Ultra Magnus pictured winning the Merchants in 2020 has another go as an eight-year-old after coming out of temporary retirement (JC Photos)
Six Summerveld-based trainers will have feature race runners at the big Betway Summer Cup meeting at Turffontein Standside on Saturday.
Nathan Kotzen said about Pathfork gelding Royal Victory, who runs in the R5 million Betway Summer Cup over 2000m, “He worked well with a companion on the turf at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Wednesday, I was happy with his gallop. All good.”
Royal Victory was given a rest last season after his Gr 1 SA Classic fifth place finish, because Nathan felt his last workout before that race was below par. Considering the formlines from his three length fifth in that race and the weights on Saturday, on paper he comes out equal with Anfields Rocket, slightly ahead of Billy Bowlegs and well ahead of Electric Gold. Yet he is longer in the betting than all of them. He also proved in the recent Non-Black Type Michaelmas over 1900m at Hollywoodbets Greyville that he should enjoy 2000m, when running on strongly from last to get up.
Nathan would have preferred a draw of ten or below, but Royal Victory is a horse who prefers “to be given a chance”, so the 14 draw under Muzi Yeni is not too bad.
Royal Victory will travel up on Ted Hughes’ private float on Friday morning as that was a travel method which has worked well before.
Frank Robinson has the crack Visionaire gelding Sovereign State and the unbeaten Master Of My Fate colt Mexican Pete in the prestigious Gr 2 Jonsson Wokwear Dingaans over 1600m.
He said, “On the day of the Graham Beck (last start) Sovereign State was a little bit lethargic, both of my runners were that day I don’t know why. It can happen like that but I don’t foresee it happening again. He did finish only five lengths back after drawing wide and being tucked away, but I think his class pulled him through. He’s a strong horse and a very good eater so he recovers quickly. On Friday Sovereign State and Mexican Pete galloped together and put up very nice work. That wasn’t Sovereign State’s run last time and I’ve got Grant van Niekerk on now, I think he will suit him. He will leave him alone from that wide draw obviously. He is out of a Fort Wood mare so should get the trip. Mexican Pete will sit up third or fourth from a better draw. He is a lot more straight forward. It is very hard to say which one is better. They work together everyday and there is nothing between them. Mexican Pete is progressive and quite light, so will only get better.”
Muzi Yeni is aboard Mexican Pete.
The pair will travel up on Thursday night, the tried and tested method used by the yard for decades.
Alyson Wright runs Time Thief filly Time Fo Orchids in the Gr 3 Joburg Tourism Carry On Alice Stakes over 1160m and Kevin Wright said, “It was a bit of a disappointing run last time (2,2 length fourth at Hollywoodbets Scottsville over 1200m). She didn’t run as well as we had expected. But it would have put her right for this race and I think she will give a good account of herself, that’s for sure. She’s got a short run in and I think he moved too soon last time. Muzi will know her well by now and I think the fast 1160m will suit her.”
She has a nice draw of ten out of 18. She is 3,5kg under sufferance with the best weighted Cold Fact under the conditions of the race.
Tienie Prinsloo runs three-year-old Lancaster Bomber filly Bomber Girl in that same race from draw six under Dennis Schwarz.
He said, “She’s doing very well up with David Nieuwenhuizen. I kept her up there because she went up last time the day before and she ran off the course that day, so I think she will run a much better race this time. Her last win was over 1600m and we got away with it because there was no speed in the race and S’Manga rode her very well. But I really think her best distance is 1100 to 1200m, because she’s got a lot of speed. It’s a strong field but if you don’t have a ticket you don’t have a chance.”
Under the conditions of the race the small filly is 5kg under sufferance with best weighted Cold Fact.
Peter Muscutt interestingly runs the eight-year-old Oratorio gelding, Ultra Magnus, in the Gr 3 New Turf Carriers Merchants, an open handicap over 1160m, and he said, “He was off for a year. In fact I had been using him as my pony and he was doing so well I decided to give him another go. His first run he obviously needed quite badly. Second run he looked threatening coming to the furlong marker (beaten 1,30 lengths). He will now be spot on. It’s a big ask but he is way down in the ratings and with the minimum weight I don’t disregard him at all.”
Athandiwe Mgudlwa rides from a nice draw of nine out of 13. Ultra Magnus runs off a 102 merit rating and sneaks into the handicap, so if anywhere near his best he has a fine chance considering he won this race by an easy two lengths off a 115 in 2020 and finished a two length fifth off a 120 in 2021.
Stuart Ferrie runs Gr 2 Post Merchants winner Gladatorian in the New Turf Carriers Merchants and he said, “He is fit and well and if he travels well will run well. It’s competitive but there is no stand out sprinter in the field.”
He has a low draw of two, which is unfavourable by trends, and Muzi Yeni rides.