

With July Fever building to what promises to be a massive crescendo come Vodacom Durban July Raceday tomorrow; trainers, jockey and owners alike will be feeling the “butterflies”.

Top turf writer David Thiselton reports that Mike Bass, the experienced three-time July winning trainer of the great Pocket Power, who is ruling favourite, would probably have slept well, knowing he has done all he can, while the Fayd’Herbe brothers, jockey Bernard and assistant trainer Robert, will be united in spirit as they approach the final hurdle of the mighty horse’s winter campaign.

The Bass yard has two strings to its bow this July as Pocket Power’s full-sister, River Jetez, is said by the trainer to be twice the horse she was last year.

Pocket Power has had a better preparation than ever for this year’s big race and seems to be as good as ever despite his age. He and his sister could well fight out the finish, although River Jetez’s draw of 15 is a concern for supporters.

Big City Life has been described by his trainer Glen Kotzen as a “freak”, who gets better and better all the time.

Big City Life is a three-year-old and is 1,5kg under sufferance, but the form of his only meeting with Pocket Power suggests he has a great chance.

Kapil can beat Pocket Power too if the form of their last meeting is taken literally, although there is a question mark over whether he will stay the 2 200m. It should also be borne in mind that Pocket Power usually does just enough to win no matter the weight he’s carrying.

Our Giant also has a stamina doubt, but with that doubt in mind could not have asked for a better draw than two.

Tropical Empire is trained by Duncan Howells, whose knowledge of big race preparations was influenced by the great trainer, David Payne.

Duncan Howells has won two Grade 1 races with similarly priced horses and Tropical Empire’s draw of one is ideal for his style of running, which is to come with a flying finish.

Thandolwami is a similar type of horse to Tropical Empire and has also drawn well, so he should be running on strongly at the finish.

However, with both Tropical Empire and Thandolwami, it should be borne in mind that only the top six numbered horses are in the handicap i.e. fairly weighted according to their merit rating. The rest are under sufferance.

Smart Banker showed at the July gallops that he will be suited to Greyville. He has improved tremendously this season and is a definite contender, although Charles Laird’s stable jockey, Anton Marcus, switched to Our Giant after Smart Banker was allocated a wide draw.

Ruling champion trainer Mike De Kock has three youngsters in the race.

Zirconeum and Forest Path have stamina doubts and their very wide draws won’t help. Bouquet-Garni will need a strong pace as he is a big, galloping type and might not have the turn of foot required off a slower pace.

Outcome has won ten times at Greyville. Any rainfall will be bad news for her. She looks capable of staying the distance and her form makes her one of the best outsiders.

Likeithot has popped up at big prices in big races before and his July gallop last week suggested he should peak at the right time for this race.

Buy And Sell is loaded with ability but is not too reliable and his form appears to be declining slightly.

Catmandu is capable of producing a devastating finish so could be an outside contender if close enough at the top of the straight.

London Guest enjoys this track and does just enough when he wins, so there is some hope for him in his first attempt in this company.

Aluminium has been supported in the betting but as a resolute galloper does not look suited to Greyville.

The rest can’t be fancied on form.

The selection is Pocket Power to beat home Big City Life and River Jetez, with Kapil and Our Giant next best.

Tropical Empire - The Duncan Howells Strike

Duncan Howells and Tropical Empire
Duncan Howells and Tropical Empire

Duncan Howells and Tropical Empire

(Photos : Gold Circle)

“First Vodacom Durban July runner for Duncan Howells”

If the Duncan Howells-trained Tropical Empire strikes victory in Saturday’s Vodacom Durban July, he will become the first KZN-trained victor since the 1995 win by the Pat Shaw-trained Teal.

David Thiselton writes that Duncan Howells believes that he would know just half of what he knows about racehorses if it wasn’t for the influence of David Payne.

Duncan Howells, who has his first runner in the Vodacom Durban July on Saturday in the form of Tropical Empire, spent many years as David Payne’s assistant. “David was exceptional at preparing horses for big races,” said Howells. “One of the things he taught me was not to push the horse over the edge.”

Duncan Howells’ two Group 1 winners to date had similar betting odds when winning their respective big races as Tropical Empire’s current July price of 13-1.

In May’s Drill Hall Stakes over 1400m, Tropical Empire finished second beating Durban July second favourite River Jetez by a head. He will face her on 3kg better terms on Saturday.

In his last start he easily won the Betting World 1900 (Gr2).

“He’s fit and his blood picture is perfect. We have done everything we can.” said Duncan Howells yesterday.

Speaking about Tropical Empire’s pole position draw, Duncan Howells said “He’s a slight horse and from this draw won’t be knocked around.

