Hluhluwe winning the Cape Turf Club Syndicates Progress Plate over 1400m at Hollywoodbets Durbanville last month under Grant van Niekerk (Picture: Wayne Marks)
Today’s (Tuesday’s) last race at Hollywoodbets Durbanville, won by the Vaughan Marshall-trained Fibonacci (William Longsword), franked the form of two Gr 2 Cape Punters Cup candidates, Hluhluwe and Green With Envy.
The Justin Snaith-trained Hluhluwe and his equally promising stablemate Snow Pilot are both running in the Cape Punters Cup over 1600m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Sunday, where they have tough draws in the ten horse field.
Jonathan Snaith said about Hluhluwe’s chances, “He is drawn widest and will be ridden cold early on. He will finish powerfully which will set him up for a huge run in the Gr1 Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas on 16 December. He’s improved considerably and could rival the Joburg contenders this season.”
Stable jockey Grant van Niekerk rides Hluhluwe.
Jonathan said about Snow Pilot’s chances, “He was still a little heavy last time out and will improve from that effort. JP Van Der Merwe will take up the ride. He’s drawn 9 but the race is on the summer course and he’ll have plenty of time and space to make his run. He is worth considering and could turn the tables on Questioning.”
Snow Pilot is a Drakenstein Stud homebred Lancaster Bomber colt.
Hluhluwe is a Drakenstein Stud-bred Trippi colt owned by Nick Jonsson.
Hluhluwe beat Fibonacci by 7,80 lengths when giving the latter 4kg over 1400m in his only start this season.
Before that Fibonacci was beaten 16,85 lengths by the Dean Kannemeyer-trained Green With Envy, also over the Hollywoodbets Durbanville 1400m course and distance.
Admittedly today’s victory for Fibonacci was over 1250m, but his only previous win was over 1400m at Hollywoodbets Scottsville, so it does make the above two formlines with Cape Punters Cup contenders interesting.
Green With Envy looks to be one who will relish the step up to 1600m too, so he could get closer to Questioning, who beat him by four lengths in the Gr 3 Cape Classic over 1400m.
Splitting them in the latter event was Snow Pilot, beaten 1,75 lengths.
Snow Pilot’s sire Lancaster Bomber’s only Gr 1 win was over 2100m. Snow Pilot is out of the former Snaith-trained Captain Al heroine Snowdance, who had a fantastic Cape Summer season as a three-year-old, winning the Gr 2 Western Cape Fillies Championship over 1400m, the Gr 1 Cape Fillies Guineas and the Gr 1 Majorca Stakes over 1600m.
Snow Pilot has a big action and took quite a strong hold in the Cape Classic, which was his first and only run of the season. If he finds cover from draw nine on Saturday and settles well he will be a massive runner.
Hluhluwe, by Trippi, is out of a Giant’s Causeway mare whose only win was over 1800m. He should relish the step up in trip and has already done well over 1500m, finishing a short-head second in the Gr 3 WSB Langerman to My Golly Molly at the end of last season. My Golly Molly also runs in the Punters Cup on Saturday, although he has to bounce back from a last place finish in the Cape Classic.
Hluhluwe has plenty of substance and when last seen on October 7 looked to have plenty of scope.
The Highveld three-year-olds Sandringham Summit and Main Defender hold the trump cards around the country at present.
However, interestingly, Fibonacci was beaten 10,50 lengths by Sandringham Summit in the Gr 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe over 1400m at HWB Greyville, so on that formline it gives the Cape horses hope.
However, the aforementioned comments from the Snaith yard about Hluhluwe and Snow Pilot are probably more significant than the above formline.
The Gr 2 Punters Cup is going to tell a story at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday.
Will it see the emergence of the Cape sophomores as a force?
They are usually the best, or close to it at least.
However, they are taking a while to emerge this season, perhaps due to the disruptive amount of rain during the winter.
