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Picture: Team Gold after winning the Listed Topbet Spring Spree Stakes under JP van der Merwe (JC Photos)


Roy Magner and Mike And Adam Azzie have particularly good records in the early Highveld spring season Turffontein Inside track features, which consist of the TopBet Spring Spree Stakes over 1200m and the later pair of races the Jo’Burg Spring Challenge and Jo’Burg Spring Fillies And Mares Challenge, both over 1450m.
It was therefore no surprise to see two of their horses, the progressive Magner-trained four-year-old Twice Over gelding Team Gold and the highly regarded Mike and Adam Azzie-trained four-year-old filly Sheela (The United States), fighting out Saturday’s Spring Spree Stakes, which is a Listed event these days.
Team Gold got up by 0,30 lengths to make it three years on the trot Magner had won this race.
Two years ago his five-year-old Kahal gelding Prince Of Kahal dead-heated with the Azzie-trained seven-year-old gelding Angel’s Power in the Grade 3 Spring Spree Stakes before going on to win the Grade 3 Jo’Burg Spring Challenge.
Last year Magner won the Listed Spring Spree Stakes with five-year-old gelding Vaseem (Vercingetorix), who proved he is currently still competitive by finishing a five length fourth to Team Gold on Saturday.
Prince Of Kahal won it carrying 57.5kg off a 113 merit rating under Dennis Schwartz, Vasseem won it carrying 55kg off a 100 merit rating under Muzi Yeni and Team Gold won it carrying bottom weight of 54kg under JP van der Merwe off a 98 merit rating.
Team Gold had been campaigned from 1400m up to 1600m this calendar year and looked to have been coming into his own in the latter part of his three-year-old season. He won two of his last three starts as a sophomore over 1500m and 1450m respectively and finished a close second in the other one over 1450m.
The question was just whether he had enough speed for the Spring Spree.
Punters and bookmakers thought not, because despite clearly being progressive he was allowed to go off at 8/1 odds, having at one stage drifted out to 10/1.
However, he showed good gatespeed to be handy and then despite being caught one wide without cover travelled comfortably in third place within striking distance of the pacemaker Sheela.
The latter stole a march at the top of the straight but Team Gold wore her down to get up by 0,30 lengths.
The favourite Val D’Orcia, carrying third top weight of 60.5kg, finished a two length third.
Team Gold was receiving 4.5kg from Sheela, so it was a fine effort by the latter and she can be followed this season as one with both speed and class.
Team Gold was raised five points to 103 and Sheela was given four points to go to 111, so the line horse must have been Val D’Orcia.   
Team Gold looks capable of repeating the feat of Prince Of Kahal by also winning the Jo’burg Spring Challenge for Magner.  
He was bred by Ridgemont Highlands and is owned by TJ Barnard.