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Twice Gold Cup-winning trainer Dean Kannemeyer worked his horses on the polytrack at Summerveld yesterday ahead of the big meeting which has been moved to Sunday.
Kannemeyer has three horses in the R1,25 million eLan Property Group Gold Cup over 3200m and all three look to have winning chances.
The shortest priced of the yard’s runners is the three-year-old Cape Speed, who was a rig and is unbeaten in three starts since being gelded. All three of those wins have been in KZN and included the Gr 3 Track and Ball Derby over 2400m at Scottsville last time out.
Kannemeyer said, “It’s not an easy task for a three-year-old, although he has not been over raced. Only the race will tell whether he stays the trip, but I am convinced he will stay. Jehan (Malherbe) and I have looked at his pedigree and being by Ideal World out of a Strike Smartly mare (who won up to 1800m) suggests he should stay and he has always given me the impression he will stay. Anthony (Delpelch) is also convinced he will stay. He is a sound horse who has done exceptionally well since gelding and he is still improving.”
Ideal World, who is by Kingmambo, won a Listed race over 2500m and as a three-year-old finished second in the Gr 2 Prix Niel over 2400m at Longchamp. As a sire he has burst into prominence this season as his daughter Smart Call won the J&B Met and his young progeny have generally been shown to improve markedly as they mature. Cape Speed’s dam is out of Rawl Plug, who was a half-sister to the great Horse Chestnut and who produced a Listed winner over 2500m, Cork Wood, so there is plenty of stamina in the pedigree. Cape Speed jumps from a good draw of eight and carries 55,5kg off a 100 merit rating.
Balance Sheet, a four-year-old gelding by Silvano, finished second in the race last year and had genuine excuses for his downfield finish in the Gr 3 SABC Gold Vase over 3000m on Vodacom Durban July day, where he started 17/10 favourite coming off his win in the Gr 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup over 2400m.
Kannemeyer said, “We found he had received a nasty knock on the inside of his cannon bone. He is now doing well. Keagan de Melo (who replaces Delpech) worked him on the poly today and was very pleased and last week he did well in a gallop on the Summerveld grass.”
Balance Sheet was drawn nine last year and this year has a plum draw of three.”
Kannemeyer was also bullish about the outsider of his party, Solar Star, a five-year-old gelding by Kahal who jumps from pole position with regular pilot Stuart Randolph up.
He said, “He ran an excellent race in the Gold Vase when staying on and he was only beaten a short-head for fourth, so I think that showed he stays the trip. He is knocking on the door and you can’t write him off, he will be there.”
Kannemeyer added the Gold Cup was always a rough race so he was hoping for luck in running.
The yard start their meeting in the first race over 1400m with the honest Toreador filly Off Ramp, who is officially 1,5kg under sufferance with the best weighted horses and has a wide draw to contend with. However, she is used to wide draws and gets on well with Delpech, so Kannemeyer expected another good run from this ultra-consistent sort. She should be running on as strongly as usual over this suitable course and distance.
The yard have a very interesting runner in Speed Of Africa in the second, a Juvenile Plate over 1900m on the turf, a race which Cape Speed won last year. Speed Of Africa made a fair debut over 1600m at Scottsville and disappointed over the same course and distance when fancied next time out. However, the latter race was eye-catching as he was very green and, despite being beaten 7,2 lengths, was staying on well at the end. Like Cape Speed, he is by Ideal World out of a Strike Smartly mare. He also reminds Kannemeyer of Cape Speed. He said, “Cape Speed was also all over the place and completely lost in his first couple of starts.”
The yard run the four-year-old Trippi gelding Tripandie in the Listed Darley Arabian over 1600m on the poly. He is returning from a three month layoff.
Kannemeyer said, “He had a break due to a foot abscess. We are trying the mile and it has been playing in the back of mind that we have had to play catch up with him, but we have given him plenty of work.” This gelding recorded a poly hattrick when running on from way back to win going away by two lengths over 1400m last time out in mid-April and on that evidence he should stay the trip.
Delpech rode him in all three of his poly wins and remains aboard. He is drawn in barrier eight and is likely to be coming from off the pace again.
The Devin Little-trained Highveld raider Fortune Fella is an out and out stayer and might feasibly have a slight advantage over his rivals in the Gr 1 eLan Property Group Gold Cup on Saturday as the training tracks at his Turffontein base are usable while the KZN tracks are waterlogged with the exception of the Summerveld polytrack.
Little said, “He is an ultra, ultra stayer so will definitely get the trip.”
The four-year-old Mambo In Seattle gelding has to jump from the widest draw of all in the 16 horse field but Little is not overly concerned.
He said, “I will leave it to Craig (Zackey). I prefer to give my horses a chance as they have a turn of foot.” Fortune Fella fits into this mould.
The imposing bay has been aimed at the race since winning the Gr 3 Caradoc Gold Cup over 2850m at Turffontein on April 2. In that race he received 3kg from Arch Rival and beat him by half-a-length. He is now receiving 2,5kg from Arch Rival, so there should not be much in it, so it is interesting to see Arch Rival priced up at 8/1 with Betting World while Fortune Fella is their biggest outsider at 35/1.
