Some top class racing at Kenilworth yesterday.
The Greenpoint delivered a blanket finish with the aging but still top class champion miler Legal Eagle getting his head down on the post under a top ride by Anton Marcus. Undercover Agent was by no means disgraced in second and he has youth on his side in future meetings with LE. Do It Again ran a cracker over a trip which is perhaps a bit sharp for him these days, and found a good finishing effort just when the other two looked to have his measure. Rainbow Bridge handled the step up in class and was somewhat unlucky as he was the fastest finisher and in another stride was clear. He was receiving 2 kg from the others here, and must meet them at levels in the Queens Plate. However, he again fought his rider for half the race, and he must learn to settle to achieve his huge full potential. The only concern with this race was the relatively slow time, and I hope that the QP is run at a truer pace. We thought that this race would make it easier to pick the QP winner, but all four of these look capable of winning it if things go their way.
Princess Rebel showed the local girls a clean pair of heels in the Southern Cross. She is a genuine 1000m specialist and this was another triumph for the PE Bremner team after National Park’s super win in Jhb. It will be interesting to see whether she can be as effective over 1200m.
We were thrilled by Freedom Charter’s run as this trip too short and she must have a decent shout in the Sceptre over 1200m. The younger Nous Voila ran a cracker in 2nd and is a top sprinter. Magical Wonderland was very disappointing and is much better than this run.
Snowdance was allowed to bowl along in front in the Pinnacle race and duly won in a canter. Goodtime Gal ran on well for 2nd without ever looking dangerous. The time was very slow for this class of race, and those fillies whose jockeys played a waiting game had no chance of catching the front two. We were very disappointed by Elusive Heart’s run as she showed no sign of her usual kick, and clearly something not quite right with her on the day.
The three bottom weights were all under sufferance, yet they fought out the finish of the Summer Stayers race, and showed the poor quality of our stayers.
Magic Mike put up his hand in the Maiden 1600m as an improving sort to be watched.
Hudoo Magic found it impossible to give 7kg to Potawatomi in the last and the older horses were no match for these two progressive sorts.
The G-Bets Gauteng Summer Cup undercard is not wanting for quality. A number of top-class horses will line up in the three supporting features on 1 December – including the likes of Pinnacle Peak, a narrow loser to the mighty Legal Eagle last week; recent Golden Loom Handicap victor Rivarine, and gallant mare Redberry Lane, conqueror of Cape star Snowdance during the Durban season.
There are two Grade 2 contests on the Standside track programme: the Goldrush Derby Run Merchants, a famous old sprint over 1160m, and the World Sports Betting Ipi Tombe Challenge, a 1600m race for fillies and mares.
There are also two Listed events: the Epol Magnolia Handicap, a sprint for fillies and mares, and the 3200m Racing Association Handicap, one of the most popular staying challenges on the calendar.
Pinnacle Peak, who lost out to Legal Eagle by 0.50 lengths in a Pinnacle Stakes on the same course last Thursday night, heads the weights for the Merchants. Trainer Dorrie Sham’s speedy gelding is a model of consistency with three wins and only one run out of the money in his nine outings.
He is the 3-1 ante-post favourite, ahead of the Azzie stable’s Rivarine on 5-1 and Joey Ramsden’s Highveld sojourner Rose In Bloom on 8-1.
Unsurprisingly, Redberry Lane tops the scales and the boards in the Ipi Tombe – slated to carry 60kg and on offer at 16-10.
Sean Tarry’s charge is as honest as they come and warmed up for this challenge by finishing third behind Summer Cup hopeful Secret Potion in a 1600m Pinnacle Stakes on this track, albeit in very soft going.
Second in demand with punters is a KwaZulu-Natal challenger, Fiorella, from the Duncan Howells stable.
This four-year-old filly won the Grade 2 Daisy Guineas, which got her into the Vodacom Durban July, in which she finished seventh, eight lengths off winner Do It Again. That evidence of talent puts her right in the reckoning in this contest.
Final field for The Goldrush Derby Run Merchants (Grade2):
(Number, name, weight, MR, draw, trainer, jockey)
1 Pinnacle Peak 60 115 18 Dorrie Sham C Zackey
2 Rose In Bloom 56 107 11 Joey Ramsden *L J Ferraris
3 Romi’s Boy 55.5 106 7 Alec Laird R Danielson
4 Captain’s Causeway 55 105 8 Sean Tarry C Habib
5 Champagne Haze 55 105 5 Gary Alexander *D Schwarz
6 Down To Zero 54.5 104 2 M G Azzie/A A Azzie W Kennedy
7 Procal Harum 54.5 104 1 Duncan Howells R Munger
8 Rivarine 54.5 104 13 M G Azzie/A A Azzie G Lerena
9 Africa Rising 54 103 12 Sean Tarry *L Hewitson
10 Captain And Master 54 103 9 Sean Tarry P Strydom
11 Pure Blonde 54 103 4 Alec Laird R Simons
12 Wynkelder 53 101 3 Tony Rivalland M V’Rensburg
13 Hard To Play 52.5 100 16 Wendy Whitehead S Randolph
14 Isphan 52 96 17 Roy Magner M Khan
15 Wonderwall 52 96 10 Sean Tarry S Khumalo
16 Clever Guy 52 95 14 Stephen Moffatt M Yeni
17 Donny G 52 94 6 Grant Maroun Reserve 1
18 Nicklaus (BRZ) 52 94 15 Frank Robinson Reserve 2
Final field for the World Sports Betting Ipi Tombe Challenge (Grade 2):
1 Redberry Lane 60 110 5 Sean Tarry *L Hewitson
2 Fiorella 59 106 8 Duncan Howells M Khan
3 Al Danza 58 108 9 Geoff Woodruff G Lerena
4 Silver Thursday 58 101 6 Mike de Kock R Simons
5 Green Top 58 100 1 Alec Laird M Yeni
6 Roy’s Riviera (AUS) 58 97 2 Frank Robinson *S Moodley
7 Sylvan On Fire 58 95 3 Candice Dawson C Zackey
8 Nafaayes (AUS) 51 99 4 Mike de Kock W Kennedy
9 Dagmar 51 98 7 Mike de Kock R Munger