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Published: 06 December 2016


Young (AUS) 031 362 1110
Southwell (UK) 031 362 1110
Swanhill (AUS) 031 362 1111
Fontwell (UK) 031 362 1111
Northam (AUS) 031 362 1107
Parx (USA) 031 362 1101


Rafeef full of class
Published: 06 December 2016

Rafeef will be hard to beat tonight at Turffontein...

There is an eight race card at Turffontein tonight and it sees the promising Mike de Kock-trained sprinter Rafeef turning out in the highest rated race on the card, the seventh, which is a MR 91 Handicap over 1160m.

This robust four-year-old Australian-bred colt by Redoute’s Choice has had an interrupted career and this will only be his sixth start. However, he is full of class and won a Graduation Plate over 1200m at the Vaal with a bit in hand last time out, despite it being his first outing for seven months. He was raised the maximum number of points to a merit rating of 86. However, it is a capped rating as he ran to a higher mark than that. Therefore, on paper, he has an easier task here in this handicap. He should have benefitted from the run too. He will be hard to beat and is rated the best bet on the card.

Mike de Kock

Mike de Kock

The value bet on the card could come in the last race in the form of the Sean Tarry-trained Penultimate, a three-year-old colt by Captain Al out of a Fort Wood mare who won over a mile. He won easily over 1200m on debut after being backed and last time out raced quite strongly over 1400m before being run out of it late by the promising Copper Pot. That run suggested he would appreciate the step down in trip and off a mark which has come down from a high of 86 to 79 must have a chance.

Another value bet could be Seventh Heart in the fifth race, a MR 88 Handicap for fillies and mares. She caught the eye on Grand Heritage day when running from an impossible number one draw over 1475m and only finishing 4,3 lengths back. She was therefore slightly disappointing next time out off a three point lower merit rating from a plum draw over 1400m on the Vaal Inside track. However, finishing only 1,9 lengths back, it was not a bad run. The handicapper has now given her another three points relief and she has a fair draw of five. Furthermore, her best ever run was over this course and distance, when winning a MR 80 Handicap for fillies and mares easily back in March last year in just her fourth career start. She has not won since, but runs here off a mark seven points lower than the mark she won that race off.

Another horse who looks ripe for victory is Mythical Magic in the sixth, a MR 68 Handicap for fillies and mares over 1400m in which only seven of the 12 runners are in the handicap. She has a wide draw but Raymond Danielson is back aboard, having produced a flying finish from her in her penultimate start over 1450m on the Turffontein Inside track after dropping her out from a wide draw. She is not the easiest to settle but if Danielson, who has a fine pair of hands, can manage to find cover again she is the one to beat.

Penultimate, Seventh Heart and Mythical Magic are all from the Sean Tarry yard and he could also win the first and second races with Lolita Delago and Furiosa respectively. The former showed pace throughout on Saturday over 800m, finishing third, and the experience will have helped ahead of this 800m dash. Furiosa strikes as a classy sort with a bright future and he should relish the step up to 1400m tomorrow evening.

By David Thiselton


More ammo for Tarry
Published: 06 December 2016

Big race targets for Tarry...

National Champion trainer Sean Tarry’s Graded race ammunition was bolstered on Saturday when his Toreador gelding Matador Man ran out an impressive winner of the Listed Secretariat Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein under apprentice Lyle Hewitson.

Tarry has top horses being prepared in both Johannesburg and Cape Town for big race targets and Equus Horse Of The Year Legal Eagle led the way over the weekend by beating a quality field in the WSB Gr 2 Green Point Stakes over 1600m, despite needing the run.

Sean Tarry (Liesl King)

Sean Tarry (Liesl King)

Matador Man’s habitual slow start worked in his favour in the Secretariat Stakes as he was able to slot in behind the field on the rail. He has a lovely action and was beautifully relaxed in the running. Hewitson kept him covered for the first part of the straight, after they had come off the wide false rail. He had to get him going at the 450m mark as the long striding second favourite Romi’s Boy was out in front and threatening to gallop them into the ground.

