Wendy Whitehead’s on cloud nine
with six winners from last seven runners
Wendy Whitehead was in form as hot as the Durban weather as she saddled the winners of the first three races at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Wednesday, Calvin Habib doing the honours.
But the show was far from over. Just to cement Wendy’s red-letter day, Ravens Sword made it four for the combination as he out-gunned all in the sixth and Athandiwe Mgudlwa rounded off a memorable afternoon when stalwart Teichman carried on his good form to hold off Brave Voyager in the seventh.
“I am just so excited, it’s simply amazing and I am still on a cloud,” Wendy said of this most successful day of her 21-year-long training career. She’d actually won six of her last seven races when the sun set on Wednesday, having also sent out Hooves Of Troy for his win at Scottsville last Sunday.
The five-timer brought Wendy’s seasonal tally to 30 winners, more than the figures reflected at the end of all her previous seasons. At this rate, she’ll be odds-on to hit the 50-winner mark this term which will be a wonderful achievement for a stable with just 40 horses.
She told Turf Talk: “I tend to get sore horses, rejects and even discarded young orphans. I found, for example, three babies through Have A Heart, the horse charity. They were only two months old and by leading sires Futura, What A Winter and Time Thief, just chucked out by their breeders. They were all put through recovery with special care, went into training and one has already earned a stake!”
Wendy’s known ‘TLC’ for every horse is admired by many and now that it’s starting to show in her results, she’s looking forward to more support. “I’ve had interest recently from people who have never expressed any – friends and friends of friends saying, ‘look, Wendy is doing well, let’s get involved!’ “
She praised her Summerveld team for hard work and said: “My two assistants are top class. Steve Mapaya has been with me for a long time and Isaac Nvila came from Lezeanne Forbes. They’re both pillars in the stable.”
Her recent spell of winners is also attributed to training a few runners of better quality, and she counts leading owner Sandy Arundel as a friend. “Sandy loves her horses and we speak regularly.”
Another valued patron is Nothemba Mlonzi, who breeds from her Howick farm established and prepared for her by the late Anton Proctor. “Nothemba is going places. She is serious about breeding and racing and John Fox has been assisting her. They have a number of good broodmares and they’ve been sending them to leading stallions.”
Mlonzi’s owns, among others, Sky Café and Mvulazana, winners on Wednesday and Wendy noted that both can win again. “Sky Café was overdue, Mvulazana hasn’t got the best of legs, but she doesn’t lack talent and we’ll be looking for small black type with her.”
Teichman, the six-year-old, has now won six for his partnership of owners including Sanjeeth Ramsewak and Wendy quips: “He asked after Teichman’s third win whether we shouldn’t call it a day, perhaps Teichman had had enough. But then we all decided to persist and he’s won another three races since. These are the things I live for.”
Her strong point: “One has to place the horses you have in the right races to maximise their potential. That is something a pay a lot of attention to.”
Wendy’s also one of those 24/7 trainers you’ll seldom find anywhere else but in her yard, attending to her horses. And that’s why, with some recognition but not yet enough, she’s climbing the ladder!
The Rush For a pot of gold… and more loot available for next year
There was a lively buzz at the V&A Waterfront’s Ginja Café when the final field for the R7,5 million WSB Gold Rush was announced on Wednesday evening.
The race, a great treat on the undercard for Met Day, 28 January, was opened to graduates of the 2021 Cape Premier Yearling Sale and is effectively owned by 16 prospectors who bought their big-race berth at R400 000 a pop. It is based on similar principles as The Everest in Australia.
There is a huge amount of money at stake here – the winning connections will share a whopping R5-million, along with personal pride, bragging rights and the possibility of getting involved In Gold Rush # 2.
Grant Knowles, who originally devised the concept for South African racing, said that eight of 16 tickets had already been sold for next year’s Gold Rush, based on yearlings sold at the 2022 renewal of the Cape Premier Sale. “We are very pleased with the interest generated for Gold Rush # 1 and new prospectors need to hurry up to secure slots for next year’s race. They’re going fast!”
Justin Snaith’s Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas fourth-placed Royal Aussie drew at gate 8 for this, the richest race run on African soil in recent times.
