Toowoomba (AUS) 031 362 1110
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Maurituis (CHAMP) 031 362 1107/08/09
Newmarket (UK) 031 362 1107
Lingfield (UK) 031 362 1104
Salisbury (UK) 031 362 1101
Scottsville has an eight race meeting tomorrow and it looks to be a competitive card, although punters have a fair chance of fishing out a few winners.
In the first over 1400m, Captain At Sea will relish the step up in trip having stayed all the way to the line over 1200m last time despite not having a smooth passage. He has a tricky draw of seven but does not look to be the type who will over race. Royal Yevahn ran well last time on the poly over thus trip despite being a bit hampered in the straight and the form of that race has worked out well so he could be a factor, although a wide draw is a concern. Geste is by Querari and is a half-brother to the useful Sabadell and he wears blinkers on debut from a tricky draw of nine. Gregorian Chant has been a touch disappointing in two KZN starts over 1200m, but as a full brother to the promising three-year-old Baritone he should get better with age and with a step up in trip. Galtero has run two fair races over 1200m, but the wide draw over the step up in trip is a concern.
In the second over 1400m, Intercept stayed on quite well from a good draw on debut over course and distance and has a good draw again. Dusk Beauty showed fair pace on debut over 1200m at Scottsville but had no answer to the winner and was comfortably beaten into fifth by 4,3 lengths. Being by Dynasty together with a good draw should help her stay the increase in trip. The form of Dunhallin’s debut over 1400m on the poly has worked out well, although she was well beaten and does now have a wide draw to overcome. Mostarda wasn’t disgraced on debut over 1200m and should appreciate the step up in trip, but she has a wide draw to overcome. Royal Agree was outpaced on debut, but stayed on and will appreciate the step up in trip. Momo is by Ideal World and is a half-sister to sprint handicapper Harrison, who won second time out over 1200m.
The third is a weak event over 1000m. Saber’s Beads has been a touch disappointing since showing good pace over 1200m here on debut and the yard said he would be fit enough returning from a layoff. Wavebreaker is a nice looking horse and is an interesting first-timer, being by Sail From Seattle and a half-brother to the classy Disa Leader, while Delpech is an eyecatching booking. Shoot The Bull has pace and the blinkers have helped, so he could go close considering his two good seconds in fair times over course and distance in his last two starts. At Variance has good pace and has gone close here from 1000-1200m so should run well fresh after a three month layoff. The Yogas Govender yard have worked around Roy’s Ark’s soundness issues and although “race rusty” he is fit and well and Govender reckoned he “would not disappoint”, so he could go close. Lucky Barb has shown good pace over course and distance twice, including when narrowly failing on debut, and will appreciate the step back to this trip.
In the fourth over 1200m, Warm Night Alice went close on debut from a high draw in a similarly weak field and is now probably drawn on the right side according to trends. Electro Diva has some fair form in Cape Town over this trip and could go close in this uninspiring field. Queen’s Diamond was close to Warm Night Alice over course and distance last time out and has another low draw.
The fifth is a Pinnacle Stakes race over 1200m and Our Destiny is an up and coming sort who impressed last time here over 1100m and she could follow up, although she is officially 2kg under sufferance with the best weighted horse. Elusivenchantment was beaten only 2,55 lengths in the Gr 1 City Of Pietermaritzburg Sprint over course and distance and has Delpech up, although the high draw might be a concern. Miss Varlicious is drawn on the right side over an ideal course and distance and is the best in at the weights. However, she now has to give weight to Elusivenchantment, who beat her comfortably in the City Of Pietermaritzburg Sprint, and Our Destiny also beat her comfortably last time. On the other hand this is her third run after a layoff.
The sixth is a MR 92 handicap over 1600m and Arctica is an interesting runner from pole position having won from handy positions over 1400m in his last two starts, when seen to still be travelling comfortably at the line. He has a six point merit rated raise to overcome, but Delpech keeps the ride. Greek Legend has disappointed over further since catching the eye in a win over this trip, so might appreciate the step back to this distance. Topweight Sylvester The Cat returns to the course and distance of his good win in March and is drawn well.