However, Hewitson was forced to switch inward which was probably the unfavourable side on the day. However, it did not stop Matador Man and after showing a fine turn of foot he ran resolutely to the line to win by 1,75 lengths from his stablemate Tilbury Fort. The rest of the field were spread out like the washing, which is always the sign of good form. Furthermore, Matador Man, who started at odds of 11/2, did it pretty effortlessly and required no more than a back hander to keep his mind on the task. He was giving 4kg to stablemate Tilbury Fort, who was a 15/1 shot, and 2,5kg to the five-length third-placed Misty Roller, who was a 40/1 chance. Another of Matador Man’s stablemates Copper Pot finished fourth.

The 9/2 third favourite Act Of Loyalty made little impression in the straight from a midfield position and finished an eight-length sixth, while Romi’s Boy faded to finish a disappointing 8,5 lengths back in seventh. The favourite was the Mike Azzie-trained Captain Von Trapp, who was backed in to 3/1, but unfortunately he got stuck behind a fading Romi’s Boy just as he was unwinding into his giant stride. He is a lot better than his eleven length ninth suggests. A line can probably be drawn through the run, although he is unlikely to have threatened the winner on the day.

Trip to Heaven (JC Photographics)

Trip to Heaven (JC Photographics)

Tarry said about the classy Matador Man, “He is definitely a horse we have always rated, he just fluffed his lines at the start in his first two runs, so he will improve as he goes around the turn and we will see how far he goes. It is difficult to work out the yard’s three-year-old pecking order, because they are all improving at different rates.”

Matador Man has dwelt in all of his starts to date and then virtually walks out the gates, but it didn’t cost him significant ground on Saturday.

He will not be going down to Cape Town for the Cape Guineas. Tarry said the Gauteng Guineas would likely be on his program and added, “I think the Canon Guineas at Greyville will be the right race for him.”

Meanwhile, Tarry’s Cape Guineas contender Africa Rising is doing well in Cape Town, having finished a 3,6 length sixth to stable companion Safe Harbour  in the R2,5 million Lanzerac Ready To Run Stakes over 1400m. Safe Harbour, a rangy filly by Elusive Fort, franked the form on Saturday when going down by 0,3 lengths to Just Sensual in the Gr 1 WSB Cape Fillies Guineas. She will likely be a big runner in the US$500,000 CTS 1600 on Sun Met day.

French Navy (Nkosi Hlophe)

French Navy (Nkosi Hlophe)

Another Tarry star being aimed at one of the two CTS half-a-million dollar races in Cape Town is last year’s Equus Champion two-year-old filly Cloth Of Cloud, although she will likely run in the 1200m event. Tarry said she had been doing well in Cape Town, although they have to work with her temperament issues. She is likely to have one run before the CTS 1200.

Africa Rising, a 96 merit-rated colt by Visionaire, has landed a plum of draw of two in the Cape Guineas, having had to jump from a very high draw in the Lanzerac. The Cape Guineas has attracted a 26-strong entry list and Tarry said, “He has always showed us to be a very good horse and if he can just give his best on the day will be very competitive.”

Meanwhile, five-year-old Trippi gelding Trip To Heaven’s main targets for the season are likely the Gr 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge and the Gr 1 Mercury Sprint, both run at Greyville. He is travelling down to Cape Town to run in the Gr 2 Khaya Stables Diadem Stakes over 1200m on January 14. Tarry said 1400m was probably the optimum trip for this horse, so he might avoid the Gr 1 Cape Flying Championships as 1000m might be a touch sharp for him.

Tarry also said 1000m was likely too sharp for the other stable sprinting star Bull Valley, who will be campaigned at home in Johannesburg. Trip To Heaven has won both of his Turffontein 1160m starts impressively this season, including the Gr 2 Citizen Merchants, where he gave Bull Valley 3,5kg and a 0,3 length beating. He received 2,5kg from reigning Equus Champion Sprinter Talktothestars in the Merchants and beat him by 2,4 lengths. On paper this makes him just about the best sprinter in the country at present.

