Transvaal

1986 Gr1 SA Oaks

Julius Gaius Caesar's immortal words after subduing Gaul in 47 BC "veni vidi vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered", capture in a nutshell the success of trailer Terrance Millard's raid on the Transvaal feature-race season.

Millard's raiders encamped at the Vaal at the beginning of March and, in only two months, won more prize money than all but three Transvaal trainers had amassed since the season began last August.

Millard's training talents are so often extolled, so suffice to say that to overcome training conditions on the Highveld in a matter of weeks was a feat that could be achieved by only a master of the art.

Millard's raiders were easily repulsed in the early skirmishes. Tucaman finished unplaced in the Computaform Sprint followed by worse display from Texas in the Southern Sun Classic a week later.

Thereafter, Millard's runners plundered the richest jewels in the Transvaal feature crown – Bimbina won the R40 000 Helios Fillies and R150 000 Lancome Handicap, Enchanted Garden captured the R100 000 SA Oaks and Potomac took the R125 000 SA Derby.

The final battle of the features season took place at the R350 000 Sun International at Turffontein on May 3 and Millard's representatives, Enchanted Garden and Potomac, left the enemy in disarray. Enchanted Garden came home with three quarters of a length to spare over her stablemate, and the result earning the stable R270 000 in slightly more than two minutes.

Millard's raid on the Rand netted R537 350 and put the 56-year-old Maestro in line to become the first trainer to earn R2-million in prize-money in the season. Millard's earnings stood at R1,54-million on May 5 with the rich Natal season winter season to come.

Millard's raid was essentially an experiment. Sending runners through the Natal or by air from the Cape had brought limited success and Millard consequently decided to base a string on the Highveld in an attempt to beat the altitude.

The attempt approved to be an outstanding success and, to the chagrin of Transvaal trainers, Millard will return next season when he would like to give his charges at least six weeks to acclimatise.

The feature season was promoted professionally for the first time although on a small scale and produced some of the best racing seen on the Rand for years.

 

Computaform Sprint (Gr 1)

1986 Gr1 Computaform Sprint

The season, offering, R4,5 million in stakes opened with the R100 000 Computaform Sprint (Grade One) 1000 m at Gosforth Park on February 22, when trainer David Payne a rare feat in saddling the winner of the weight-for-age sprint for the fourth time in five years.

Payne's representative was Military Song, sent to his yard after flopping in the SA Airways and Joseph Dorfman Memorial Plate.

Military Song finished unplaced in the Cape Flying Championship at Milnerton in February in his first start for Payne but had been with his new trainer for a scant four weeks.

It was a different story for the Computaform Sprint. The three-year-old colt looked a picture in the parade ring and, although as usual failing to stride out freely in the canter to the start, came back in fluent style.

Firm favourite at 17-10, Military Song shared the lead with Dolphin Ditty, Moccasin, Charming Harry and Forest Lad in the early stages. Military Song and Dolphin Ditty had pulled a length ahead of the opposition at halfway and Payne's charge sealed the outcome as he forged clear of Dolphin Ditty racing into the last 200m.

Prince of Pride (10-1) came with a late rush to reduce Military Song's winning margin to a length while Speedwona and Dolphin Ditty finished third and fourth.

Payne, previously successful with War Ribbon (1992), Smackeroo (1984) and Tucaman (1985) was presented with a special award in recognition of his feats in the Computaform Sprint at the Gosforth Park annual dinner in March.

Military Song was later offered for sale in absentia (he finished second in the Concord Stakes at Greyville the next day) and the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association inaugural "Thoroughbred Star Invitational Sales" at Sun City on May 5.

A son of Group One-placed Song of Songs, Military Song fetched a top bid of R175 000 but this was well below the R500 000 required by owner Vic Bradford.

 

Southern Sun Classic (Gr1)

1986 Gr1 Southern Sun Classic

Gosforth Park's race of the year and the country's richest classic, the R300 000 Southern Sun Classic, was held at Gosforth Park week after the Computaform Sprint.

The race was dominated by Jungle Rock, a late-maturing son of twice champion sire Jungle Cove, and Another Treat, sent up from Natal by Payne.

Jungle Rock was coming off the victory in the Dingaans and attracted strong support on course to start favourite at 33-10 with Another Treat, voted Champion Two-Year-Old last season, quoted at the fractionally longer odds of 7-2.

The blood of Jungle Rocks supporters chilled when their choice was slow into stride from the outside draw in a 16-strong field, but Christie Blom immediately put the big grey colt to work to make up the leeway.

Jungle Rock circled the field, hampering several horses in the process, and was settled in third place behind Whisky Bravo and Ethereal with Another Treat racing about seven lengths off the pace in the middle of the field.

Blom shot Jungle Rock past a tiring Whisky Bravo moments after the fields turned into the 500m run-in and the outcome then became a formality.

Jungle Rock gave his supporters another fright by veering left when Blom showed him the whip 300m from home but soon straightened up and ran on to win by 2 ½ lengths from Another Treat, who held fast-finishing Doubly Sure out of second place by a neck.

Jungle Rock, fast becoming the most popular horse in training on the Rand, returned to a tumultuous welcome although there was barely enough room for him in the No 1 box.

The colt is owned by the Lawn Syndicate, which compromises no fewer than seven members including dentists, doctors and an accountant.

Jungle Rock was the first yearling bought by the syndicate. Founder members Gerald Sacks and brothers Ivan and Alan Friedlander have had horses with "Spike" Lerena for several years but before Jungle Rock had restricted their buys to horses in training.

Jungle Rock was expensive yearling. Bred by the Scott brothers at Highdown Stud in Natal, he is the second foal of British-born Roxburgh Belle (winner of eight races in SA) and cost R105 000 at the 1984 National Yearling Sales, that being the last bid the Lawn Syndicate was prepared to make.

Jungle Rock was subsequently to fail in the Sun International but the Lawn Syndicate can have few complaints about their first venture into the yearling market.

The Southern Sun Classic victory was Jungle Rock's fourth from eight career starts and rocketed his earnings to R340 290.

The Sun Classic did not have a happy ending for Blom. He was found guilty of causing interference on Jungle Rock and was suspended three weeks.

 

Bimbina (Arg)

1986 Gr3 Helios Fillies

Millard posted his first winner in the Transvaal in 14 years in the R40 000 Helios Fillies (Grade Three) over 1400 m at Turffontein on March 8.

He saddled Bimbina, who had shot into the limelight two months previously when scoring a shock victory over much-vaunted contemporary and stablemate Ecurie in the Highlands Stud Classic at Milnerton.

Millard did not think Bimbina was at a peak for the Helios and she started at the relatively generous price of 16-10 with local filly Eileen Alanna second choice at 18-10.

The race merits description for Bimbina pulled off sensational victory after being jerked into a walk halfway down the straight.

Held sixth in the field of 10 runners through the turn, Bimbina bore down on the leaders along the inside rail 500m out. Suddenly, Let's Do It switched to the inside of the pacemaker for a run and shut the door in Bimbina's face, leaving champion jockey Felix Coetzee with the choice of stopping his mount in her tracks or taking a closer look at the car park.