The seventh is a MR 72 Handicap over 1600m and Pirogue has improved lately so can go close with Delpech up from a fair draw. Royal Zulu Guard should be running on from a pole position draw over a suitable trip off an attractive merit rating. Whitley Willows proved last time over this trip at Greyville he is off a competitive merit rating and has a fair draw.
The eighth is a MR 76 Handicap for fillies and mares over 1950m and Ruby Gem was unlucky in her penultimate start over course and distance and the blinkers have come off after she over raced in them last time when not disgraced over 1900m at Greyville. She has a fine chance here with Delpech up from a good draw. The hard knocking Nina Katrina has a good draw for a change over a suitable trip and Anton Marcus is aboard. The consistent Vogue Idea is interesting tried over this trip as one who stays on over 1600m. She has a tricky draw of eight so might be dropped out before running on.
Bookmakers have priced up Cape Speed as the 9-2 favourite to win the R1.25 million eLan Gold Cup (Grade 2) over 3 200m at Greyville on Saturday 30 July.
Three-year-olds do not have a particularly good record in the Gold Cup but this son of Ideal World won the Grade 3 Derby at Scottsville which, under its new format, is now also not suited to three-year-olds. Trained by Dean Kannemeyer, Cape Speed has only raced nine times but has won five of those. He is also unbeaten in KwaZulu-Natal this season.
However, he will be trying 3 200m for the first time and has not won over further than 2 400m which was in the Derby where he beat Deputy Judd by a neck. He carried 55kg on that occasion and is only up 0.5kg in the Gold Cup. In-form Anthony Delpech takes the ride again and they will jump from barrier No 8. Kannemeyer also saddles Balance Sheet and Solar Star.
Geoff Woodruff has two runners and they are Arch Rival, who is joint second favourite with Mike Bass-trained Helderberg Blue at 8-1, and 9-1 shot Master Sabina.
Master Sabina won the SANSUI Summer Cup and is a class performer but he will be trying this distance for the first time and will carry 60kg. Arch Rival won the Grade 2 Gold Bowl over 3200m at Turffontein so he will get every inch of the journey. He went on to win a Pinnacle Stakes, beating Enaad who franked the form with a win in the Grade 3 Gold Vase over 300m at Greyville on Durban July day, by 0.40 lengths and will meet his rival on 2kg better terms.
Enaad, who is at 10-1, is one of five runners from the Mike de Kock stable and the former champion trainer is quite happy about the state of his runners. “I think he’s very well handicapped,” said De Kock. “He put up a very good performance in the Gold Vase and the only reason I wasn’t more confident was because I did feel he was suspect over the distance.
“He is now stronger, better and more mature and I would say he is the best of the five. However, he is drawn wide is a problem. I know the race is over 3200m and barrier positions are less relevant but for me, a bad draw is a bad draw.
“If you are well drawn you can often get a position for nothing but off a wide draw you always have to work to get a position.
“But a lot can happen over two miles (3200m).”
S’manga Khumalo, who rode him in the Gold Vase, takes the ride.
However, do not write off New Zealand-bred filly The Centenary, warns De Kock. “She is out of a Montjeu mare and I believe will get the trip. Richard Fourie got off last time when she ran second to Punta Arenas and was very impressed with her. She’s a game filly and she looks like a stayer. I’m quite confident she will run well.” TABnews
Betting for the Gr2 eLan Gold Cup over 3200m at Greyville on Saturday 30 July:
9-2 Cape Speed
8-1 Helderberg Blue, Arch Rival
9-1 Master Sabina, Ovidio
11-1 The Centenary
12-1 Balance Sheet, Kingston Mines, Solar Star, Zafira
14-1 Coltrane, Smart Mart
18-1 Stebbins, Kinaan
35-1 Fortune Fella
There will be many racing stalwarts involved in the Super Saturday meeting at Greyville at the end of the month, but the toast of the town will be possibly the finest of them all, the great Cape Town-based trainer Mike Bass.
Bass will be officially retiring at the end of the season and the Gr 1 Champions Cup will be fittingly named in honour of him and his wife Carol.
