BEFORE CAPTAIN FONTANE set foot on a race track, the Summerveld dogs had been barking his name for months. But when he did step out for the first time, he was teed up against Hail Columbia, the well-bred gelding from the Dennis Drier yard was also being touted as something special.
Sent out favourite, Hail Columbia proved no match as Captain Fontane came through his debut with flying colours, dispatching his rival with disdain. Hail Columbia went on to frank that form but his hot temperament has since proved to be a handicap.
Captain Fontane followed up with an equally facile and impressive handicap victory and being owned by David Ferraris and his Hong Kong patron David Hui, Captain Fontane was bundled into quarantine for a trip to race in the former British colony.
However, there were complications in the export protocol that saw Captain Fontane returned to Summerveld and Puller prompting Ferraris to comment that he would never again buy horses in this country for export to Hong Kong.
So, Captain Fontane is back in action on the course where he started his career at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Sunday and if anywhere near the form that saw him win his first two races, nothing should get close to him in the sixth, a Conditional Graduation Plate over 1200m.
The only chink in his armour may be his lengthy break but Puller is unlikely to have his charge under-done for his return although he did add a cautionary saying that; “Has not raced since August, doing well at home, should run well.”
Of the opposition, Mount Greylock may have needed his last run after starting favourite first up out of the maidens and may be the pick of the two Dennis Drier runners. Big Sky Country has proved costly to follow after having started favourite in her last three.
Captain Fontane is likely to be a popular banker in the exotics but the balance of the card could throw up a few curved balls.
The first two races could provide chances to fatten the wallet for the exotics. In the first, Ethiopian Queen started favourite on debut but found one too good and should make amends with that experience under her girth. A possible danger is Maquette who raced green on debut and sure to make good improvement.
In the second, Dean Kannemeyer saddles Greengrowthelilacs who caught the eye with a strong late run on debut over 1400m. That form has since been franked and she may rate the one to beat. Best of the balance could be Cordobesa who was narrowly beaten over the distance in open company last run and although she has the widest draw, she does have the most experience.
In the opening leg of the PA, Incredibill was not disgraced in a strong feature field last time out. Although a distant second on debut he does look progressive. Gimme A Star is a smartly bred first timer from a strong stable, the stable comment being, “include in all exotics”. Bristolbeaufighter is the best performed and improved nicely at his second start.
The opening leg of the Pick 6 is an open maiden affair. African Skyline showed up well on debut and the form has held up so he should make a bold bid in this company. After The Rain was stepped up to a mile after a smart sprint debut. He showed up well in both but is back to a sprint. Go Sandals returns from a lengthy break but is lightly raced and shown some ability.
In the fifth, Callmemistergreenlight disappointed in two Cape Town starts and did not take to the poly last run after being gelded and may be worth another chance. Romanee Conti, Believe Achieve and Rodriquez all warrant consideration.
In the seventh, O Sole Mio makes her local debut and boast some useful Cape form over the trip. She took on much stronger last run and could get it right here. Aquae Sulis has put in two smart efforts for her new stable and won well last outing. Slievanorra has been consistent but still takes a further drop in the ratings and can be competitive off of her new mark.
The last two races on the card look tricky. The eighth is a wide open handicap but Meet At The George. is back over a more suitable trip and with a good draw should at least be competitive. Others that head a lengthy list of possibles are to watch are Star Vega, Purple Persuasion and Quepid.
In the last, Voice Notes will be looking to pay expenses for Eric Sands before he heads back to Cape Town and is way better than her last showing. She boasts some useful Cape form. Casa Inverno had a difficult passage in the Allan Robertson and is way better than that. With a 4kg claimer up she should be competitive. Whizz Of Odds has been battling for her next win but has been knocking at the door of late and now gets a 4kg claimer up.
goldcircle.co.za – Andrew Harrison