Coetzee snatched Bimbina up and switched left, the Argentinian-bred filly then staging an amazing recovery to tag Eileen Alanna inside the last 100 m and win going away by a length.

Bimbina landed a bigger fish in the R 150 000 Lancome Handicap (Grade One) for fillies and mares over 1600m Gosforth Park a few weeks later.

Hot favourite at 11-10, Bimbina would have been at shorter odds had stablemate Up The Creek, who failed to find her form in the Transvaal, not drawn good support and started second favourite at 28-10.

French-bred filly Confettine dictated the gallop through the turn followed by Up The Creek with Bimbina poised to strike in third along the running rail.

Bimbina did just that as first Up The Creek and then Confettine tired, bursting ahead racing into the last 200m and holding Eileen Alanna by three parts of a length with Kamadeva half a length further back in third place.

The win improved Bimbina's already impressive record of six wins from 10 starts and she headed off to Natal for the winter season with earnings of R364 928.

 

Oaks and Derby for Millard

In between Bimbina's victories, Millard captured the R100 000 SA Oaks and the colts equivalent.

Enchanted Garden, later to write her name into racing record books by becoming the first three-year-old filly to win the sun International since the race was first run in 1897, started 7-10 favourite for the SA Oaks (Grade One) over the Turffontein 2 450m on March 31.

The filly had suffered a nose defeat at the hands of Shotgun Wedding (received 6.5 kg) in the Oaks Trial previously in her first start for Millard and looked sure to have the minimum of difficulty in turning the tables on her conqueror at level weights.

That she did without fuss and it was left to Shotgun Wedding's then stablemate Whisky Bravo to provide the main opposition.

Enchanted Garden was one of four runners on the heels of pacemaking Striking turning into the straight and took over 500m out, drawing into a six-length lead at the 200m pole.

Whisky Bravo produced a sustained finishing run to save the race from becoming a procession but Enchanted Garden won with 3 ½ lengths to spare in race-record time.

Potomac added the R150 000 SA Derby (Grade One) to Milliard's list of triumphs five days later.
1986 Gr1 SA Derby

Previously a runaway winner of the 2000m Cape of Good Hope Derby at Kenilworth, the Argentinean-bred colt started favourite at 8-10.

His chief rivals in the betting market were promising colt Lines Of Power (3-1) who had bypassed the Southern Sun Classic in favour of the Derby, and Doubly Sure (5-1), a strong-finishing third from last place in the Southern Sun Classic.

Lines Of Power's trainer Turffontein-based Ormond Ferraris, wanted to weep seconds after the start.

The last place Ferraris wanted to see Lines Of Power in the early stages was in front but jockey Jeffrey Lloyd bustled the colt at the break and this notoriously hard puller ran his way to the front.

Potomac, held fifth through the turn, came under pressure long before Lines Of Power in the straight but wore his rival down running into the last 200m.

It was one-way traffic thereafter and Potomac pounded clear to win by five lengths from Doubly Sure, who cut Lines Of Power out of second place in the last stride.

Potomac, a son of French-bred Liloy, who now stands in Kentucky after featuring prominently in sires' lists in Argentina, was registering his eighth win 11 starts. He is owned in partnership by Des Scott, Luke Bailes and former Turffontein chairman Laurie Jaffee.

Hottest two-year-old on the Transvaal scene is Main Man, who jockey Gerald Turner has said is better than the mighty Home Guard was at this stage of his career.

 

Main Man 1986 Gr1 SA Nursery Futurity Plate

Home Guard won 11 races in a row before suffering his first defeat at the hands of Naval Escourt in the 1969 Rothmans July Handicap, which gives Main Man a tough reputation to live up to.

The cold has yet to put a foot wrong. Odds-on favourite in winning his first two encounters by wide margins, Main Man was sent off at 6-10 to maintain his unbeaten record in the R75 000 SA Nursery Plate (Grade One) over 1200m at Turffontein on March 15.

Main Man never gave bookmakers one moment's cause for optimism. After disputing the lead on the bridle in the early stages, he began to assert his superiority 400m from home and went on to win by a comfortable three lengths from Lord de Grey, who held second place by half a length from faster-finishing Your Affair.

The victory hardly entitled Main Man to comparison with Home Guard but Turner, who has ridden the colt in all three outings, was satisfied. He said afterwards that he could feel that Main Man was not yet 100 percent right.

Trainer Jean Heming hopes that Turner is right but has not yet begun to proclaim her charge as SA's next champion racehorse. In fact, before the SA Nursery she said that she thought that another of her charges, King Free, might be on a par with Main Man.

King Free, unbeaten in his first two outings, started 6-1 second favourite in the Nursery on the strength of that opinion but ran an inexplicably poor race and finished last of the 16 runners.

Main Man, a R35 000 yearling buy by Trocadero (deceased) and a half-brother to feature-winning My Magic, netted R78 250 for the Nursery win - R47 000 from the base stake and another R31 250 from the TBA futurity fund.

Main Man's next start will be the R75 000 Smirnoff Plate, which Heming won with Moccasin in 1983.

 

Two-year-old feature races

The two-year-olds were again under the spotlight at Gosforth Park on April 26, when the programme featured a double juvenile feature - the R100 000 TAB Transvaal Juvenile Colts and Geldings Stakes and the R50 000 TAB Transvaal Juvenile Fillies Futurity Stakes, which carried an added R50 000 from the TBA futurity fund.

Both races carry Grade One status and are run over 1600m.

Although the races carry the names of TAB Transvaal they are no longer sponsored by the off-course organisation. Transvaal provincial authorities said last year that it might be contrary to the ordinance governing TAB Transvaal for the organisation to promote itself through the sponsorship of races.

Consequently, Gosforth Park footed the bill this year but it is hoped to recover the money from the Development Fund.

The race for colts and geldings was fought out by Desert Legend, Cloud High and Natal visitor Raised Status.

Cloud High went ahead approaching the 200m mark but couldn't match the finishing efforts of Raised Status and 2-1 favourite Desert Legend, who got the verdict by a neck.

Desert Legend, an improving son of Caerdeon and a full-brother to feature winner Desert Sheik, is owned by Tony Factor and gave the discount king the biggest success of his career as an owner.

Factor has high hopes for Desert Legend, whose remaining mission this season is the R75 000 Administrator's Champion Futurity Stakes over 1400m at Greyville in July.

The fillies' race fell to Natal challenger Point with Pride (Rollins - Full of Promise), who stretched her unbeaten sequence to three in mastering Believe It and Champion Chick close to home.

Point with Pride might have been a lucky winner. Island Paradise, previously successful in the Breeders' Fillies Champion Stakes at Turffontein, started 16-10 favourite but lost her winning chance in the early stages.

After a fast start, she was forced to drop back to second last of the 13 runners through the turn and did well to finish only 2 ½ lengths behind in fourth place.

Robert Garner
(Racing Editor, The Star)

 

 

Western Cape

Terrance Millard must have a strong claim to being the first Cape trainer to break the altitude barrier successfully. So far he has contested four major races in the Transvaal and won them all. If his winners hold their form and do not go flat, as so many Cape horses have after racing in the Transvaal, his acclimatization period will have proved itself.