French Navy has been doing well in Johannesburg and runs next Tuesday night at Turffontein in a Pinnacle Stakes race over 1160m. He and Legal Eagle carry the stable’s Sun Met hopes.

By David Thiselton


Selangor form to the test
Published: 06 December 2016

Vaughan Marshall three year old talent on show...

William Longsword can put some sense into the puzzling Selangor form by returning to his best in today’s Racing.It’s A Rush Handicap.

Vaughan Marshall

Vaughan Marshall

This is the first of three consecutive Kenilworth Tuesday meetings and the Vaughan Marshall three-year-old promises to be the star of the show. He made such a big impression when he came right away in the final furlong of a mile handicap here a month ago that Joey Ramsden mentioned him as a possible danger to hot favourite Table Bay in the Selangor.

Both horses ran way below their best but there proved to be a physical reason for MJ Byleveld’s mount. “He had an over-reach and couldn’t walk for four days,” says Marshall who is fitting a tongue tie for the first time “because he is a bit thick-winded.”

The handicappers left him unchanged on 93 and didn’t move Table Bay (108) either. Although they upped the first two (Gold Standard and Edict Of Nantes), they put the pair on marks well below third-placed Table Bay indicating they thought the form was all wrong.

Marshall cautions that he believes William Longsword is going to need further but the colt has already been backed from 3-1 to 5-2 and could have most to fear from 7-2 chance Newlands who ran below his best in the Lanzerac Ready To Run. “He had an impossible draw and he was slowly away,” says Ramsden. “But he is a very nice horse and the form has been franked.”

Second favourite with World Sports Betting is Union Jack at 3-1. Greg Cheyne’s mount is on a hat-trick but he has been raised 2.5kg for his last win which makes him less appealing. Mutzi (9-2) is slightly the shorter of Justin Snaith’s pair and has only gone up a kilo for last time’s success.

Table Bay (Liesl King)

Table Bay (Liesl King)

His rider Grant van Neikerk has been presented with a quandary after being given three separate one week suspensions for two Kenilworth interference offences and a third at Turffontein. Fitting in these as he approaches the height of the Cape season is going to be as costly as it will be difficult.

Dennis Drier’s horses are always to be respected in Cape Town – he only brings those he believes he will win – but Lee’s Star is one of the lesser lights. Drier tried a tongue tie last time without success and now puts blinkers on the horse. World Sports Betting are unimpressed and have him on 14-1 but the handicappers have dropped him a kilo and he was considered good enough to run in the Cape Classic.

Incidentally stable companion Lloyd’s Legacy, who proved so expensive on Saturday (he started at 7-10 and only managed fourth) was found to have pulled a muscle.

Waiting For Rain (5-1) invariably runs a good race but he hasn’t the class of William Longsword while the latter’s stable compoanion Zeb, blinkered for the first time, may just be good enough in the opener even though the present 28-10 looks short enough.

Border Control is well-nigh unbackable at 1-3 in race two but it’s hard to see anything capable of beating him while 28-10 chance Curatrix is marginally preferred to 15-10 favourite Step Out in the Racing Association Maiden.

BLOB Michael Clower has won with four of his last five selections.

By Michael Clower


Race Previews Turffontein Tuesday
Published: 06 December 2016

Turffontein (Standside/Night) Tues Dec 06 Race Previews by David Thiselton...

