Skip to main content

Second again … African Skyline (closest) just fails to get there in the Listed LHKIR In December Umngeni Handicap over 1000m on World Pool Gold Cup day (Candiese Lenferna Photography).

“Seconditis” is a term used by bold punters who back their fancies on the nose for a win and it obviously does not have good connotations.

However, each/way punters as well as owners Miss C A E Steele, Messrs G C Kalil, G B Puller & A S Tombe will not be complaining about the Garth Puller-trained African Sky’s  amazing run of seconditis.

In his last eight starts this five-year-old gelding has one win and seven seconds, including a current trot of five seconds in succession.

In his last start on Monday he was a touch unlucky to dead-heat for second with Gladatorian in a Pinnacle event over 1200m on the Hollywoodbets Greyville turf.

They were beaten just 0,30 lengths by the winner, the Peter Muscutt-trained Quasiforsure, who showed his class by winning over a trip sharper than ideal.

That was in fact African Skyline’s second dead-heat for second this year.

Puller said about the Bruce le Roux-bred Mogok gelding African Skyline, “He has been unlucky in a couple of his seconds. On Monday he missed the break slightly and got a position on the rail and as he came into the straight he tried to come out once or twice but he couldn’t get out so he put his run down the inside. In the last three-quarters of a furlong he came through them to win his race by three-quarters of a length on the inside, but there were two horses on the outside he couldn’t compete with. Had he been with them he probably would have beaten them. He’s just such a consistent horse.”

To underline his consistency African Skyline’s career record is 19 starts, 4 wins, 9 seconds, 3 thirds, 2 fourths and just one unplaced run.

Asked about the plans for him, Garth replied, ” I was going to send him to Cape Town but they have to go through quarantine and all that. he can run with the best. He doesn’t know any distance. I put a pair of blinkers on and put him over a 1000m he will run a short-head second, I run him over 16 he runs second, I run him over 14 he runs second, I run him over 12 he runs second. I will just play it by ear and see. If there is something I see maybe I will raid Jo’Burg. In fairness he deserves to go to somebody in Cape Town and finish the season there.”

Garth has lost a lot of horses lately to Cape Town. A few of his owners are Cape-based and they sent horses to him when the stakes in KZN were higher than Cape Town, but now that the latter’s stakes are higher they have sent their horses back there.

Garth is down to about 68 horses in all.

He said, “But things will change. There is an old adage, ‘I started without them, I can finish without them.’ Some doors close, other doors open, and we are open for business any time.”

He was actually offered an opportunity to go back to Cape Town but said, “There are a lot of people already there and those big yards dominate a bit over there.”

Garth was the KZN champion trainer for the second time last season, but he said chasing titles had never interested him.

He added, “I just want to race happily and have a steady turnover, that’s all.”