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Picture: Cousin Casey’s participation in the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge was not originally part of the plan and this has led to a temporary jockey change. (Picture: Wayne Marks) 


Glen Kotzen said a late decision to run Cousin Casey in the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge led to him having to find a jockey because regular pilot Grant van Niekerk was already booked to ride Al Muthana.
S’Manga Khumalo will ride the crack Vercingetorix colt in the prestigious Gr 1 weight for age mile race at Hollywoodbets Greyville on saturday. 
Kotzen said no discussions about Cousin Casey’s Hollywoodbets Durban July jockey had accompanied the switch meaning Van Niekerk was at this stage still the incumbent. 
Kotzen explained the decision to run Cousin Casey in the Gold Challenge.
He said after analysing his previous start he felt a pair of blinkers would be a good idea.
However, he was reluctant to go into the July with first-time blinkers on and as the colt had taken his run in the Daily News 2000 so well he saw the Gold Challenge as an opportunity to give him a trial with the blinkers on.
He said, “We were confident going into the Daily News and thought it was his race to lose, so it was disappointing.”
However, he pointed out how badly it had panned out for the champion Vercingetorix colt in the straight.
From draw one he was comfortable on the rail in midfield throughout and creeps up in the straight into a striking position.
A dream gap opens as the pacemaker drifts on to the rail and Van Niekerk goes for the stick.
However, as he does so Cousin Casey takes a bump from Without Question that knocks him sideways.
He takes another few smaller bumps when See It Again shifts on to Without Question.
Thereafter he is given a couple of backhanders and stays on, but his path is blocked by Dave The King anyway, so there is not much more he can do and he finishes a 2,30 length fourth.
However, it was a totally unsatisfactory outing because he was not given a chance to show his true ability in the straight.
Kotzen contuinued, “We will see how he goes against the best milers.”
He added he was not worried about the handicapper anymore and what would be would be.
He was referring to the real possibility of Cousin Casey finishing close to the 132-rated pair Charles Dickens and Al Muthana and being given a merit rated raise.
He concluded, “Charles Dickens is a beast of a horse, so if Cousin Casey did happen to win this race he would have a ready-made stud career and no other races would actually be necessary.”