Poor Draw Forced Peter’s Hand With Main Defender
Tony Peter’s crack gelding Main Defender, pictured beating Sandringham Summit in the Gr 3 Betway Graham Beck Stakes, is avoiding the Gr 2 Jonsson Workwear Dingaans and instead running in the Gr 3 New Turf Carriers Merchants (JC Photos)
Jack Milner (Tab4Racing)
The R5-million Betway Summer Cup will be run at Turffontein on Saturday but there are a number of other superb feature races on the 10-race card, including the Grade 2 Jonsson Workwear Dingaans over 1600m for three-year-olds and the Grade 3 New Turf Carriers Merchants over 1160m.
Many pundits were hoping for a replay of the Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m on Allied Steelrode Onamission Mile day where Main Defender and Sandringham Summit went toe-to-toe for the final 400m with the former getting the nod by a short head.
However, when the Dingaans declarations came through, Sandringham Summit was there but no Main Defender.
He instead, was declared to run in the Merchants over 1160m.
“In the Dingaans he was drawn right out wide,” explained trainer Tony Peter. “We didn’t have the heart to do that to him.
“He shows a lot of speed and he has a high cruising speed. You saw it in his first run, and in all his races he likes to be right up there. He’s waiting to get the go-ahead to go, so we’ve sharpened him up and we feel as if he won’t have a problem with the trip.
“Kabelo (Matsunyane) is sticking with him so that’s nice that we have someone who knows him on aboard, and we’re looking forward to a massive run.”
Peter also has two runners in the Grade 1 Betway Summer Cup – Electric Gold and Meridius – and he is expecting a bold performance from both, but has particularly high expectations for Electric Gold, in particular.
This was a horse of which Tony’s father, Paul Peter, always had a high opinion but the son of Flying The Flag suffered from breathing issues.
“Funnily enough, since we’ve gelded him the breathing problem has gone away. It might just have been a bit of haemoconcentration, and he’s a completely different horse since he was gelded,” said Peter.
“I think he’s had the right prep coming into this race. He’s going to find the 2000m on a more galloping track to his advantage.
“I didn’t think he had the best ride last time in the Victory Moon Stakes. I expected him to be in the first half of the field, but he missed the break and was too far out of his ground.
“The winner got an easy lead and Electric Gold still came running on really strongly to run third. I think from a good draw he will be right up there, and he will kick on from there.
“I think it’s hard when it comes to a big open race like this but he’s improved after his last run, he’s tightened up a lot more and he’s working really, really well so I’d be disappointed if he is out of the first four.”
While Electric Gold is perfectly drawn in gate No 5, Meridius is drawn widest of all at No 20. He also has not been tried over further than 1800m and finished second in both races, so Peter feels the four-year-old Canford Cliffs should stay the trip.
“He’s a horse who likes to get dropped out, so I don’t think the wide draw will be much of a problem. We’ll give him a chance, try to let him run on, and hope we get luck in running.
“He’s doing well and he’s a horse that on his last run in the Charity Mile he was running on, so it looks as if he should not have any problem with the extra distance. So, we’re just hoping for a good run from him.”
KZN Trainers Speak About Their Summer Cup Meeting Raiders
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.
Hollywoodbets Greyville Turf Wednesday Formguides
Sleek As Silk Has A Chance In The Seventh (Picture: Candiese Lenferna)
1 12:25 PM – tabGOLD New Soccer Scores Maiden Plate (F & M)
It would be great to see SEA OF TEARS finally shed her maiden tag. It will be her 23rd start and after constantly earning she could get it right from gate one. AN AIR OF PRIDE has patchy form but was suddenly denied the win by a short head last time. She should also have a big say from a good draw. There are well-bred first-timers in the line-up and it should pay to follow the betting market closely.
2 1:00 PM – Gold Circle Racing YouTube Channel Maiden Plate (F & M)
DYMONDIA should get it right after running two crackers in a row. She will need to bring the form to the turf but being a young filly should have no problem, especially with Richard Fourie in the irons. ELUSIVE BELLE rates her biggest danger on exposed form. The latter finished 1.20-lengths behind DYMONDIA the time they met but is also improving and did catch the eye over shorter at Hollywoodbets Scottsville thereafter. STYLE ICON and RAINBOW OF ROSES have shown ability but are still learning the trade. More can earn.