“I’ve watched video replays of past Julys and the horses on the rail never turn for home more than five lengths back. There are no horses going backwards at that stage and he has a helluva turn of foot.”

He added that luck in running always played a part in the Vodacom July. Of the dangers Howells said, “I can’t have Kapil and I can’t have River Jetez from that draw. I think we’ve only got Pocket Power to beat.”

Duncan Howells says that Tropical Empire is not feisty, despite still being an entire, and is easy to work with. “He likes to lead the string out in the mornings and gets quite upset if he isn’t in front.”

With the wait after the hard work being a tense time for July connections, Duncan Howells says “I wish Saturday would arrive.”

Tropical Empire is an Australian-bred bay horse by Second Empire and is owned “Chips” Pennels and his wife Elma, together with Gary Westwater and Johan Meyer. Pennels’ only previous July runner was Tandaga, who finished eleventh in 1980.

THANDOLWAMI - The Horse with a Big Heart

thandolwami
thandolwami

Thandolwami

(Photo : Gold Circle)

“Craig Eudey, Thandolwami and the Vodacom Durban July”

When Thandolwami lines up at the start of the 2009 Vodacom Durban July on Saturday, a significant achievement will be recorded against the name of his trainer Craig Eudey, as the four-year-old chestnut is from Craig Eudey’s first crop of horses as a trainer.

David Thiselton writes that Craig Eudey, who is based at Summerveld and was assistant to Alistair Gordon for some 26 years, chose the Summerhill-bred Thandolwami at the National Yearling Sales.

“I especially liked the way he walked,” he recalled.

The Woodborough gelding was the first horse he ever bought from the country’s top auction.

He initially thought Thandolwami would be a precocious sort, but the horse gets better and better as he gets older.

“When he won over 1200m as a two-year-old it was probably, in retrospect, only because he had more ability than the rest,” said Craig Eudey.

Carrie Radford, who is the yard assistant, has played a big part in Thandolwami’s success, as he had been a very headstrong and fractious sort as a youngster.

Jeff Lloyd won on him as a two-year-old and reckoned that without the hard work Carrie had put in to quieten him down he would have ended up a loony,” said Eudey. “We wouldn’t have had a horse without her patience.”

Carrie Radford spent many hours working the horse around the turn. This has the affect of settling a horse as when some see a straight course ahead of them they tend to want to tear away.

Thandolwami’s owners, James Roberts, Louis Bernhardi, Neil Butcher, George Griesel, Max McConnell, Stuart McGregor and Craig Eudey himself, are all having their first July runner with the exception of Stuart McGregor. He owned Gleaming Sky, who ran ninth in the 1998 July.

All of the connections were at the July final field and draw ceremony last Thursday.

“It was nerve-wracking because with just five horses left we hadn’t come out of the hat and draws 19 and 20 still hadn’t been allocated,” said Eudey.

As it happened he was thrilled with Thandolwami’s draw of seven.

The horse is known for his strong finishing run so being able to relax from early on, as he should be able to do from that draw, is the best scenario for him.

This is the first time the six-time winner has cracked a good draw in a big race.

His best achievements to date have been a narrow second to Likeithot in the Grade 2 November Handicap over 1600m, and third behind Smart Banker and Aluminium in the Grade 1 Summer Cup, both races having taken place at Turffontein from draws 15 and 16 respectively.

Thandolwami’s worst trait at the races is that he takes a while to get going in the straight and his flying finishes have proven to have come just a touch too late in top company, although he did record the fastest 400m to finish time against the top miler Imbongi in last season’s KZN Guineas.

“When he does decide to accelerate there are not too many who can go with him. There will have been bigger upsets than Thandolwami winning the July.”

Thandolwami was looking in very good condition after a light canter at Summerveld on Sunday.

The new yard that Craig Eudey has recently moved to has indoor stables and they have thus not had to blanket him. There is no evidence of winter in his shiny coat.

At 15-3 hands, Thandolwami, has matured into a straight forward sort of a horse personality wise.

“Thandolwami has a good temperament and is kind in nature, not nasty at all,” said Carrie Radford. “He is playful and, like most better horses, is proud of himself. He can lead or follow, but if he sees a horse ahead of him on the training tracks he wants to catch it. He takes his big heart to the races and will always try his hardest to win.”

