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Oriental Bouquet is the joint favourite for the Gr 2 World Pool With Gold Circle Debutante (Candiese Lenferna Photography)


Duncan Howells has a fine chance of being the first trainer to land black type of any kind for the exciting freshman sire Danon Platina courtesy of the Riethuiskraal Stud-bred Oriental Bouquet, who has drawn well in two in the Gr 2 World Pool with Gold Circle Debutante over 1200m.

Danon Platina has had 17 individual winners of 21 races to date at a winners to runners percentage of 47.2% and he has had a Sales race exacta, but he is yet to have a black type winner or placed runner.

Howells said about the BSA Sales Cup runner up, “She has  been racing very consistently except for the one run where she never had luck in running. She’s a very honest competitive filly and has a good draw. I just get the impression coming back to 1200m could be in her favour. She has been found wanting in the 1400s, and in the 1300 last time out, at the end of the race and she won a very good race first time out over 1200m. She is also from quite a fast dam line. So I think she will give a very good account of herself on Sunday.” 

Duncan admiited to being surprised by her win first time out and said, “She’s not a filly who shows a helluva lot on the sand and when I ran her the first time (at Hollywoodbets Scottsville) I had just moved to Summerveld and I didn’t get the chance to really do the proper preparation for a first-timer, so I ran her basically just off sand work expecting her to need the run. She really showed me up! It was not the first time and won’t be the last time a horse does that! A nice way to be shown up!”

Duncan had some luck in acquiring Oriental Bouquet, who is owned by himself in partnership with Greg Blank, G Piha and Suven Govender.

He revealed, “I really liked her at the Sale. She was right at the end of the Sale and I had bid on a couple of other horses I liked and by chance had got outbid. So luckily enough I hadn’t bought another horse and she went for a very reasonable price (R120,000). I thought she was a good buy at the price. I liked the dam line. I didn’t know too much about the stallion, but I thought she looked very racy and she looked very precocious to me, so we took our chances and we got lucky.”

Danon Platina is now, of course, looking to be a very exciting sire indeed.

Duncan said, “I think he did very well as a racehorse and his progeny are doing exceptionally well. The test of time is to see whether they train on or not, but they are very athletic horses. They can get a little uptight in themselves, so you’ve got to watch them, but in saying that they are pretty easy horses to train and to get fit.”

He continued, “I think Oriental Bouquet will eventually get a mile. But she’s strong and that damline has a lot of speed, it goes back to Computaform Sprint winner Shoe Shac (as well as Mauritius Champion Sprinter Green Keeper, while Oriental Bouquet’s mother Jo Malone (Tiger Ridge) won seven times from 1000m to 1200m and was Listed placed).”

He added, “I didn’t think Oreintal Bouquet was a Gr 1 horse. I thought she was just below top quality. So I went up in distance and in retrospect I think it was because she was still a bit flat-footed in herself because of changing yards etc. She’s definitely showing me a lot more speed now. So going up in trip is a possibility later. But I will keep her where she’s happy, that’s the bottom line.”

Duncan lodged an objection on behalf of Oriental Bouquet after the BSA Sales Cup over 1300m where she was in front everywhere in the last 200m except on the line. She took a hefty bump late from the winner Betula, but the stipendiary stewards, after looking at the positions of the shadows from the side on and head on angles, deemed the bump to have happened after the line.

Duncan said, “I was disappointed. I thought the knock came before the winning post. But it’s debatable and you have to lump what you get. I felt she should have won the race because a stride after the post even though the horse had bumped her she came back and put her head down again. Pretty difficult to judge exactly where it happened, but Sean Veale was strongly of the opinion that she would have won the race. She’s not a very big filly so when a horse intimidates your moves on you, she takes it a lot harder than a big horse would. If she was bigger she probably bangs the horse back. But it did show me she has a lot of determination in her, to come back after that bump and try and get your head down again shows you’ve got a horse with a bit of guts.”

Sean Veale retains the ride and Oriental Bouquet is the joint 5/2 favourite with the racecourse sponsors, Hollywoodbets.