3 1:35 PM – www.tabgold.co.za Fm 76 Handicap (F & M)
SEA GODDESS ran a fair race when dropping in distance. She hasn’t been too convincing over this distance but earlier won over further and it could just be a question of timing with her. The stable is in good form. AQUAE SULIS has come in for support but has been a tad disappointing. From a wide draw she could just run home strongly and get her confidence boosted. WHATSUPBUTTACUP must be better than her latest when out the money with a tame finish. She impressed prior and may have improved during a rest. Versatile BLAZING ASTUTE can bag another win if the race is run to suit. More can upset.
4 2:15 PM – Follow In The Box Seat Podcast Mr 67 Handicap
LAUDATO took a few runs to come to hand but beat a fair sort last time and needs to be respected. He will need to bring the poly form to the turf though. PONGOLA finished just over 9-lengths behind See It Again on soft ground and that form could be good enough to win well here. However, he has shown best form over shorter. POLITICAL PARTY reserves his best for this track and it looks the right race for him, but he has drawn widest. LEOPARD LADY can score an overdue win as she has the best of the draws but it won’t be easy against males. TIME TAKER and DUKE OF AFRICA have claims.
5 2:50 PM – tabGOLD Score 10 Fm 74 Handicap (F & M)
CONTRA FISCUM proved a revelation on the polytrack. Even if it was a weak field, she won easing up by more than 8-lengths and is probably the one to catch. WAR EMPRESS has good recent form and should be knocking loudly at the finish again. A wide draw may just see her arrive too late. CHELSEA FLOWER is enjoying sprinting. She has run two good seconds in a row and drops further to 1000m. West Cape filly KENNEDY could be anything on her local debut. She showed promise earlier in her career and is lightly raced. PREDATOR’S FEAST can improve in her second run after a rest.
6 3:25 PM – Call Now! Or Play Online. www.trackandball.co.za Mr 66 Handicap
ALL THE TIME has finished runner-up in two of his last three and has had excuses. He was most unlucky over the course and distance three starts back and if getting a bit of luck can revisit the winner’s enclosure. BUSTER KEATON gives the feeling he doesn’t know what to do after moving up into contention. After running two good races in a row Richard Fourie gets the chance to get his head in front. FEW DOLLARS MORE lost his rider halfway through the race last time. He needs to be respected on his maiden win. WINTER WAVES and STEVIE GEE must be respected in this.
7 4:00 PM – Greyville Convention Centre Fm 82 Handicap (F & M)
TARA STAR is worth a look even if taking on a decent bunch. She has shown promise and is bred to enjoy the distance. LUCKY MISS is always dangerous over this trip and has drawn well so could score her next career victory. She rates the form choice. SLEEK AS SILK won a thriller on the poly two runs back but is even better on the turf. She races for a stable in good form. AFRICAN BEAT showed consistent work before a rest and could be a big threat with the leading rider up. The stable jockey, however, is on STATUS QUO who could be anything after winning her second start.
8 4:35 PM – Hollywoodbets Bright Future Mr 66 Handicap
There has been betting support for INTREPID even though he has been costly. He caught the eye last time and should have a big say dropping in class. Watch out for promising filly LE PREMIERE who has produced powerful finishes in both starts. She could be looking for the extra. BRASS BELL hasn’t been too convincing on the poly and the switch to turf could see him back to form. RAFIKI will be looking to turn it around with LAKE COMO who won his last race in good fashion. FINAL DESTINY could pop up in this at good odds.
Happy Valley Wednesday Meeting Preview
Douglas Whyte and Zac Purton team up in the fifth race at Happy Valley on Wednesday night with Durham Star (Deep Field) (Picture: HKJC)
Luke Middlebrook – Hong Kong racing returns to Happy Valley on Wednesday night (22 November) for an 8-race fixture under the lights.
Trainer Francis Lui’s thriving five-year-old, ALL IS GOOD, aims to extend his winning streak to five when he resumes in the Class 3 Handicap over 1650m.
It took 15 starts for ALL IS GOOD to shed his maiden tag, but he has not looked back since achieving that feat in early May. Posting a winning hat-trick in Class 4 in his final three runs for the season, ALL IS GOOD made his Class 3 debut first-up on the opening day of this season and was confidently backed to get the job done as the $1.8 favourite. He did so easily, cruising clear by a decisive 1.5 lengths over 1400m at Sha Tin.
