LEADING KwaZulu-Natal trainer Duncan Howells’s raiding party of nine horses have arrived at Turffontein, where he has been allocated nine stables by Phumelela.
The string includes the stable’s top Graded performers Saratoga Dancer and Ten Gun Salute, who have both been entered for the Sansui Summer Cup on 26 November. “Our horses have settled in well and they’re looking good. My assistant Jack Rich is looking after them, I will be travelling, will be up there soon,” Howells said on Monday.
Howells, who has averaged 70 winners per season since 2012 and currently occupies 6th position on the National Log, said that his two “big guns” will both go into the Summer Cup with prep runs in the Charity Mile.
Saratoga Dancer finished fifth in the Vodacom Durban July and fourth in the Champions Cup while Ten Gun Salute finished mid-field in the July. “The others are working companions for the top two, but we’ll be planning runs for all of them,” said Howells.
Also in the raiding party is Legend, winner of the Bloodstock SA Million Mile, who will be aimed at the Gr2 Dingaans, possibly via the Gr3 Graham Beck Stakes, the latter race to be run on Charity Mile day and the Dingaans on Summer Cup day.
Howells said: “Our raid is experimental, this is something we’d like to do more often in seasons to come, we’ll be looking at costs and how competitive we can be. Also, we enjoy grass racing and there are more grass races available in Gauteng. Many years ago I was in charge of a similar raid when I was assistant trainer to David Payne and things worked out well. I’d like my horses to be on a par with the locals, who are very fit for the features.”