Richard Fourie will partner Royal Aussie, who at an official 109 is the highest rated runner in the field.
The son of Royal Mo races in the popular silks of Suzette and Basie Viljoen, in partnership with Dr Jill Warner and Australian-based, Dane Squance. Royal Aussie was originally pinhooked at the 2021 Cape Premier Sale by Knowles and then sold at the Ready To Run Sale.
The astute Knowles also bred Brett Crawford runner Champion Warrior at Klawervlei and then sold him to the Gujadhur family.
Champion Warrior will run on the Central Route Trading ticket, and Knowles also owns a share with Paul Barrett, Jacques Chowles, Ross Kieswetter, Ricky Sewgoolam, and Mesdames Gwen MacGregor and Brenda Moody, in the smart Cape Racing Ready To Run Stakes winner Seeking The One, who will come in under the Brett Crawford Racing ticket.
French Champion Christophe Soumillon is back for the big day and he partners the Vaughan Marshall-trained Dave The King for Gary Player and his partners, using the Klawervlei ticket. John Koster of Klawervlei said: “We originally had Yellowporscheroad, who ran second to Charles Dickens on his debut and then won before bleeding, but we’re pleased to have a chance with Dave The King, we are excited.”
Other deals were done in the run-up to the race following negotiations between ticket holders without qualifying runners and buyers wanting in. They include Nic Jonnson, who secured the Maine Chance ticket in a deal done with Andreas Jacobs and will be shouting for See It Again. The owners of Pas De Nom secured a stakes share deal with ticket holder, Laurence Wernars.
The field is:
|WORLD SPORTS BETTING GOLD RUSH|
|For 3-year-olds (Non-Black Type), R7,5-million, 1600m|
|1||MAX THE OTTER||60||89||A Domeyer||Candice Bass-Robinson|
|2||TRIPLE TIME||60||92||B Fayd’Herbe||Justin Snaith|
|3||KING REGENT||60||90||G Van Niekerk||Glen Kotzen|
|4||LORD WILLIAM||60||100||J Jacobs||Vaughan Marshall|
|5||ITSRAININGWILLIAM||60||94||P Strydom||Justin Snaith|
|6||SEEKING THE ONE||60||100||L Mxothwa||Brett Crawford|
|7||SEE IT AGAIN||60||104||*R A Venniker||Michael Roberts|
|8||ROYAL AUSSIE||60||109||R Fourie||Justin Snaith|
|9||CHAMPION WARRIOR||60||97||K Matsunyane||Brett Crawford|
|10||ASIYE PHAMBILI||57,5||88||S Khumalo||Sean Tarry|
|11||WINTER GREETING||57,5||90||C Habib||Sean Tarry|
|12||PAS DE NOM||60||97||K De Melo||Dean Kannemeyer|
|13||BILLY SPELLBOUND||60||81||G Lerena||Sean Tarry|
|14||DAVE THE KING||60||108||C Soumillon||Vaughan Marshall|
|15||TIME FO ORCHIDS||57,5||107||C Orffer||Vaughan Marshall|
|16||HAMMIES HERO||60||94||G Wright||Candice Bass-Robinson|
|0||FAMOUS AND RICH||60||96||Reserve 1||Glen Kotzen|
|0||RULE OF THUMB||60||84||Justin Snaith|
Bling believes Argo Alley is strong enough for middle distances now
Argo Alley, the handsome son of Argonaut, put an alley of daylight between himself and his opposition in an Open Handicap over 1700m at the Vaal on Thursday and jockey SManga Khumalo was suitably impressed.
Argo Alley failed from 1400m – 1600m before, but this win set the record straight. “He just needed his last run back, that was over 1200m just for some speed work. He’s come back bigger and stronger and I think he will stay well now. He had a couple of runs in yielding going, he loves the going on top,” said Khumalo.
Argo Alley is trained at Randjesfontein by St John Gray and Khumalo said: “I know Mr Gray has a soft spot for this horse. Well done to him and his team.”
Raised by ‘Cash’ Truter, Argo Alley has won three of 10. He’s progressive, confident and is one Quartet players will be watching in coming classics.
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“Susanna, I’m crazy in love with you…” (Art Company, 1984).