Bass took a moment to reflect on his career yesterday and his most prominent owner of recent years, Marsh Shirtliff, also paid heartfelt tribute.
Bass said it would be the end of a long chapter, but he did not expect much to change as he would still spend plenty of time around his beloved horses down at the family’s Milnerton yard.
Officially he hands over the reins to his daughter Candice Robinson and the rest of the yard’s loyal and “tremendous” staff”, who include his son Mark (Marketing and Website) as well as Carol (Accounts and Personality).
Mike said with typical modesty, “They will probably do a better job than me.” If that does become the case it will only be due to the lessons they have learnt from one of the country’s finest horseman.
Shirtliff’s familiar blue, pink and white colours have become associated with the Bass yard. Both the colours and the yard were taken to a new level by the great Pocket Power.
Shirtliff recalled his entry into the yard. He had been at a Cape Sale and approached Mike about training a horse he had been advised on and duly bought. Shirtliff confessed he had also liked one of the horses Bass himself had bought, but explained his advisor had been of the opinion the horse would knock his hocks at full gallop. Bass dismissed the latter opinion and thus Tobe Or Nottobe became the first Shirtliff-owned runner in the Bass yard. The Caesour colt won his first seven starts, including the Gr 1 Cape Flying Championships over 1000m at Kenilworth. His first defeat was over a trip a touch too far in the Winter Guineas, when finishing third to the subsequently named Equus Horse Of The Year Winter Solstice. At stud from limited opportunity Tobe Or Nottobe produced 37 winners from 85 runners.
The advisor who had nearly cost Shirtliff the chance of owning Tobe Or Nottobe made up for it at a subsequent sale by singling out Pocket Power. Bass also loved the horse immediately and so began the career of one of the all-time greats of the South African turf.
Pocket Power was from the first crop of the late great Jet Master and could not have found his way into a more suitable yard, because as Shirtliff pointed out, “You know when you have a horse with Mike you are in for the long haul. He is the ultimate horseman, he gives them time and tends to know what they need and they don’t break down early. Even Pocket Power with all his niggles could have gone on to win more races, but we felt he deserved to retire at the age of eight.” Pocket Power’s nine Gr 1s included the Vodacom Durban July and Rising Sun Gold Challenge as well as a record four Gr 1 L’Ormarin’s Queen’s Plates in succession and three Gr 1 J&B Mets in succession.
His Bass-trained and Shirtliff part-owned full-sister River Jetez defeated Pocket Power in his fourth Met when she was a six-year-old. She went on to win a Gr 2 in Dubai and run second in a Gr 1 in Singapore and third in a Gr 1 in the USA. Mike de Kock was in charge of her overseas and he also helped the former Bass-trained Sun Classique win a Gr 1 and two Listed races in Dubai. Sun Classique remains the highest earning South African-trained filly in history.
Bass means a lot more to Shirtliff than just being a trainer. He recalled his first impressions of the people-shy Bass being as one who was much more at home with his horses than his patrons, although he said he had “loosened up” latterly and he himself had never found him difficult to talk to.
He said, “He is only about four years older than me but has become almost like a father figure because he reminds me so much of my own father. He is a thorough gentleman, a mensch, you will never hear him swear, never has a bad word to say about anybody, and he never loses his rag.”
The press also felt at ease with Bass. Three things were usually assured when visiting his ring at either Clairwood or Milnerton; firstly you would be made to feel welcome; secondly you would come away knowing a little more about the most fascinating and complex of all animals, the horse, as he loved to share his immense knowledge; thirdly you would usually leave chortling, partly due to his dry sense of humour and also due to his inimitable quirks. He gave away his old school tutorship in the game by knowing young horses only by their pedigrees and this often extended into their racing careers. A typical interview could have gone as such: Bass: “I think the grey horse will run well, what’s his name?” Journalist, “Blue Tiger.” Bass: “Yes, that horse is doing very well.”
Bass said there were plenty of memories and outstanding horses to look back on in his 40 years as a licensed trainer and he added, “It has been great fun.”
He has to date trained 32 Gr 1 winners and between them they have won 50 Gr 1s, including three Julys and five Mets.