The implications of this break-through are considerable, particularly for Cape racing. For every Cape owner with a horse of more than average ability will be only too keen now to have a crack at the well-endowed Transvaal feature races which precede and follow the Cape summer season.

One can hardly blame them. After all, who would race for a stake of R20 000 or even R40 000 at home when there are stakes of R100 000 and often much more being offered in the Transvaal? Stakes that are not all that difficult to win, it seems, the opposition, with a few notable exceptions, being by no means formidable.

The rub for Cape racing lies in the acclimatization period. Cape horses wishing to contest races in the early Transvaal season will have to leave well before the Cape summer season to acclimatize, and those wishing to contest races in the main Transvaal season will have to leave immediately after the Metropolitan and the Guineas.

This means that the Cape summer season, which grows shorter every year, could be constricted even further; it could well start with the Queen's Plate and end a mere month later with the Guineas; and many of the good horses whose presence was taken for granted between mid-December and March could be missing.

There is no question that interest in racing at the Cape is sustained by the summer season and that this interest will dwindle if the season shortens and the quality deteriorates. There are too many other forms of entertainment at the Cape to make racing's claims inviolable.

Perhaps this is unduly pessimistic. There are those who see the break-through as the dawn of a glorious new racing era with horses moving freely from one centre to another throughout the year and everyone benefitting.

Unfortunately, this is a simplistic view. There is a limit to the amount of racing horses can do; they have to be rested at some stage. And with things as they are it seems likely that the Cape, with its ideal climate, will become increasingly more the "resting place" and the Transvaal and Natal, with their higher stakes, increasingly more the "racing places".

Certainly visiting trainers do not show the same interest in the Cape summer season as they once did. Six of their horses contested the Administrator's Trophy, run a week after the Guineas, and that was the end. The Rex Trueform Fillies Championship, the Cape of Good Hope Derby, the Southern Cross Stakes and the Cape of Good Hope Nursery Futurity, all once attractions, were ignored.

 

Symbolize

The Administrator's Trophy over Milnerton's far-bend 1800m was a triumph for owner-trainer Greg Ennion. His seven-year-old Brer Rabbit (GB) gelding Symbolize ran the race of his life to take command at the 400-marker and keep going to give Shu Shine Boy 3 kg and a one-length beating.

Most of Symbolize's early successes were over the sprint courses, but Ennion, who bought him for a mere R2 000, felt his breeding indicated that he would be even more effective over a middle distance. And how right he was. This was Symbolize's fifth feature race win for him over a middle distance, and, for a stake of R40 000, his biggest.

Only seven runners contested the GrII Rex Trueform Fillies Championship over the Kenilworth 1800m, Terrance Millard's brilliant charge Ecurie (Arg) obviously having frightened all other opposition away. Hardly surprisingly, she was sent out a 1/5 favourite with 12/1 and longer being offered about the others.

It was no race. Ecurie (Arg) moved easily on the rail in third position, no more than 2 lengths off the pace, and once in the straight made her move. She took command just outside the 200-marker and strode away under a hands-and-heels ride to beat Foxy Foxtrot by 5 ¼ lengths.

Yet another of the Millard-stable's star Argentine-bred fillies (she is by Liloy out of the El Gran Capitan mare Elyses) Ecurie was recording her seventh win from nine starts for her owners, Mr K.M. Mackenzie and Mr and Mrs C.G. Tracey. With two places also to her credit - a second in the Highlands Stud Classic and the Richelieu Guineas - she has now earned more than R220 000 in stakes.

 

Cape of Good Hope Derby

If the Rex Trueform Fillies Championship was a pushover for Ecurie (Arg) so was the Gr1 Cape of Good Hope Derby Stakes for Potomac (Arg), who may yet prove to be the best colt Millard has imported from the Argentine. Like Ecurie 9Arg), he is by Liloy, but out of the Martinet mare Pierina.

Potomac (Arg), too, was sent out an odds-on favourite, firming to 6/10 before the off, and he never gave those prepared to lay the odds an uneasy moment. He coasted just off the pace till turning into the straight and then sprinted away to win by 7 lengths. This and his subsequent win in the South African Derby leave no doubt that he is far and away the most promising three-year-old in the country over middle distances. He races in the interests of Mr D.i. Scott, Mr T.L. Bailes and Mr L. Jaffee.

In the Gr II Southern Cross Stakes Sunera (GB) was sent out the shortest-priced favourite of the Cape season, starting at 1/10 with 8/1 and longer being offered about her five rivals.

The race provided one of the biggest surprises of the summer. Far from cruising away from her rivals on a tight rein as expected, Sunera (GB) found Sea Shore going with her from the 400-marker. She drew ½ length clear at the 200-marker, but Sea Shore was far from beaten and came again over the final 100m, the two going through the post together. It took two photo-finish pictures to separate them, Sunera (GB) getting the verdict by the proverbial whisker.

Trained by Terrance Millard, the English-bred Sunera, by Radetzky out of the Song mare Sister Angelica, was carrying the colours of her new owners, Mr R.A. Ross and Mr A.J.F. Gardiner, for the first time.

Winner of the second feature race on the card that day, the Gr III Southern Sun Handicap over 3 200m, was the outsider Free Town. He came forward to challenge the odds-on favourite Tensing approaching the 200-marker - Tensing falling away and finishing lame - and he ran on strongly to give All Wool 5,5 kg and a one-length beating.

Free Town, a four-year-old by Free Ride (GB) out of the Prince Ribot mare Fabrication, is one of the most promising stayers at the Cape - and one who conceivably could aspire to greater things. He is trained by Geoff Winshaw for Mr L. Robinson, Mr P.B. Daly and Mrs B. Winshaw.

 

Veteran Stayer

A veteran stayer who does not appear to have lost his stamina or his zest is seven-year-old Hawkins, winner of the Gold Cup and Gold Vase way back in 1983. Having his second outing after an absence of nearly a year, he caught the eye going down for the Syd Garrett Handicap over 2000m - a distance rather short of his best - and he finished very strongly to take third place only 2 lengths behind War Raider conceding 3 kg. It would come as no surprise to see him contesting the Gold Cup and Gold Vase during the Natal winter season, for he looks as good as ever he did.

Guy Rixon is only in his second season as a trainer, but he is already making his mark. He has done particularly well with his juveniles this season, winning more than 10 juvenile races, including the Fillies Nursery Stakes over the Milnerton 1000m.

He sent out three runners for the race, including the 18/10 favourite Portcullis, but it was the lesser fancied Lady Hotspur, a 7/1 chance, who obliged. She came from just off the pace with a strong finish over the final 150m to get the better of the smart filly Tacos by ¾ length clocking a useful 59,6 seconds.

A daughter of Harry Hotspur, Lady Hotspur is out of the NewSouth Wales mare Gala Lady who traces back to Callini, a half-sister to Air Travel and dam of the smart performer Presidium whose nine wins included the Clairwood Merchants. Lady Hotspur carried the colours of Mr J.P. Uys.

 

Smartest two-year-old

But far and away the smartest two-year-old seen at the Cape this season is Bush Telegraph, the winner of the Gr II Cape of Good Hope Nursery Futurity.