ALL IS GOOD hasn’t raced since then but has also not missed a day of work. He has trialled well twice ahead of Wednesday’s race, and Lui has found another winnable race for him. The likely leader, OUTGATE, could prove hard to run down based on his win two starts ago, while you can overlook his last start effort as he was used up in the early stages and understandably faded in the stretch.
Class-dropper, PRIME MINISTER, warrants respect and so too does Pierre Ng’s entrant QUANTUM PATCH, who seems to be improving all the time with more race experience.
In the final race of the night, a competitive Class 3 over the 1200m course, four-year-old gelding DENFIELD has drawn an all-important low gate for his fourth-up assignment.
Trained by Danny Shum, the gelding has faced challenges with wide and awkward draws throughout the majority of his 10-start career. However, this week he comes into barrier 2, offering jockey Vincent Ho a better chance of luck compared to recent races. In his last start, DENFIELD raced from barrier 8, marking his first foray into Class 3 after an impressive second-up win in Class 4. Despite racing wide throughout, he was only beaten by 2.5 lengths.
Having demonstrated tactical versatility, Ho will have options aboard DENFIELD depending on the race’s early unfolding. However, it seems likely that he will map just off the leaders – O’Liner and Colourful Emperor – and have the last crack at them.
Video Replay Stars
Race 6 – 2 SOLID SHALAA
Jumped favourite on his second try in Class 4 last start but had excuses which resulted in him finishing 3.25 lengths into 10th. Shortly after the start he was checked when crowded by another runner before being steadied away from the heels of another runner at the 950m, consequently racing at the rear. It was also a very slow run race, so he had no chance of being in the fi nish from his rearward position.
Race 8 – 5 SUGAR SUGAR
Had excuses in the run last start when beaten two lengths into fi fth. Raced tight for some distance on jumping before racing too keen in the middle stages. Near the 300m was disappointed for a run between two runners before being steadied again near the 150m before securing clear running after the 100m. Still plenty to like about the performance and he should be able to improve here with clean aiI.
Sectional Time Stars
Race 4 – 2 GORGEOUS VITALITY
Plenty of pace on here to suit his chances while he is third-up for the season and also on his third run back in Class 4 where he is well placed. Had vet excuses last start as favourite but if he can let down with his sharp turn-of-foot he has previously shown, he will be hard to hold out.
Race 7 – 12 QUANTUM PATCH
Turned in a decent first-up run when wide throughout over 1800m but still let down with the fourth fastest final 400m of the race to check in fifth, beaten 3.25 lengths. Promising effort and seems to be acclimatised for the in-form Pierre Ng yard.
Luke Middlebrook’s Selections
R3 #8 Win
R6 #6 Win
R7 #3 Win
R8 #10 Each-Way
Race 1: Nordic Combined more than capable of winning again in this race after he scored a big win last start when first-up off a stable change. He could have more to come. Ernest Feeling last start winner who remains in the same grade and has trialled well since transferring to Jamie Richards’ yard. Charming Steed looks a solid good chance based on last start. Brilliant Pioneer every chance last start but still ran a good race when second. Gets every chance again here from gate 3. Happy Tango will win in this grade very soon. Trialled okay recently and should run a race.
Race 2: Cordyceps One placed last start and looks a chance to run well again. Always dangerous in Class 5 and should be in the finish. President’s Choice down in class in this race and should perform better. Purton rides and he should be going close if he runs up to prior Class 4 form. Splendid Star go on the win two starts ago and give a chance here. Maps to suit his pattern from gate 3. Get The Monies down in class here and can surprise up in distance and blinkers on first time. Nice Birdie video replay showed last run was very good.
Race 3: M Unicorn caught the eye last start when running home well from a wide draw. Fair to say he was beaten by the wide alley but can bounce back from a mid-draw here. Club Soda second start and will be fitter. First-up run was a pass mark, finishing close up, and Purton rides from gate 2 for Size here. Happy Angel consistent form lately and can score here. Begins fast from gate 3 and will give a sight. Master Tornado will win in this grade very soon. On-pace for a long while from pole position. Palace Pal remains a maiden galloper but clearly gets a chance to win here.