Bass paid tribute to his wife Carol, who is loved by all her meet her and hence her title as yard “Personality”. He said, “She has been very supportive and is always enthusiastic, I don’t think she’s missed a meeting in all my years training.”
The popular couple’s farewell at Greyville on July 30 will have sincere emotions attached from everybody in the industry and it would be most fitting if Marinaresco can convert likely favouritism.
Acrostar can give Justin Snaith his fifth Final Fling – and his fourth off the reel – at Kenilworth tomorrow when ability to act in the soft will be all-important.
If you look at the re-run of last month’s Ladies Mile you will see that she put up the best performance of the six that renew rivalry here. She was shuffled back early on and still had only two behind her as she turned into the straight. It was a well-nigh impossible position in a field of 16 but she ran on strongly to take fourth, only a short head behind Petty Officer and not much more than a length off Moonlight ‘N Roses.
“She loves the soft and I think she will run a big race,” says Snaith. Richard Fourie’s mount is the forecast market leader and favourites have won three of the last five.
The former champion trainer is expecting a much improved effort from last year’s winner Cat And The Moon who was found to be in post-race distress after finishing way down the field and blinkers, fitted for the second time but not used here, are believed to be the reason. “As I put them on she became quite distressed,” Snaith recalls. “She has shown her best form with Craig du Plooy riding.”
Gift Of Rain, his third runner, hasn’t a prayer on ratings but she is a real Irish bred in that she loves the soft so don’t be all that surprised if she runs on into the money.
According to adjusted ratings there is nothing to choose between five – the top Snaith pair, Moonlight ‘N Roses, Fear Not and Petty Officer – and the sahorseracing computer has Cat And The Moon winning from Acrostar with Harlem Shake third and Jetano fourth.
Mike Bass, who has won three of the last 13, supplemented Sublime Lady as well as Moonlight ‘N Roses but it is the latter who makes more appeal. She has won in the soft and in the Ladies Mile she finished strongly in a manner that suggested she will relish the extra furlong.
Petty Officer loves to bowl along in front and, while this can make her vulnerable close home, she goes in the ground and should not be far away.
Fear Not has to overcome a 15 draw and, even with Andrew Fortune in the irons, that is a major handicap.
Joey Ramsden is in the sort of form that makes anything possible and Jetano, who started favourite for the Winter Oaks, would not need to improve all that much to pose a real threat.
The Vaughan Marshall-trained two-year-old Horse Chestnut colt Step Up put his hand up as a runner in the Gr 1 Premier’s Champions Stakes over 1600m on Gold Cup day when winning a Juvenile Plate over the same course and distance comfortably on Saturday under MJ Byleveld.
The intuitive Marshall bought this Horse Chestnut colt for a mere R50,000 at the CTS Emperor’s Palace Select Yearling Sale last year, despite her Joshua Dancer dam being a half-sister to dual Gr 1-winner Crimson Waves. Marshall then put a syndicate together which includes his son Steve.
The imposing colt has won two of his four starts to date. His first win was also over 1600m at Greyville, albeit on the polytrack.
In his penultimate start Step Up was caught hopelessly wide from a high draw in the Listed Gatecrasher Stakes over 1400m at Greyville and pulled throughout.
Marshall was correct in saying before Saturday’s event a line could be drawn through that run.
Byleveld, who was not aboard in the disappointing previous race, settled him beautifully in the box seat on Saturday from a good draw and he quickened effortlessly to win by 3,5 lengths.
A downside to the form is that The Boxster, who is quite an exposed maiden, finished second although he did obviously appreciate the step up in trip.
On the bright side Step Up’s time was three seconds quicker than the fillies equivalent race, which was won in eyecatching style by the Dennis Drier-trained The High Life, who is also by Horse Chestnut. The High Life resembles her great sire and made up considerable ground in the straight under Sean Veale to just get up, although as a maiden (who had actually won a race which was later declared null and void) she did have a 3kg advantage over the winners. Despite the impressive display The High Life does not hold an entry in the Gr 1 Thekwini Stakes. The High Life was purchased for R150,000 at the National Two-year-old Sale.
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