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TEAM POCKET POWER make the Pilgrimage

bike bass, carol bass and marsh shirtliff
bike bass, carol bass and marsh shirtliff

Mike Bass, Carol Bass and Marsh Shirtliff pictured awaiting their

famous Hartford salmon omelettes

(Photo : Leigh Willson)

Marsh Shirtliff is not a superstitious man, not as far as we know, yet he does know that there hasn’t been a July winner in the past twenty years whose connections have not made it to Summerhill for the July, or at the very least, for our Stallion Day on the Sunday afterwards. The trick is either to make it beforehand or to make sure you’ve accepted the invitation in advance for Stallion Day, otherwise you risk taking on history. So Marsh dragged Mike and Carol Bass to the farm on a spectacular Sunday morning, and they took up their lodgings in the Inkanyezi and Nhlanhla suites while the Bass stable was cleaning up in the big events in Cape Town.

Logic tell us Pocket Power is a shoe-in for the big race, but Mike Bass (and you’d better be listening, if you intend having an interest in the big event next Saturday) thinks River Jetez is twice the filly she was last season. Let’s not forget what a big race she ran in the 2008 Vodacom Durban July, and if she’s twice as good as that, Pocket Power himself will need to have made some improvement to keep her out. And that he undoubtedly has, having had a trouble free “prep” for the first time in his life.

Of course, with three of our own in the line-up, it would be uncharitable of us not to wish them everything of the best, but we really hope that if either of them fluff their lines, the gates will open for Thandolwami, Outcome or Catmandu.

hartford house website link
hartford house website link

visit

www.hartford.co.za

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HERE COMES THE “BULLDUST!!”

writing brochure
writing brochure

(Photo : Chris Greene/Summerhill)

Those who’ve known us for a long time, and those who’ve tried to get hold of him in recent weeks, will know where the boss is.

Not being a natural propagandist (!), he tucks himself away and spews out the next version of the farm’s brochure. We then share excerpts from it in the weeks leading up to publication, and we thought the most appropriate, given next Saturday‘s event, would be this one.

THE WINTER GAME

Though why it’s called a “game” is beyond us. True, its time for the hats and the pearls to come out, but its also time for the gloves to come off. Because its time for the toughest sport of the lot.

Racing is a game in which horses are the religion, and the fans are there to be entertained. Our people are “Saturday” people, especially in winter when the biggest of the big race days find their way to the Garden Province. Those marquee days you long for. Like the First Saturday in July.

Yes, Saturday afternoon in the city: the Summerhill horses will be there. How do we know? Well, they’ve been there before, you know. And there are places they still want to go.

On the way, there’s something they will encounter which is every bit as contagious as the equine flu. They call it “July” fever, for which there is no known vaccine. On big race days our fellows know what it takes. Some never do.

The parade for the Vodacom July is the telling moment in racing. Its history is as old as the game itself, and we cherish its traditions. That’s why we’ve chosen to polish it, rather than overhaul it.

Among the cheering crowd, it’s safe to say, there’ll be several people who’ve made significant investments in the horses passing by. It’s at times like these, when the money’s down, that you want to know that yours has the foundations. The place, the pedigree and the upbringing. Most times, that’s as good as money in the bank.

Later on when the sticks are out, and they’re calling for the reserves, the penny just drops.

summerhill logo
summerhill logo

IF YOU WANT TO BE A CHAMPION, JOIN THE CHAMPIONS

Vodacom Durban July Gallops

vodacom durban july sangomaVodacom Durban July
“4 July 2009”

A festive Vodacom Durban July Gallops staged yesterday morning at Durban’s Greyville Racecourse brought out great weather, hot coffee and sticky buns but few sureties or revelations for the big race day.

Top turf writer David Thiselton reports that every one of the 16 challengers that galloped strode out nicely and, unlike last year, none of them could be eliminated from calculations on the basis of a poor workout.

David’s analysis is as follows :

The three visually most impressive gallops were arguably Pocket Power, Our Giant and Outcome.

Pocket Power’s superiority to the rest of the field was evident as he powered down the straight, hard on the bit, head bowed and striding out well under big race jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe. Pocket Power put in a very similar gallop to last year, finishing just a half-a-length or so behind his companion, which on this occasion was Nevvay.

Our Giant quickened well at the top of the straight and strode out very well with his head down as did the course specialist Outcome.

Other eye-catching gallops were put up by Smart Banker, River Jetez and Thandolwami.

Smart Banker quickened clear of his companion impressively and stretched out well all the way to the line.

River Jetez worked with Consensual, who had thrashed her on the cinders at Milnerton in her final serious gallop before the J&B Met. However, on this occasion River Jetez, who lead the pair into the straight, pulled further and further away from Consensual down the straight in effortless fashion.

Thandolwami wasn’t asked to do much but looked comfortable as he stretched out down the straight. He worked in blinkers but Craig Eudey later decided, after consulting with jockey Raymond Danielson, that the blinkers would not be used in the big race. Raymond Danielson reported that Thandolwami had switched off very well in the running, but the blinkers had made him a touch keen before the workout had begun.