Race 4: Prosperous Smile newcomer who looks a winning chance in this race after turning in several impressive trials. Not many win first-up over 1000m at the Valley, so he has history against him to a degree. Circuit Seven showed good speed to lead last start and gave a good sight. Purton takes over the reins and will run a race here. Harmony Fire bled last start and has been rested. Very well rated now back into Class 4, and can win if he’s healthy. Gorgeous Vitality had excuses last start and forget the run (read “Track Spy” for more information). Ace Talent is better than recent form indicates and can improve.
Race 5: Durham Star was an easy last start winner and finds a race where he can repeat the dose should he show up in the same form. Win Win Fighter looked unlucky when being held up at a crucial stage last start from a wide draw. Comes into mid-draw and should improve. Killer Instinct looks a chance if you go on previous consistent form. Should run a race for Vincent and Caspar from a low gate. Super Elite has finished close up recently and can run well. The rise in distance looks key to his chances here. Fortune President last start winner who retains good form and can run well again.
Race 6: Golden Rise turned in a good debut run and looks to have ability for the Size yard. Should come on plenty for that run and Purton jumps on second-up. High Percentage looks overdue for a win and enters this race in good form. Drew wide last start and was ridden for luck. Comes into gate 4 here and chances look strong. Solid Shalaa had genuine excuses last start and can improve in this race (read “Track Spy” for more information). Jumbo Legend good performance when storming home for third place over 1000m last start. Rising to 1200m second-up suits, can bounce back anytime this class. Scotch Tycoon turned in a nice effort last run when finishing strongly into fourth.
Race 7: All Is Good racing in career-best form, winning his last four races, and gives the impression he still has more to come. Races first-up off a good trial and this isn’t an overly strong race. Outgate can lead in this race and be hard to run down like he did two starts ago. Last start, he was used up early and faded late in the straight. Quantum Patch caught wide last start and still ran well (read “Track Spy” for more information). Prime Minister drops down in grade and start following. Eighteen Palms fresh up from a break and should run well. Barrier 12 is far from ideal however.
Race 8: Denfield caught wide last start and still ran well. Comes into barrier 2 here, which should make a world of difference, and gets his chance to win a Class 3. Sugar Sugar had genuine excuses last start and consider again (read “Track Spy” for more information). Colourful Emperor a fast beginner who can run well if he finds an easy lead. Purton takes over the reins and a win appears imminent. Brave Star looks a solid good chance based on last start but barrier 10 is tricky. Never Too Soon well supported last start and won accordingly – questions remain if he can go on with it or not.
Sir Alex Ferguson Talks About His Life In Racing
Joy for Sir Alex Ferguson as he collects the Bahrain Trophy with fellow owner Ged Mason alongside trainer Richard Fahey and jockey Oisin Orr. Credit: Bahrain Turf Club
Exclusive interview with Sir Alex Ferguson: My late wife Cathy would kill me if she knew I spent £650,000 on two horses last week
Legendary former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had “my best ever moment in racing” when Spirit Dancer landed the Bahrain International Trophy last week.
He was interviewed below by Gambling Zone.
Sir Alex has 32 racehorses in training and also a stud operation in Hemel Hempstead – which bred Spirit Dancer
Ferguson says his late wife Cathy would kill him if she knew he had spent £650,000 on two horses last week
The former Manchester United boss is also optimistic with Jim Ratcliffe’s investment in the club
Sir Alex was speaking exclusively to Gambling Zone. https://www.gamblingzone.com/uk/the-zone/sports/in-the-zone-sir-alex-ferguson/
My late wife Cathy would kill me if she knew how much I was spending on horses
Last week we bought two horses, one from Ireland – a pointer – and one from France. John Hales is the man who has all the contacts. We depend on John and we’ve bought some very good horses on his recommendation.
They don’t come cheap now. We paid £450,000 for the French horse and £200,000 for the Irish horse. That’s £650,000 and I had to write quite a large cheque. One of my sons said, ‘What are you doing?’