It is no exaggeration to say that he toyed with his rivals. Coming from about 2 lengths off the pace, he took command at the 400-marker and, shaking off Quick Sylvan, strode away to pass the post with 3 lengths to spare from Ace Pilot, easing up in the closing stages. His time was outstanding for a two-year-old, being only 1,4 seconds outside the record and almost a second faster than Izindaba's in the top division half an hour earlier, Izindaba carrying 2 kg less.

Bert Abercrombie trains Bush Telegraph for Mr and Mrs Graham Beck and Mr and Mrs Laurie Jaffee. He is by Jungle Cove (USA) out of Maiden Over, a half-sister to Lords (SNL) and dam of the nine-time winner Waikato. It will be interesting to see who he fares against the Transvaal champion Main Man whom he may well meet in the Smirnoff.

In passing, it is worth noting the good performances of two other horses, both sprinters, Heavenly Boy and Izindaba. Heavenly Boy, who had lingered in the second division for many moons, came into his own with an end-to-end win in the Gordon Kirkpatrick Handicap over the Milnerton 1000m. He then took on a strong field in the Jack Stubbs memorial Handicap over the same course and distance and repeated the performance, passing the post nearly 2 lengths clear of Mexican Peace to whom he was conceding 3,5 kg. The wins were a triumph for his trainer Guy Rixon, who has got something extra from the five-year-old gelding since taking him over.

Izindaba underlined her ability with two smart victories in top division 1200m events. On the first occasion she raced into the lead going through the 200-marker to hold the well-performed Chili Bite (gave 8kg) to 1 ¼ lengths without any difficulty and on the second took the lead 50m out and ran on strongly to hold Mexican Peace (received 3,5 kg) to 1 ¾ lengths.

This was Izindaba's tenth win and eleventh place from 23 starts for her owners, Mr S.C. Shub and Mr F. M. Ratner. Undoubtedly one of Politician's best daughters she is out of the Persian Wonder (GB) mare Stop Press. She is trained by Alex Nicholas.

 

Bigger Crowds

A most heartening aspect of racing in recent weeks has been the bigger crowds at the course - this in spite of fields diminishing in size and quality and an autumn lethargy descending on the scene.

At first the bigger crowds were ascribed to the boost received from the special days for charity, students and the like, but they persisted, even over the Easter weekend, usually rather a flat session, and more surprisingly, even on the dull Wednesday which followed.

The following Saturday one was forced to take notice. A bigger than usual crowd came to the course again, and he programme was one of the worst for a long while, with not even a top division feature event to brighten proceedings. And the crowd not only came, but it stayed to the bitter end.

Of course, the weather was perfect, the Cape at its very best, but this could just as well have tempted people to the mountains, beaches, rivers. But why did the bigger crowds suddenly come to the racecourse? If it were possible to find an answer the local turf clubs would pay a fortune to have it.

It is not only the local turf clubs that are worried about racing in Cape Town; the Western Province Owners' and Trainers' Association is, too. At the annual meeting of the Association the chairman, Mr Harold Bowman, flayed trainers for their lack of interest and support. But only five out of a possible 40 turned up to hear him; the owners were left to fill the seats.

"On many occasions I call urgent meetings to discuss matters of great importance with them and I never get more than a 25 percent turnout," he said.

"The sizes of fields in Cape Town are still a worry and I consider that we need at least 1500 horses in training in this centre to make racing viable. At present we have only 1050. This does not allow for trainers to go to Natal and the Transvaal during their seasons.

"We will have to get extra stables or have fewer races. This winter will see us having seven races at Wednesday meetings and eight at Saturday meetings. And it could be even worse than this. Since a race must have at least six runners this will be difficult to maintain."

 

Scarcity of stables

IN their apathy towards anything that does not concern them immediately, the majority of Cape trainers probably are no different from the majority of their colleagues elsewhere; but as far as the scarcity of stables goes, the Cape has only itself to blame. It does not make the best use of what it has.

It is incredible, for instance, that trainers are allowed to use subsidized stables on the racecourse for horses that are not racing fit and are not likely to be so for many months. Entries confirm that no Cape trainer has more than 30 horses racing fit at any given period, yet some of them have from 80 to 100 horses occupying subsidized stables.

More use should be made of spelling farms or stables elsewhere for horses that have broken down or are being rested. This would provide accommodation for horses ready to race - and, with several young trainers just waiting to bring in strings of 20 and 30, there is no shortage of them.

But it is a pretty safe bet that nothing will be done; that the status quo will remain. More stables will be built eventually, but these will be filled, and the whole sad state of things will be perpetuated.

Anyway, the Cape can be grateful for one thing. Its horses are the best in the country, for the moment at least, and no other centre can match its climate. With this in its favour, there is a fair chance that Cape racing will go on its own inimitable way - winning in the Transvaal, winning in Natal, and surviving the bleak winter months of home racing that lie ahead.

Recondite

 

Natal

A year back Cape raiders Terrance Millard and Ralph Rixon were soon into winning stride in Natal and closed the season with the lion's share of the prize money. Twelve months later a repeat performance appears to be very much on the cards.

At the time of writing, Millard's immaculately turned out and trained-to-the minute Thoroughbreds have yet to be unleashed in Natal, but if his long overdue successes in the Transvaal are anything to go by, he will again be up there in the forefront of stakes earners when the season draws to a close in a few months time.

With Millard making an unaccustomed detour to the Transvaal before taking up temporary residence in Natal, Ralph Rixon drew first blood for the Cape when Del Sarto gelding Village Deep, having his first outing since mid-January andeasy to back at 8-8, carried too many guns for the opposition in Greyville's2400 Stayers' Handicap on March19. One runner, one winner was an encouraging start forRixon.

Three days later he added another two winners to his '86 Natal list when Proud Turn, unplaced behind the flying Argentinian filly Bimbina in Turffontein's Helios Fillies a fortnight earlier, had to survive an objection before being confirmed as the winner o a B division Greyville 1900m and Whitehorn, a 14-1 chance, finished with a powerful run to win well over 1600m.

The Hobnob filly Cameo was a lot more respected in the betting when the stable next sent out a representative. Never in danger of defeat as an odds-on favourite, she had nearly four lengths to spare over her nearest rivals in a field of maiden three- and four-year-olds at Clairwood.

It was only a matter of time before the stable got among the stakes winners and did just that three days later when the Really and Truly gelding Full Charge was just outside race record time of 2:03,5 in winning Clairwood's 2000m listed Easter Handicap from Bataan, Tungsten and Royal Play (NZ). In saddling this winner, Rixon had accounted for the first three legs of the jackpot, having earlier sent out Bullion Best and With Wonder to win their respective races.

J&B Metropolitan winner Wild West, in his first appearance since scoring at Kenilworth, added to the Rixon winter season earnings with a forward-showing second to classy but somewhat unpredictableBodrum over 1600m at Greyville and then followed a second stakes victory for the stable when Sea Shore was far too good for a small field in the w.f.a. Stannic Poinsettia Stakes over Greyville's 1200m.