Fortune Fella made his first appearance at Greyville on May 28 in the Gr 3 Lonsdale Stirrup Cup over 2400m and Zackey would have learnt something from that race. Little pointed out the trip had clearly been too short for him that day as it was only in the latter stages of the short straight that he had really got going. He finished a far from disgraced 3,9 length eighth to Balance Sheet, although on the downside he will now be 0,5kg worse off with the latter.
Little concluded he would be happy to see his charge switched off and then be close enough turning for home to be in with a chance of making up the leeway as he was confident the horse would “turn it on” in the straight.
Fortune Fella is one of the dark horses of the race. He was due to travel down to Durban tomorrow (Thursday).
Glen Kotzen hopes to land another Greyville Gr 1 on Super Saturday with his Judpot filly Final Judgement, who runs in the Thekwini Stakes over 1600m, and he also has a fine chance of landing a Gr 2 as he has a strong hand in the Debutante Stakes over 1200m.
Final Judgement impressed when winning the Gr 2 Gold Circle Golden Slipper over 1400m from pillar to post on Vodacom Durban July day. She had been cramped for room in her previous start in the Listed Devon Air Stakes over that same course and distance, so the plan to allow her to use her long stride from pole position worked out well. However, she now has a wide draw of 12 to overcome.
Kotzen said, “She is doing exceptionally well and came out of that last race bouncing. She will need luck from the draw, but is quick out of the pens so should be able to be placed well. She certainly doesn’t have to go to the front and I am looking forward to it because she will love the step up to a mile.”
She is up against a few of the horses she beat in the Golden Slipper and will start a lot shorter than 20/1 this time. Stuart Randolph retains the ride.
Kotzen could not separate his pair of fillies, Shizam and Trippi’s Girl, in the Debutante.
They have both landed plum draws and Grant van Niekerk and Stuart Randolph are the respective riders.
Shizam by Kahal had to be scratched at the start when strongly fancied for the KZN Yearling Million due to a cut she had attained when exiting the parade ring, but the wound turned out to be superficial.
Kotzen believed she was entitled to need her next start, especially as it was her first time around the Greyville turn. She was handy and a little keen in the latter race, a handicap over Saturday’s course and distance on July 16, so considering she was up against older horses it was a fine effort to finish just 2,15 lengths back in fifth off an 82 merit rating with Randolph aboard. Kotzen believed the run to be part of a good preparation. Before that Shizam had some fine maiden form in Cape Town against good horses before winning in eyecatching style over 1200m fifth time out. The four winners to have come out of the latter maiden were beaten half-a-length, 9,75 lengths, eleven lengths and 17,45 lengths respectively, and those statistics suggest she put up a fine performance that day.
Trippi’s Girl was still green when running out an eyecatching 1,5 length winner under Randolph over 1200m at Scottsville in her second career start on July 6.
Kotzen said, “She is a gorgeous filly, very classy, we think very highly of her. She is on the up, but it is her first run at the course.”
Ashburton trainer Paul Gadsby has a chance of landing a Gr 1 victory in the Premier’s Champions Stakes over 1600m on Super Saturday with the Gimmethegreenlight gelding Gunner, although he admitted the favourite Zodiac Ruler would be hard to beat.
He said, “I would like to hope he has a chance, although if I had a choice between 1400m and 1600m at this stage I would probably go for 1400m. He has a lot of quality and is a trier, he has a very big heart. He is a light framed horse and tends to lighten up in his races, so I almost had to give him a week off after his July day run, but he will look spot on in the parade ring on Saturday.”
Gunner caught the eye on Vodacom Durban July day in the Gr 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe over 1400m. He was caught wide the whole way from a draw of nine yet still managed to say on very well for a 1,75 length third to Zodiac Ruler. He has another tricky draw of seven in an eleven horse field, but if Brandon Lerena, who replaces S’Manga Khumalo, is able to slot him in he could have a shout and should stay the trip.
Gadsby concluded, “I hope to be in the first three or four.”
Gadsby runs Reigning Wave in the first over 1600m for fillies and mares, where she is the best weighted horse. However, she has a tough draw to overcome.
He said, “”She has got her problems as she is a bit back at the knee and jars up, so ideally I would have liked a turf race over a bit further. She has had a bit of a rest so we decided to take our chances despite the wide draw.”
He said his other runner on the day Roy’s Mambo had not been gelded yet chiefly due to him being quite light framed, but he believed he was looking for the 1900m trip of the second race on the turf, where he has a wide draw of eleven.
Following 200mm of rain at Greyville over the past 36 hours, Gold Circle has decided to postpone the 2016 eLan Gold Cup by a day to Sunday 31 July, with all race times remaining as published.
“The weather forecast from Thursday is pretty good and we are hoping the extra 24 hours will allow the track to dry sufficiently. Strong winds are also forecast for Saturday and this should further assist in the drying process,” said Gold Circle Racing Executive Raf Sheik.
