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Picture: Gareth van Zyl after winning at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth with Evening Primrose (Flower Alley) (Wayne Marks)


KZN’s reigning champion trainer Gareth van Zyl has spoken of the difference the new team of Cape Racing are making to the overall racing experience.
He said, “The effort the new team have put in to re-invigorating the whole product has been tangible. It is wonderful to be part of this exciting period in our racing. It is not only the stakes that have been raised but also the pleasure.”
Van Zyl was referring to the big crowds and festival atmosphere on course.
He added, “The appreciation Cape Racing have for their customers is very much in evidence. This is in turn much appreciated.”
Van Zyl has won four races with his Cape Town raiding team so far.
Two of those races were on “festival” days, meaning he himself has received a total of R120,000 in incentive cheques.
To attract raiders, Cape Racing have an incentive that a raider winner will earn a R10,000 cheque for both trainer and owner, but this increases to R50,000 if the race is at a “festival” meeting.
Van Zyl’s Gimmethegreenlight colt Money Heist ran a fine 6,90 length sixth in the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas. This is especially in light of Mike de Kock saying beforehand that, such was the strength of the field, any of the first eight could potentially become Grade 1 winners.
Gareth believes Money Heist can do even better and explained, “He is not engaging enough in his races and is tending to switch off too much.”
Gareth is due to discuss the next step for this K Nagendran and International Racing Club-owned colt with the owners.
He said the pedigree tended towards speed, but added they would never know whether he stayed 2000m until they had tried.
Therefore, the first option appears to be the Grade 3 Politician Stakes over 1800m on January 21, which is usually a springboard into the Grade 1 Cape Derby, which will be run on February 26.
An alternative could be the Grade 2 WSB Gauteng Guineas at Turffontein Standside on February 4.
Meanwhile, the progressive Evening Primrose (Flower Alley), who won a Middle Stakes event over 1800m last time out, is being targeted at the Listed Jamaica Handicap over 2000m on January 14.
Gareth said, “She sneaks into the handicap with the minimum weight of 52kg. The strongest fillies will be running in the Paddock Stakes a week earlier and she is improving and is suited to Kenilworth, so should be competitive.”
He said he might get Athandiwe Mgudlwa to come and ride her.
Gareth said the well regarded Wiccan Warrior was bouncing back to himself in work and will come out again soon.
The Gimmethegreenlight colt has only had one run in Cape Town when finishing 16 lengths behind Charles Dickens in the Grade 3 Cape Classic.
Green Chilli, a Van Zyl-trained filly by Gimmethegreenlight, has not been seen out again since winning her maiden over 1400m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth and two winners have already come out of that race. He said she had also improved at home.
Meanwhile, the smart Canford Cliffs filly Miss Hannigan only just failed second time out over 1000m despite giving 3kg to the rest of the field and she will be see again on L’Ormarins King’s Plate day.  She will run in the first leg of the Summer Juvenile series, the R350,000 Trippi Stakes over 1000m.