Only eight fillies and mares came out for this listed race but it was a useful field of distaffers, among which were Dolphin Ditty and Welsh Woman, first two in the '85 running of the race, and Duzzon, who had taken the honours the previous year. Dolphin Ditty was a short-priced favourite to repeat her success of twelve months earlier, but after being prominent early, faded out to be 9 ½ lengths last.
1986 Gr3 Poinsettia Stakes

Rixon-trained Copper de Luxe four-year-old Sea Shore, who had run the exceptionally fast Sunera (GB)to a short-head in Kenilworth's 1000m southern Cross Stakes (Gr II) at her previous start, was a well-backed second choice for the Poinsettia and fully justified the confidence placed in her. In touch from the breakout, she sprinted clear in the straight to score a facile victory by the best part of five lengths from English mare Boezinge, 1-1-1-2-2 in her previous five appearances, with Welsh Woman (Ire) a short-head back in third spot.

The partnership of trainer Rixon and jockey Greg Holme had registered an earlier winner at the meeting when Village Deep made it two in a row in Natal with a 7 ¼ length romp over 2300m and stamp himself as a pretty useful staying sort.

Another four winners took Ralph Rixon's number of winners in Natal from March through to the end of April to an impressive thirteen, a figure which is certain to be considerably added to before his string returns to its Cape base after the winter season.

 

Kannemeyer-trained winners

Peter Kannemeyer, also from the Peninsula, is another raider from the south who had not been slow in collecting expenses for his Natal campaign.

He fired his opening salvo with a double-barrelled charge in Scottsville's 1400m Datnis Nissan Handicap, sending out Peri-Peri gelding Chili Bite, second in his last three appearances, and Splendid Isle, who followed up a B division win with a good third to Symbolize and Shu Shine Boy at his last start. This was where the confidence lay for Splendid Isle to start a 16-10 favourite.

Clean Break, from the Rixon stable, adopted his customary front-running role and was soon in a clear lead which he extended as the field swung into the straight. He was still in front going into the final two hundred metres when Splendid Isle unleashed his challenge to join issue. The result was in doubt until the final stride and the camera had to be called up on to decide the outcome. In a time only ,06 seconds outside the class record set by Prontisimo (Arg), Splendid Isle got the nod by a short-head from Clean Break with Expertise three lengths back third.

Kannemeyer was quick to turn that success into a double when four days later Penny Chocolate - second choice in the betting to stable companion Sabre Point - was little roubled to score by a length over Clairwood's 1200m.

Showing the strength of the Cape hand in Natal this season, Kannemeyer added another two winners to his list at the following meeting through Waiting Game and Velozia. Waiting Game had no trouble in putting aside the opposition in a C division 1800m, while Velozia was majestic in her treatment of her rivals in the 1600m Keep Durban Beautiful Handicap, a race which had attracted only six runners but included Full Charge, winner of the Easter Handicap at his previous start, and Shu Shine Boy, touched off in the Chris Smith Bloodstock Guineas last season and runner-up to Symbolize in the Administrator's Trophy (Gr III0 at Milnerton at his previous start.

Lightly weighted Jungle Cove gelding Bataan set out to make every post a winning one while Velozia was content to trail the field early. Once in line for home, Velozia accelerated smoothly along the fence and it was soon clear that she had the race at her mercy. Without being unduly extended, the Del Sarto four-year-old, who the previous season had lowered the brilliant Petrava (ZN)'s colours in the Rex Trueform Fillies Championship, bounded home by a widening 2 ½ lengths.

This win was some measure of consolation for Velozia, who had been second in the Cape of Good Hope Paddock Stakes (Gr 1), Sidney Benjamin Handicap and Majorca Stakes (Gr III) at her three previous starts.

 

African Breeders Stakes

African Breeders' Stakes meeting at Greyville was a memorable one for jockey Basil Marcus, for although he was beaten into second spot on Foveros colt Enforce colt Enforce in the main race, he nevertheless succeeded in booting home his hundredth winner of the season when he partnered the David Fox bred Volcanic speedster The Barbican in the chief sprint. This keeps this highly competent rider right up there with a chance of collecting his first national jockeys title. It wasn't a bad day's work for Marcus with two winners and sic places on the nine-race card.

Former jockey John McCreedy has always doe well with his juveniles and this season is no exception. His World Affair colt Fast Affair, a R19 000 purchase at the '85 national yearling sales, had been third to Enforce and the Windy at his debut and showed a lot more experience when trotting in b 7 ¼ lengths next time out. The African Breeders was his third outing. Taking over at the subway, he held off a late-rallying Enforceby a neck with another son of Foveros in Powder Keg filling third spot.

Ricky Maingard's charge Fair Value, a surprise winner when he held favoured Yamani at bay in Turffontein's GrII John Skeaping Trophy last year, was responsible for yet another upset when he got up in the final stride to edge 33-1 chance Tungsten out of first money for the listed King's Cup overGreyville's1600m. With the top two in the betting - Clean Break andViburnum - down the field and Rothmans July Handicap winnerGondolier, having his first race since the J&B Metropolitan, running on into third, it wasnot surprising that the trifecta paid a whopping R13 235.

 

Kirklevington

Doug Campbell trains a useful sort in Kirklevington, a juvenile of Caerdeon from Noble Chieftain matron Aber Anne. A good buy at R17 000 on select day last year, the colt won first time out, only to be beaten at his next start. However, he came back a fortnight later to make it two out of three going into the thousand metre Durban Nursery Stakes at Greyville. This was one of those extremely confident races one so often sees Michael Roberts ride. He took Kirklevington into an immediate lead, poached an even bigger break approaching the subway and then went on to score comfortably by two lengths from Xeros and the maiden Eyedeebee with the favourite Spanish Cross a well beaten fourth.

 

Rupert Ellis Brown Memorial

Clairwood's 120m Rupert Ellis Brown Memorial Plate has seen some useful three-year-olds finish in the money over the years and this year's running was no exception despite the fact that the top three in the better were out of the placings. The race can best be described as a cavalry charge from the moment the pens were sprung with a wall of horses across the track as the nineteen runners battled for supremacy. Two hundred metres out it was still anybody's race but in the closing stages, Ricky Maingard's lightly raced Harry Hotspur colt Joyful Harry emerged from the pack for victory by three parts of a length. He has now won four of eight starts and only once been out of the money and looks a cheap buy at R26 000 from the '84 national yearling sales. He's from the same family as Natal Guineas winners Run Free and Prince of Freedom.

David Payne's Another Treat, voted top juvenile colt of the previous season, finished full of running for second money, a short-head in front of Richelieu Guineas winner Sea Warrior, having his first race since showing considerable waywardness at the start of Gosforth Park's Southern Sun Classic.

The showing of the first three provided some measure of encouragement for Natal stables for the more important sophomore events of the winter season.

Royal Prerogative colt Crown, a distant fourteenth of sixteen in the Cape Derby, was back to a distance which appeared more o his liking when downing Terrance Millard's Rothmans July Handicap entry Occult in Clairwood's 1400m Sprint Handicap.

Occult, who had been 1-1-1-2-2 in his last five starts, eased from odds-on to 2-1 before the off and all but grabbed the honours. The Kama gelding was prominent throughout but it was perhaps the fact that the Kannemeyer-trained Crown secured first run when he slipped through on the fence in the straight, that made the difference between victory and defeat. Crown had the lead inside the final two hundred metres and although Occult was closing with every stride, the line came just too soon for the Kannemeyer entry to post a long-head victory. Occult can only improve with the race - his first since early January - but doesn't appear "July" class.