As a consequence of Gold Circle’s decision, Phumelela has agreed to bring forward their race meeting scheduled for Sunday to Saturday 30 July to fill the void left by the postponement of the eLan Gold Cup.
Justin Snaith believes he has his first ever “proper” shot at the eLan Property Group Gold Cup with the “class act” Ovidio and the generally good draws he has landed with his other runners on Super Saturday have made him hopeful of enjoying a better day than he did on Vodacom Durban July day.
Snaith added the current waterlogged KZN training tracks had given the R1,25 million Gold Cup a degree of “pot luck” about it.
He said, “It is not ideal but everybody is in the same boat as nobody is going to be able to get the work they would like into their charges. But you never know it might work in our favour.”
Ovidio has always had the Gold Cup as his target.
Snaith said the Australian-bred gelding by Danehill Dancer had “the odd soundness issue”, so was given a five month layoff after his fine victory in the Gr 2 J&B Urban Honey Stayers over 2800m on J&B Met day and had also been kept in Cape Town for the bulk of his Gold Cup preparation due to the more forgiving ground at this time of the year.
Ovidio arrived at Summerveld three weeks ago. Snaith said, “He is very well, I am very happy with him. He is a proper staying horse, there is no stamina doubt, and he has a perfect draw (seven), I wouldn’t want to be any closer in.” Piere Strydom rides and will be hoping to make it a Vodacom Durban July/Gold Cup double.
Snaith runs the classy three-year-old Trippi colt Baritone in the Gr 1 Mike and Carol Bass Champions Cup and was bullish about his chances.
On July day he ran a cracker in the Listed Daisy Business Solutions Handicap over 1600m on the turf. He did not have the clearest of passages, but was doing excellent work late for a 5,15 length fifth. He ran off a merit rating of 104, meaning he carried 60kg and was giving weight to most of the field including older horses.
Snaith said, “It was a brilliant run, he had it all to do at the weights. He is a dark horse as he is not far off my best three-year-olds. He just cannot crack a good draw, but still always runs creditable races.”
This colt has struck as a progressive type throughout the season and the tongue tie obviously helped last time after he had been reported to have “choked up in the latter stages” in the Canon Guineas, when moving up well and not finding the necessary extra. Anthony Delpech staying aboard is another bonus, but the wide draw of twelve makes it tough.
Snaith also runs the new yard acquisition It Is Written in the Champions Cup from a plum draw of five with Strydom up. Strydom with his good hands and immaculate balance should suit him perfectly as this Dynasty gelding does tend to over race. He is 3,5kg under sufferance on official merit ratings with the best weighted horse, Punta Arenas, but the distance looks ideal.
Snaith said, “He is doing well, although he’s not the easiest horse and has had a long season. But the Champions Cup is a bit weaker than normal besides Marinaresco and we are taking our chances.”
Snaith has another new yard acquisition on the day, Fortissimus, who was recently bought into the yard. She runs in the Gr 1 Thekwini Stakes with Grant van Niekerk up.
This Mogok filly was caught a bit flat footed at the top of the straight in the Gr 2 Gold Circle Golden Slipper over 1400m last time, but then began staying on and ended up seventh. She has 7,25 lengths to make up on the winner of the latter race, Final Judgement, but looks likely to enjoy the step up to 1600m.
Snaith said, “She will run well although I don’t know if she is up to it. She has a lovely temperament and her work has not been bad at all so she could be a dark horse from a nice draw (eight of 14).”
Snaith runs the unbeaten Australian-bred colt Zodiac Ruler in the Gr 1 Premier’s Champions Stakes over 1600m, where he will be a warm order. This big colt has lost ground in both of his starts before powering through to win impressively, and this was particularly so last time out in the Gr 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe over 1400m. He looks likely to relish the step up in trip and jumps from pole position with Strydom up.
Snaith said, “He is very well, I am happy with him and he is improving all the time.”
The yard run the Captain Al filly The Merry Widow in the Gr 2 Debutante over 1200m from a plum draw of two. However, as a three-time winner up against one-time winners and a maiden she has to give 4kg to the rest of the field. She won her first three starts from 800-1200m, including a Listed race, before being beaten 0,5 lengths in a Gr 3 over 1200m. She has a better draw than she had in the Golden Slipper, when having to be dropped out. Snaith said she had been doing well, but admitted as a “tiny filly” she had “a hard task” giving away that amount of weight.
He runs the three-year-old Dynasty gelding Brooklyn Brawler in the Listed Darley Arabian over 1600m on the poly and expected a better run than his last outing in a Listed race over 1600m on the turf on July day.
He said, “He was caught wide and nothing went right, he will do much better tucked in.” Van Niekerk rides from draw seven and this classy sort must be a big runner, although he has not worked on the poly so there is a question whether he will take to the surface.
Harry Lime did not make many inroads from a handy position in a 1000m poly event on July day, but Snaith expected some improvement on Saturday in the Listed Umgeni Handicap over 1200m on the poly. This horse has suffered a knee chip in the past, so is not the easiest to train, but he did prove his class in January when beating the like of Brutal Force and Talktothestars in a Pinnacle race over 1000m at Kenilworth.