Tropical Empire also impressed and looked to be enjoying himself, while London Guest strode out well and did just enough, as is his tendency, to keep his companion at bay.

The least appealing of the gallops was that of Meteor Shower, who was left in his companion, Diamond Quest’s, wake. He clearly does not have natural speed, but will stay every inch of the 2200m.

Likeithot did not stride out quite as well as his stable companions, but did little wrong, while Cape Town and Buy And Sell put up very good work.

Thundering Jet quickened well to join his companion Golden Parachute before the pair strode out well together to the line.

The three-year-olds, Big City Life, Forest Path and Zirconeum, all strode out well, but might have lost some fans simply because their youthful frames stood out when compared to the older horses. However, this is where the gallops can be misleading and a glance at the formbook, at least in the cases of Big City Life and Zirconeum, would restore confidence.

Kapil paraded in front of the grandstand. He jarred up in the Gold Challenge but has responded extremely well to treatment and is 100% sound. He is in full work on the sand but Stan Elley did not want to risk a grass workout.

Bouquet-Garni did not arrive at the course after refusing to load.

For those seeking a more definitive indication as to what the final result might be, the traditional Vodacom Durban July Gallops Sangoma was on hand to call on the ancestors for their predictions :

1st Number 3, 2nd Number 6, 3rd Number 7, 4th Number 17.

Imbongi to make European debut

IMBONGI
“traditional poet of the Zulu or Xhosa people who composes poetry
in praise of a leader”
(Photo : HKJC/inkokhelo/Nicholas Goss/AfricanSkies)

News filtering in from the UK is that Imbongi is set to make his European debut at Newmarket’s July Course this Saturday afternoon, June 27. (16h25 our time on DSTV Channel232)

Following a string of fine efforts in Hong Kong and Dubai earlier in the year, Mike de Kock’s charge is one of 18 challengers entered for the £65,000 Group Three John Bovington Memorial Criterion Stakes to be run over seven-furlongs.

The South African fighter finished a staying-on sixth last time out in the Group One Champions Mile at Sha Tin on April 26. Imbongi had previously been fourth in two Group Two races at Nad Al Sheba and was narrowly denied on his seasonal debut at the same course in a valuable seven-furlong handicap, when he just failed to collar Hatta Fort.

In South Africa last year, the Summerhill-bred Imbongi proved himself to be one of the leading milers of his generation, starting with electrifying victories in the Grade Two Gauteng Guineas at Turffontein in March and the Grade Two KZN Guineas at Greyville in April before returning to Greyville in May to destroy five previous Grade One winners in the Grade Two Drill Hall Stakes, including South African “Horse of the Year, Pocket Power.

Mike de Kock revealed to Newmarket Racecourse correspondents : “Imbongi is an intended runner in the John Bovington Memorial Criterion Stakes as things stand. He worked on the Rowley Mile with Diana’s Choice two weeks ago and he took it well. I think that seven furlongs to a mile is his best trip and the forecast ground should be an advantage for him.”

“We had some poor ventilation in Dubai and some of the horses bled out there but he still showed a decent level of form, including when he finished in front of Vodka in a Group Two in March.”

“It wasn’t a bad performance in Hong Kong either, when he ran from quite far back. Alexandros was a neck behind him on that occasion and he went on to be second in the Lockinge Stakes, so we have some collateral form to work with.”

“Some of the top milers around ran in that race and he was too far out of his ground, but he still ran on well in the closing stages. We will hopefully start him off at Newmarket and then take his season from there.”

Imbongi looks set to face some tough opposition including Racer Forever, who got the better of King Of Dixie in a thrilling finish to last year’s race. Subsequent Group One winner Court Masterpiece was also narrowly denied in 2005 and the nine-year-old, now in the care of John Quinn after a spell at stud, could return to Newmarket following a fine third in a York conditions race on his first start for more than two years.

Ancien Regime may make his Godolphin debut following a progressive three-year-old campaign for Michael Jarvis that included victory in the Coral.co.uk Sprint on the Rowley Mile and a close sixth in the Group One Sprint Cup at Doncaster in September, while Huntdown, third in last year’s Group One Shadwell Middle Park Stakes, could also make his first appearance for Saeed bin Suroor, having previously been trained by John Gosden.

Other notable entries include Winker Watson, who enjoyed Group Two success on the July Course in the TNT July Stakes in 2007, last season’s Group One Stan James sponsored 1000 Guineas fifth Dream Eater, as well as Laa Rayb and Balthazaar’s Gift, who were third and fourth respectively in the Group Two Victor Chandler Challenge Stakes on the Rowley Mile in October.