 

Clairwood Nursery Stakes (Gr3)

The Daylight Robbery horse Tucson was a top class sprinter in his day, winning twelve races including the Jack Stubbs Memorial, Newbury Chairmans Stakes and Ascot Summer Sprint. He hasn't had too many mares since retiring to stud in '81, but this could certainly be rectified if he continues to throw gallopers like the juvenile colt Sloop.

Alf van de Vyver, who had raced that good horse Destroyer before selling him to the United States, went to only R7 000 to secure the Prince Tor filly Sister Ship at the '78 national yearling sales. The filly won him four races and was many times placed at three and four years and was then retired to stud. Barren first time round when sent to Peaceable Kingdom (USA), Sister Ship was then mated to Tucson, the resultant progeny being Sloop.

Sent to Robert Sivewright, he had also trained Destroyer - Sloop showed himself to be a cut above average. Third of fifteen first time out in March this year, the colt opened his winning account next time out as an odds-on favourite and was again the popular choice when extending his winning run at his third start.

The Clairwood Nursery Stakes (Gr II) over 1200m was next on his programme and the colt made no mistake after being prominent from the start and then going on to hold the favourite Fast Affair at bay by half a length. Sloop, from the same family as stakes winners Symbolise, Mile High and Arab Steed, is now to be pointed at the Smirnoff Plate (Gr 1) over Scottsville's 1200m, a race won by Destroyer in 1979.

 

1986 31 Club Fillies Stakes
The Jungle Cove - Over Royal juvenile filly Divine Forest, the then highest priced yearling sold at auction in SA, making R240 000 at last year's national sales, had made a spectacular track debut when she bolted home by 5 ½ lengths as a -10 favourite at Milnerton during January. Back in Natal with Alistair Gordon's team, she was a 1-3 favourite to maintain her unbeaten record in the 31 Club FilliesStakes, run over 1000m the same day as the King's Cup. Divine Forest looked all over the winner inside the final hundred metres when jockey Jeff Lloyd brought the Kalamaika filly Calamity Fair along with a late dash to get up for a long-head victory and thereby given trainer Clive Hyde a welcome return to feature race success.

With the favourites out if it in all four legs of the jackpot on King's Cup day, it was not surprising that there were only three winning tickets and a dividend of R96 218,90.

This was the second narrow defeat for an Alistair Gordon feature runner in three days, his English horse Mauritzfontein going under by a long-head to High Wonder in the R50 000 Newmarket Turf Club Stakes after having encountered considerable traffic problems in running. Mauritzfontein (GB) started favourite for that race on the strength of a brilliant trial a fortnight earlier.

The race chosen as the prep for Mauritzfontein (GB) was Scottsville's 2000m Aluminium Centenary Handicap and the seven-year-old, under topweight of 58kg, was backed almost to the exclusion of the other runners, and so he should have been, considering his previous record. Racing easily off the pace during the early part, Mauritzfontein (GB) slipped into top gear half-way down he straight and the race was all over bar the shouting as he cruised to a widening 2 ½ length win in 2:02,52 - only ,12 seconds off the class record, which would have been a mere formality had he been pushed out.

 

Three-year-olds

Captain's Pride colt Regents Pride strung some useful performances together as a juvenile and early second-termer before a seventh place finish in yielding going in Model Man's SA Invitation Stakes at Scottsville. The Willie Pieters trained colt then had a three-month break from active competition before coming out for a B division sixteen hundred at Greyville. He was a fluent winner as a short-priced favourite and although he beat nothing of note, it was the manner in which he scored that impressed. Some ten lengths off the leasers turning for home, he burst through the field in the straight to win on the bit by more than three lengths. This colt will more than pay his way during his track career.

The Patrick Lunn trained Elliodor colt Model Man, beaten for the first time when eighth in Sea Warrior's Richelieu Guineas (Gr1) at Milnerton, was back in winning form at his first start since that defeat when sent out for a B division fourteen hundred at Scottsville. A 3-10 favourite, he had to be pushed out for his length and a half win but he is certain to be a better horse for the race. Interesting to note that nearly ten lengths behind him that day was Hazel Nut, winner of her two previous starts, which added to the merits of the Lunn colt's performance.

 

Top fillies for Riverholme

While those two classy fillies Sunera (GB) and Enchanted Garden will be campaigned from Terrance Millard's string during the winter season, both have distinct Natal connections in that they now race for Nottingham Road based Riverholme Stud partners Tony Ross and Adrian Gardiner.

Both fillies had raced for Durban businessman Des Scott - Sunera (GB) in the Cape and Enchanted Garden, after having been acquired from her original Transvaal owner from David Payne's Summerveld yard before being sent to the Peninsula for the summer season - prior to being sold at a reported R300 000 each to the Riverholme partnership.

Sunera (GB), surely the fastest thousand metre distaffer in training in South Africa, has been booked to Northern Dancer's internationally successful son Northfields for the forthcoming breeding season but is sure to add to her earnings before being retired to stud, while, according to stud manager David Fox and all going well, Enchanted Garden is to be kept in training as a four-year-old.

What value now Enchanted Garden after her brilliant victory in the R350 000 Sun International (Gr 1) to add to her SA Oaks and other wins. These two very useful track performers will add lustre to an already impressive and growing band of above average broodmares in Natal.

 

Good yearlings for Natal

Natal stables came away from the recent national yearling sales at Germiston with a pretty full hand of the upper bracket purchases, among these being the SA record breaking Northfields filly Sister Divine, now ensconced in Ricky Maingard's yard.

First Champ, top selling invitational select night colt and at R250 000 the second highest price of the sale, was also secured for Natal. This son of sought-after Nijinsky II horse Dancing Champ from stakes winning First Lisa, was signed for by Chris Smith Bloodstock on behalf of Peter and Pauline Dykins and will be trained by Alistair Gordon at Summerveld.

Others among the select evening purchases destined for Natal stables included sired north-of-the-line Hello Gorgeous filly Proper Pretty,whose dam Carajo is a half-sister to 2000 Guineaswinner and now Cape-based sire Roland Gardens (Ire); Foveros (GB) colt Jelos, the first progeny of Envy, a stakes winning filly who raced from Johnny McCreedy's stable; Feast of Fragrance, half-sister by Jungle Cove (USA) to Velozia; Elevation colt Double Twist from Sweet Song (GB) mare LastDance, who won and was placed in a host of features from David Payne's yard; Tempest Queen's full brother Good King Harry; Revlon's Charlie Fillies Handicap winner Frisky's Northfields colt Lord Tristram; Northfields colt Newport North, from the family of Sun Lass, Runnymede, Tallulah, Violetta, Yataghan and Gallantry; classy racemare Sweet Chestnut's son Jamaican Beau; Luciennes, a half-sister to Game GoldCup winner Voodoo Charm; Classic winning distaffer Have A Ball's Northfields filly Spring Ball; and Swift Step, a half-sister by Dancing Champ (USA) to stakes winning speed horse Swift Call, who started racing in Natal before being transferred to the Cape.

These are but some of the many well connected yearlings to have made their way to Natal after the sales and if their track ability measures up to their purchase price, Natal racegoers will be treated to some interesting racing in future seasons.

