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Trainer Dean Kannemeyer has sat down with Khaya Stables Racing Manager Jehan Malherbe to discuss the program of smart three-year-old Cosmic Highway (Gimmethegreenlight) and the first target is the Grade 2 WSB Guineas at Hollywoodbets Greyville on May 7, although he said if he drew badly he would then have the option of running in the Grade2 IOS Drill Hall Stakes over 1400m on the same day.

Cosmic Highway fittingly won the Grade 2 Khaya Stables Diadem Stakes over 1200m at Kenilworth on Saturday as he is owned by Lady Christine Laidlaw’s Khaya Stables racing operation.

Kannemeyer said, “He is a sprint-miler. I don’t think he will get 2000m at this stage and we are not going to try and make him stay. He ran a fine second to Pomp And Power (beaten 0,30 lengths) in the Concorde (1600m) and Keagan (De Melo) said he felt he had given him just a little bit too much to do and if he had been two or three lengths closer it could have been a different story. He then ran on very well in the Cape Guineas. The Kenilworth 1200m is stiff, it is undulating and is a hard 1200m, so that suited him.”

Kannemeyer was asked whether the Grade 1 Golden Horse Sprint over 1200m might be on his agenda and he said, “Well that is a pretty quick sprint …”

Kannemeyer has a string of twelve arriving in KZN from Cape Town next Tuesday (March 8) and another 12 will arrive on the 15th.

He said they were chiefly young horses.

He has won the Durban July three times but does he have a runner for the R5 million Hollywoodbets Durban July this year?

He replied, “They asked me whether I had a July runner back in 2015 and I said I was not sure but maybe Power King and he went on to win it. So we shall see.”

Kannemeyer’s stable jockey Keagan de Melo is fifth on the national jockeys log on 97 winners.

However, he is the most in-form jockey in the country. Forty of those winners have come in the months of January and February i.e this calendar year and only leading jockey Warren Kennedy has ridden more in that time, 44, but de Melo has done it at a strike rate of 17.62% compared to Kennedy’s 14.86%.

The next highest number of winners this calendar year is Richard Fourie on 28, 12 behind De Melo’s amount. 

Kannemeyer said, “I have always thought he was a beautiful rider, he has beautiful balance and never gets flustered and is never in a rush, he comes from off the pace. That is the way I was taught growing up and we had jockeys like Garth Puller and Karl Neisius who could switch them on and off. Kevin Shea also said to me after Anthony’s fall, ‘Watch this kid, I have ridden against him and he is going to become a top rider’. So I offered him the position and we said we would see how it goes and he is still here. Riding is all about confidence. You ride better horses and you win on them your confidence goes up and then you get more good horses and so on …”

De Melo’s confidence must be sky high at present because although he scored a blank today in his previous 22 rides encompassing four meetings he has ridden nine winners in total, including two trebles and including the Grade 2 Diadem, the BSA Cape Yearling Sales Cup and the Listed Storm Bird Stakes at Turffontein.  

Picture: Wayne Marks