Race 1
Preview: LOLITA DELAGO ran well on debut over course and distance on Saturday where she showed good pace throughout. The experience should have helped. KISSABLE by Antonius Pius is a half-sister to the useful sprinter Thrust. FISH RIVER is an Australian-bred by three-time Royal Ascot winner from six furlongs to a mile Canford Cliffs and the combination of Mike de Kock and Anthony Delpech usually mean a horse with a chance. Her half-sister by Street Sense has won three times in Australia from 1200-1400m. Corne Spies has a fine record in these races and sends out Philanthropist filly OUTLANDER and Crusade filly JOKING DICE. Champion Sprinter What A Winter’s first two runners both made the frame over the weekend and his daughter VEGAS BABY runs here. NORTHERN HILLS is by Toreador and her half-sister went close on debut in the January of her two-year-old year. (David Thiselton 5-4-1-7-3-9)

Race 2
Preview: FURIOSA looks to have a touch of class and should relish this step up in trip and can win despite a tricky draw. CHILI LIME has a good draw and should love the course and distance on the evidence of his first two runs. FLYING RUSSIAN is knocking on the door and his plum draw is a bonus considering he went close to leading from start to finish over course and distance in his penultimate start. (David Thiselton 8-7-1)

Race 3
Preview: ONE OF A KIND, by Dynasty out of Ilha da Vitoria, stayed on well over 1400m on debut and has a plum draw here. GLOWING VISION was backed last time over 1450m and stayed on for 2nd behind a runaway winner after being slowly away. She is now well drawn for a change. EMILY JAY was running on for third behind two fair sorts last time and can earn again over a step up in trip which should suit. HALF A BAR is improving and could earn. SUNSET IN SEATTLE stayed on over 1160m in her return from a layoff and has Strydom up from a fair draw. She should enjoy the step up in trip. (David Thiselton 13-7-11-9-6)

Race 4
Preview: GOLDEN MAN is ideally course and distance suited and this consistent sort has Strydom up from a plum draw. PACHUCO has dropped to an attractive merit rating and, although this is his second run after a three-and-a-half month layoff and gelding, it the first time he is running over course and distance since his easy maiden win. He has a better draw here than he had back then too. KING AND EMPIRE should finish on top of Golden Man as he is 1,5kg better off for a 1,9 length beating over course and distance. He has a fair draw too. JUST A GIGOLO is capable of finishing strongly but his wide draw makes it tough. SOUTH ATLANTIC is a talented but difficult filly and as she pulled last time Anthony Delpech will have his work cut out from a tricky draw. (David Thiselton 1-6-5-8-3)

Race 5
Preview: SEVENTH HEART has dropped to an attractive merit rating which is seven points lower than when winning easily over course and distance in March last year.  She was not disgraced in her last start off a three point higher mark and from a fair draw she might now be ready to deliver. LAST CHIRP has some class and as a long striding sort should enjoy this course and distance from a good draw. Her worst run was when stepped up to this trip but that was from an unfavourable draw in just her second career start and her full sister Nesting Call has won twice over 1600m. SAMARRA’s best win was over course and distance and she has proved to be up to her current merit rating. She can come from off them, so the wide draw is not a major concern. NIKKI did well from a similarly wide draw over course and distance last time and should also be involved. MOVIE AWARD is an improving sort who is course and distance suited. However, she now has a wide draw to overcome and looks held by Nikki at the weights. BE MINE TONIGHT can be involved on form but as a handy to front-running type her wide draw is a concern. JIN-GO-LA-BA, AL HAWRAA and FEATHERFOOT are also difficult to ignore in a competitive event. (David Thiselton 11-3-10-5-6-1)

Race 6
Preview: MYTHICAL MAGIC should be coming into her own being by Silvano and has dropped to a competitive merit rating. As one capable of a strong finish her wide draw should not be a major concern and she should enjoy this course and distance under the fine hands of Raymond Danielson. The latter rode her in her penultimate start when she produced a late charge after being dropped out from a wide draw over the Turffontein Inside course. JO MAMBO pulled clear to win her maiden easily over this sort of trip and off a reasonable 77 merit has a chance. BECKONING is a courageous horse who always gives of her best and she should be thereabouts despite another tough draw and a five point higher mark for her last win. (David Thiselton 3-2-1)