Harwyn Witherspoon

 

Eastern Cape

With the1985/86 season entering its final quarter Pierre Strydom must be odds-on favourite to capture the Eastern Cape jockeys' championship for the first time. This highly promising young horseman, who completed his apprenticeship in January, has become the idol of Port Elizabeth racegoers who follow his mounts with almost dedicated loyalty. Their support has been amply rewarded to date. To April 19th he had ridden 60 winners, 46 seconds,37 thirds from 288 mounts - an exceptionally fine average and 25 ahead of his nearest rival, Gavin Venter who is attached to the powerful Greeff stable.

 

Rich Harvest

The April 19 eight-event Fairview card produced a rich harvest for the Greeff stable, which sent out four winners, Jet Echelon 9USA), Bee One, G'Day Shiela, and Heaven Is.

Jet Echelon is an American-bred grey filly belonging to MrR. Meaker being by High Echelon out of Lava Creek. The four-year-old ridden by Gavin Venter ran the rain-soaked 2000m in the useful time and trounced her rivals by a conservative 8 lengths.

Venter made it a double in the next race with more than a length to spare on well-backed Bee One (Copper Deluxe - Bex Belle). The three-year-old chestnut filly is owned by Messrs G.M.Biral, R.Copal, and H. Jagath.

The bookmakers heaved great sighs of relief when the photofinish showed 10/1 chance G'Day Shiela, to have held off 5/2 favourite Perfect Shot, by a very short had.

Trainer Greeff's fourth winner, Heaven Is (Brother Phillips (GB) - Amastar), showed fine tenacity in a driving finish.

 

E.P. Filllies Nursery

The Eastern Province Fillies Nursery produced a brilliant display by odds on favourite Yoxford who cruised home with a conservative 5 lengths to spare after being allowed to stride along against the bit from an unfavourable draw until the closing stages.

This was her fourth consecutive win keeping her unbeaten record intact. There was an early setback for trainer Johan Strydom and son Pierre Strydom in the Maiden Juvenile Plate when heavily-backed Maid History refused to enter the starting stalls and took no part in the race. It was won by stable companion Young Gambler, a rank outsider with visiting apprentice Hemat Ramlugan in the saddle. Later in the programme trainer Strydom completed a double with Celebration, a three-year-old chestnut filly by Elevation/Carnival Dancer.

Upsets were the order of the day at the Port Elizabeth Turf Club's Fairview fixture on April 5.

 

Defeat of Favourites

The defeats of the first four favourites were costly knocks and further setbacks followed in race six and the final event.

Trainer Andy Smith won the first race, Maiden Juvenile Plate, with his own filly Compass Queen (Verdino - Evening Out) at 20/1.

Later in the programme the trainer saddled Star magic, and made it a treble in the last race with Lucky Verse in his own colours. This winner gave leading local rider Pierre Strydom a treble.

Andross, a colt by Boot Camp (USA) was backed with some confidence in the opening leg of the place accumulator to head the betting at 11/10, but ran fifth out of ten - a failure which eliminated a host of accumulator tickets. Great Midison, a Transvaal newcomer trained by Vic Holland, came from fourth position 300m out to win comfortably from Arctic Beat and Summer Blues. The winner is a three-year-old colt by Great Brother (GB) out of Magic.

A gamble also went astray when Natal newcomer Fiery Wonder, backed from 4/1 to 1/10 favouritism, lost ground at the start and his saddle slipped in the running. The favourite finished second last nearly 13 lengths behind 8/1 winner Three Musketeers.

In the next race, the favourite Perfect Shot faded badly in the closing stages to finish seventh out of nine after being in a winning position, and a slipped saddle proved very costly for many backers in race six causing 16/10 favourite Final Rush to run seventh in a 10 horse field Stable companion Viritaka came with a strong finish to snatch the verdict right on the line from Samoosa.

A week later many backers who plumped for Pierre Strydom left Arlington very much out of pocket. The top rider had a full card of eight mounts which did not yield a single winner. Three of his seconds in the jackpot were lost by short heads. These included five-in-a-row winner Kunhild in the chief event - the Eastern Province Merchants handicap over 1200.

Kunhild carried topweight of 59 kg and started favourite at 15/10. The finish was a handicapper's dream, less than a length separating the first six horses past the post !

The lightly-weighted Ashwood, receiving 10kg from Kunhild, took an early lead and set a scorching pace followed by Kunhild and Pedestal. The leader looked like hanging on but Kunhild fought back gamely only to lose the initiative in the last stride to King's Match. Ashwood was a similar distance away third and a short head in front of his stable companion Pedestal. Apprentice Delano Pieterse, rider of Ashwood, was charged with causing interference, and after hearing evidence and viewing the film the Stipendiary Board recommended a two weeks suspension.

King's Match was trained by Des McLachlan and ridden by Ray Heneke, and is a five-year-old gelding by Kings Agree out of Good Wishes.

 

First juvenile feature race

The first juvenile feature race of the local season - the Dahlia Plate over 1200m - headed the St Andrews Racing Club's fixture at Arlington on March 29. A good crowd saw 15/10 favourite Yoxford turn in a brilliant performance.

The bay filly by Over The Air out of Ipswich gave her nine rivals a galloping lesson over the final 300m after being handily placed n fourth position turning into the straight. Yoxford was bred by Maine Chance Farms and trained by Andy Smith.

The trainer also saddled Belle Again, a very unlucky second on her debut, who took the lead turning for home but had no answer for Yoxford's great finishing run and finished just over 2 lengths behind the winner in second place. Short heads separated Belle Again, It's My Turn and Quality Harvest for the placings.

Unfortunate transport breakdowns en route from Fairview stables to the course necessitated late withdrawals from the last two races. Trainer Andy Smith's runners Lord Darnley and Present for Pru were amongst the enforced scratchings in the third leg of the jackpot which went to 2/1 favourite Film Goddess.

The four-year-old filly by Golden Thatch (Ire) out of Shee led all the way to set a new class record.

Training honours went to Stanley Greeff. He took the opening event with Whist Drive, a three-year-old filly, belonging to Mr Aldo Scribante. His second winner was Eldred of Firth. The Pentland Firth (GB) gelding equalled the class record for the 1900m. Apprentice Delano Pieterse sent the gelding into an early lead and held off fast-finishing Winter's Rush by a neck.

The trainer had two runners in race four. Gavin Venter rode the Golden Thatch (Ire) mildenhall gelding Worlington, 11/10 favourite, and Michael du Preez partnered stable companion Sheer distance, quoted at 25/1.

Sheer Distance, owned by golfing stars Gary Player and Lee Trevino, went to the front early on and stayed there to win by just over a length from Worlington who was fifth several lengths behind the leader with 400m to go.

March 15 was a disasterous afternoon for backers. Expensive failures included Broadway Melody, The Ensa Girl, Apres Vous in the chief event, Jamaican Prince in the sixth event, and odds-on favourite Perfect Shot in the penultimate event.

Trainer Andy Smith, who saddled three winners at the previous Fairview fixture, notched a further treble with Song of India, Polarise and Ashwood, in the chief event.