Race 7
Preview: RAFEEF returned from a seven month layoff to win a Graduation Plate well over 1200m last time and he ran to a higher mark in that race than his new merit rating of 86 so has an easier task on paper in this handicap event. MIRACLE BUREAU should love this course and distance and he should be finishing strongly if running to his best with second time blinkers on. FIELDMARSHAL FENIX should relish the slight step up in trip from last time and is another who should be finishing strongly. SPORTING MONARCH was beaten 3,4 lengths by Rafeef last time and is now 1,5kg worse off, but as a speedy sort he should enjoy this fast course and distance. KAPELMEISTER can never be ignored over this course and distance having won over it three times. (David Thiselton 5-4-10-7-8)

Race 8
Preview: PENULTIMATE raced strongly in the front last time over 1400m before being run out of it by the promising Copper Pot. He looks likely to relish the step down to this trip, so can win it off an attractive merit rating. JOEY PIPER won well on debut over 1200m and the runner up then won next time out by 5,5 lengths so the form is strong and his merit rating of 77 looks attractive. DOLPHIN just failed against a promising sort last time over course and distance and his merit rating is only up one point. Strydom stays aboard. BARBEL RUN has an excellent course and distance record and proved last time he is off a competitive merit rating. In October last year he returned from a three month layoff to win easily over 1200m at the Vaal so the five month layoff he is returning from here should not be a major concern. MOMBELA makes breathing noises but has caught the eye over course and distance before. He has returned from over a year’s layoff to win before so is interesting here after a five month layoff in his second start after gelding, although Penultimate looks to be the stable elect. SPRING STEEL looks to have come into his own and, after winning easily over 1200m despite returning from a five month layoff last time out, he must have a shout off a five point higher mark with Delpech up. (David Thiselton 6-11-4-8-3-10)


Good weekend for Van Zyls
Published: 05 December 2016

Van Zyl stables combine for five winners...

Christmas came early for the Van Zyl clan over the weekend with father Gavin saddling a three-timer and son Gareth chipping in with a double at Scottsville yesterday.

Path To Glory was a popular winner to get the ball rolling for Van Zyl senior at Greyville, who followed up with Princess Analia in the eighth under replacement rider Brandon Lerena deputising for Warren Kennedy who took a horrendous fall in the previous race.

Gavin Van Zyl

Gavin Van Zyl

Out My Way clipped heels and came down heavily rolling over Kennedy who already has a metal plate in his face, the aftermath of a crashing fall in Port Elizabeth some years back.

According to Van Zyl, Kennedy was out of hospital yesterday and cuts and bruises apart, he was in good spirits although he will be side-lined for a few weeks.

Van Zyl rounded off his weekend treble as the three-year-old Just Vogue continues to show improvement and put a useful field to the sword in an Allowance Plate with the luckless Miss Varlicious back in second.

Van Zyl Jnr-trained Budapest, without a win since his surprise end-to-end victory in the Lanzerac Ready to Run two seasons’ back, finally got his act together in yesterday’s Pinnacle Stakes, showing a commanding turn of foot to put his race to bed in a matter of strides.

A horse with plenty of talent, he aversion to the stating stalls have been a headache for his connections but the fitting of pacifiers for his races appear to have calmed him down and his last three races have been without major incident.

“He’s always been a horse with talent but his own worst enemy,” Van Zyl said. “He can turn it on when he wants to. Going through the 400 it was a case of would he turn it on or not.” He did and replacement rider Alec Forbes did the rest.

Duncan Howells endured a weekend of mixed fortunes. Night At The Proms finally put his maiden behind him on Friday night and Madam Excess in spite of being “three-quarters done” had enough in hand to come back strongly to edge out Florrick in yesterday’s card opener.

Disappointment of the weekend was Dawn Calling in the World Sports Betting Cape Fillies Guineas. Piere Strydom, battling a slipped saddle on Final Judgement, was all over the track and Dawn Calling never got to finish her race. “It was a long way to go to have it end like that,” concluded a frustrated Howells.

By Andrew Harrison


First blood to Legal Eagle
Published: 05 December 2016

Legal Eagle takes first blood, but what about the rematch...

First blood to the defending champion. But the challenger and his entourage can hardly wait for the rematch on January 7, let alone the big money title fight three weeks later.