In the B Division, the favourite Apres Vous, had every chance but was no match for Ashwood, ridden by apprentice Delano Pieterse at 48kg. In fact Apres Vous was passed by top-weight King of the Air (NZ), in the closing stages and relegated by a long neck into third place. Ashwood's win took trainer Andy Smith's season tally to 50, but the trainer's luck ran out from there on.

His entry in race six, Jamaican Prince, dominated the betting at 8/10. The colt looked likely to justify this position when he came through on the rails with 150m to go but was run out of it in the closing stages by Bootlick, owned and trained by George Uren and ridden by Richard Roberts. Bootlick clocked a class record time.

 

Pierre Strydom's day

It was rider Pierre Strydom's day on March 15th at Fairview, St Albans. The son of trainer Johan Strydom rode four winners, including three legs of the jackpot for his father on Little Gem, Indian Call and Corene in the final leg. His other winner was Polarise, saddled by Andy Smith for owner Mrs Rosemary Parker, in the second event on the card. Mrs Parker saw her three-year-old filly by Full Colour out of Polarity go into an early lead and coast home with nearly 5 lengths to spare.

Trainer Andy Smith saddled three winners at this meeting. His treble of Polarise, Crystal Kingdom and Winter Liszt enabled him to share the honours for the afternoon with Johan Strydom. Racegoers are noted for their generosity when charity calls, and this was evident again by the outstanding response to the Them Stones Easter Stamp Plate of R2 200 over 1300m at Arlington on March 8. Firestone SA(Pty) Ltd sponsored the race in aid of Cripple Care, and leading business houses contributed handsome prizes for lucky tote ticket holders. The race, for amateur women and men riders, attracted a good field of 12 and went to the filly Yakami, trained by Stanley Greeff. Akami started favourite and was ridden by Duncan Howell son of trainer Trevor Howell.

 

Close finishes

Close finishes were the order of the day including the chief event, the Glendore Handicap B Division over 1800m which went to Anarchist, a chestnut gelding by Politician out of Proud Persian from the Highlands Farms Stud. Apprentice Reggie Sutherland brought Anarchist with a beautifully timed run to snatch the decision right on the line from 25/1 outsider Samoosa. The runner-up is owned by Mr Tommy Case who earlier in the programme won the Juvenile Maiden Plate with his colt Waveski.

 

Popular fixture

The popularity of the fixture at Arlington on March 1st and the support it enjoyed was underlined by the attractive totalisator turnover of R256 680. An added bonus was the success of six favourites, including Messrs Robert Sangster and Graham Beck's three-year-old gelding Golden Road in the final event. Golden Road, who had been placed in his three previous races, started at 16/10 and justified this confident support by the impressive margin of ½ lengths. The gelding took an early lead and clocked class record time for the 1000m. The winner was bred by Somerset Stud, trained by Stanley Greeff, and ridden by Gavin Venter.

Backers made a good start to the meeting when they plumped for French Bird to make a winning debut in the Juvenile Maiden Plate (Fillies) over 1000m. The daughter of Gatecrasher / Beppina won impressively with Richard Roberts up for trainer George Uren.

The trainer, who is to move to Natal at the end of March, had enjoyed an outstanding season with his juveniles, and his departure will be regretted by many, particularly the small punter.

Richard Roberts and Gavin Venter shared the riding honours with a double apiece.

Stanley Greeff was top trainer for the day with a double comprising Whist Drive and Golden Road to take his tally for the local season to 53 winners.

Mr George Morrison, General Manager of the Jockey Club of South Africa, was among the several Transvaal visitors who saw some good racing on the Port Elizabeth Turf Club's fixture at Fairview racecourse St Albans on February 22nd.

 

Four winners for Greeff

The meeting was particularly profitable for followers of the Stanley Greeff stable. The trainer saddled four of the eight winners and was somewhat unlucky not to make it a five-timer when his runner Twilight Beat was narrowly beaten into second place in the Maiden Sprinters Plate.

The Juvenile Plate over1200m provided an easy win for 13/10 favourite Quality Harvest, a bay filly by Gatecrasher out of Quality Pack.

Trainer Stanley Greeff must have viewed the result with mixed feelings. His other runner Forty Knots, owned by his wife, was also strongly fancied and started second favourite at 15/10 but unseated rider Gavin Venter as the starting stalls opened. He finished first minus his jockey after packing it with his stable companion ! Race two provided some consolation for the luckless Venter when he won on Russian Flight for the Greeff stable and the jockey completed a double in race three on New Ally for the same trainer.

In race four the Stipes Report stated that Twilight Bay had to be eased and switched out for a clear run at the 400m mark. The rank outsider Spring Festival, friendless in the betting at 25/1, overcame a poor draw and won in a tight finish after taking an early lead. The winner, a three-year-old bay filly by Northern Drive (USA) out of Eastern Sorin, is owned and trained by George Uren and was bred by Mr C.W. Tyler.

The Greeff stable captured its fourth winner on the card when the Flirting Around (USA)-Resplendent filly Splendid, owned by Mr Aldo Scribante, outclassed her ten opponents in the race over 1400m. Gavin Venter was the successful rider. He shared the riding honours for the afternoon with Pierre Strydom, whose treble included the chief event on Chief Justice, owned and trained by his father Johan Strydom.

Chief Justice, a six-year-old gelding by Jungle Cove (USA) out of Caroline, was in second position 400m out. Strydom brought him with a smooth run in the closing stages to score far easier than the 2 lengths decision over New Zealand-bred King of the Air suggested.

The rider was back in the winner's box a race later. He rode a peach of a race on Coyoc and ended the afternoon with a great piece of riding when he snatched a short head decision for trainer Ron Sheehan on 5/1 chance Fairy Prince.

Judged on the encouraging increase in local attendances during March and April, there is every reason for optimism for a further improvement during the final quarter of the 1985/86 season.

 

Benson & Hedges E.P. Derby

Elis's Star, a well made colt by French-bred Elliodor out of Super Red (Elevation-Autumn Fire) ran a superb race to win the R30 000 Benson & Hedges Eastern Province Derby over 2400m at Arlington on April 26 in the outstanding time of 2 min. 31,9 sec. The winner started second favourite in a field of 13 and came with a well-timed run from behind to beat Winter Liszt, by 1 ¾ lengths. Remy was 3 1/3 lengths away third, a long neck in front of Pearl Magic.

Mrs M. Pluke and Mr N.G. Constantinides own the winner who was saddled by James Lightheart and ridden by Gavin Howes. The trainer-rider team gave the Cape its first E.P. Derby success with Sea Bamboo in 1979 and made it a double in 1980 with Darkness. Five Cape Town visitors went to the start this year, Eli's Star, Holston, Crystal City, Flying Concorde, and Master Colin. The favourite Holston finished seventh.

Trainer Lightheart said after Eli's Star's impressive performance that the colt will be sent to Natal for the winter season.

Remy, who came down from Natal, set a good early gallop followed by Caerule and Winter Liszt in the closing stages to win comfortably.

Trainer Andy smith saddled Winter Liszt and had a great afternoon with five out of eight winners. Pierre Strydom took the riding honours with a treble on Lady Gloria, Jubileeve It, and Star Magic.

Officials were delighted with the day's turnover of R261 944.

Doug Fox

 

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