“Marinaresco had a dirty trach wash the previous week, we had to treat him and go a bit easy. Obviously that wasn’t ideal and they went quite hard which didn’t help either,” said Candice Bass-Robinson after her charge had run Legal Eagle to less than half a length in the WSB Green Point Stakes at Kenilworth on Saturday. Significantly she added, Queen’s Plate already in mind: “This is a horse who wants to win and that’s half the battle.”

Legal Eagle (Liesl King)

Legal Eagle (Liesl King)

Anton Marcus on the winner felt the game was up when Grant van Niekerk came off his tail and threw down the gauntlet in earnest – “I was a bit concerned when I had to go for my horse quite early and in the last half furlong I thought Grant was going to go past me. It’s a testament to my horse’s courage that he stuck his head out but this race proves there is very little between the two of them.”

Sean Tarry, though, made it clear that there will also be more to come from Markus Jooste’s Greys Inn gelding on Queen’s Plate day, saying: “I was a bit cheeky going into it with less work than I would normally do for a race of this stature.”

The third, Captain America, was over four lengths away with his pace-setting stable companion Sail South another three lengths further back but there were valid excuses for some of those down the field. Although the course vet could find nothing wrong Piere Strydom reported that he felt something amiss with Black Arthur (seventh) and Aldo Domeyer said the same about Helderberg Blue (last).

But perhaps the most telling explanation came from Mike Azzie for Triple Crown winner Abashiri who ran on into fifth after trailing the field much of the way. “I nearly took him out after the way he travelled – he didn’t eat for two and a half days. He now goes to Eric Sands’ yard and one of my assistants will come down to prepare him for the Queen’s Plate and the Met.”

Just Sensual (Liesl King)

Just Sensual (Liesl King)

The Majorca on January 28 looks like being the aim for Just Sensual who got up almost on the line to complete a notable double for Jooste and his retained jockey in the World Sports Betting Cape Fillies Guineas, landing some notable punts in the process. She was 16-1 on Thursday and was backed from 10-1 to 11-2 on the day. The Dynasty filly was bred by Majorca sponsors Klawervlei.

“We will probably go for the Majorca rather than the 1 800m of the Paddock Stakes but it’s not cast in stone. I have to discuss plans with Joey Ramsden,” said Derek Brugman who paid tribute to the trainer, saying: “He is something special and we are privileged having him train for us.”

Ramsden, who also won this race with Shadow Dancing 12 years ago, may be the effective first choice of the biggest spender in South African racing but he is certainly delivering the goods and, seemingly, he couldn’t understand why the pundits didn’t share his belief in the winner who has not been beaten since her debut in February – “She is very smart, I thought she was a big runner and I was surprised nobody else really liked her.”

She beat Safe Harbour a neck and, although there was more than three lengths back to third-placed favourite Querari Falcon, the next six were covered by less than a length in what proved to be a very rough race with the stipes spending almost as much time working out who was guilty of what as the Public Protector.

Search Party (Liesl King)

Search Party (Liesl King)

Final Judgement (eighth) was forced to ease and Piere Strydom had to contend with a slipping saddle almost from the start, Dawn Calling (12th) was hampered three times, Whose That Girl (tenth) was knocked off balance and gamble of the race Quick Brown Fox suffered more than any of them  (Greg Cheyne: “She got her legs taken out from under her”).

World Sports Betting realised they had got it horribly wrong almost as soon as they priced up Search Party at 25-1 last weekend. Punters showed them no mercy all week and the money continued on the day with Delma Sherrell’s gelding going off 7-2 joint favourite. Corne Orffer promptly made all to give Brett Crawford his first Cape Merchants.

Glen Kotzen is targeting the R1 million Kuda Sprint on Met day for Gold Image who led throughout under Richard Fourie in the first two-year-old race of the Cape season. “We pre-trained her for the CTS Ready To Run and I couldn’t see her getting beat,” he related.

By Michael Clower


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