My late wife would kill me if she was alive if she knew the amount of money involved!! I must say at the time when I started it was a big release for me.
I never give instructions to trainers or jockeys. I never interfere with a trainer. I would never let anybody interfere when I was a manager so why should I interfere with people who know better in racing.
I have 32 horses in all now – though one of my stars is injured and won’t run until next year
I have 32 in all. I have six with Highclere. Most are National Hunt and a lot are with Paul Nicholls. And with Dan Skelton.
I have got a few on the Flat. Spirit Dancer is one with Richard Hughes and two with Andrew Balding. He’s very good. One is called Hampden Park who won by ten lengths at Ascot first time out in October. He’s injured now and won’t run until the spring.
Building a team was my main strength as a manager – trainer Paul Nicholls’ yard is just like that
Yes. You have times when the team is great, when the yard is great. Paul Nicholls talks about that when you have your ups and downs. Sports goes in cycles – he had the glory years with Denman, Kauto Star and Big Buck’s. I think his yard will soon be back in the big time.
Building a team was my main strength when I became a manager. It is about leadership. I did it three times. Managers of clubs like Manchester United keep their job through what their team does on the field. Most managers concentrate purely on the first team.
I didn’t do that. I built the club through youth.
Some staff at Man Utd suggested I get something else to do during a break and we went racing at Cheltenham – then I bought my first horse
It all began when I was a child and my father loved the horses. That’s the root of it. He would study Timeform and place his bets.
I backed a few horses when I was younger and went to the races at Ayr and Hamilton. Then I gave it a miss until I went to Aberdeen. Then at Manchester United there was a period when I was working too hard. My wife said, ‘You are going to kill yourself.’
Some staff suggested I get something else to do. There was a break in the season around March time, which is the month when Cathy and I were married. So I said, ‘Do you fancy going to the races?
She asked me where that idea had come from and I told her she was always on to me to do something else. We went to Cheltenham where we met Dessie Scahill and John Mulhern and they became good friends. We were driving into London on the way back and I said,’ Do you fancy buying a horse? I bought my first horse with Jack Berry.
It was a release valve to start with. Then it became more serious! It is a passion now. I have made quite a big investment in National Hunt.
I am especially proud of Spirit Dancer’s win in Bahrain because he was my first foal
I didn’t think we had a great draw. It depended though on how he got out of the gate. He was 25-1, the outsider. Godolphin had five horses. That’s greed!!
He is a homebred. I have had my stud in Hemel Hempsted for six years. He was my first foal by Frankel out of a mare I bought called Queen’s Dream. I am especially proud because he was my first foal.
It was a new adventure for me to get into breeding to be honest. I bought the mare from Andreas Wohler in Germany, she’s at Hemel Hempstead, it’s a good family. The first foal was a Frankel and that’s why we were in Bahrain. We’ve had other horses who have done well but Frankel has been fantastic.
A friend of mine got me the cover from Frankel. I decided to put him with Richard Fahey in Malton. It is easier for me to get to see him there in Yorkshire.
Trainer Richard Fahey has been patient with Spirit Dancer but he has got better each year
I watched the Yorkshire trainers. I had a horse with Mark Johnstone who was very good, Tim Easterby and Kevin Ryan.
I thought I’d give Richard Fahey a try. I went to his yard and was impressed and he has done so well with the horse. He has been very patient because the horse has had a couple of niggling injuries at the start. As a two year old he only ran once.
As a three year old he had a couple of problems at the end of the season so we put him away. Each year he has gotten better.
This was no doubt the best ever moment for me in racing
That is the best no doubt, the best ever moment in racing for me. 100 yards out he looked like he was going to win but I didn’t want to count my chickens. I was just praying and he carried me over the line. The last thing I said to the jockey (Oisin Orr) was , ‘Remember he is a Frankel.'”
And he showed all the heart of a Frankel. Richard said to me that the trophy for the race looked like the FA Cup which he said I was used to picking up.
In five years time, Bahrain will be matching Dubai in terms of the racing
It was my second time there. In 1986 we were invited by the Crown Prince who is now the King. We played a select team. It has changed a lot since! The potential here is enormous.
You can see that in five years Bahrain will be matching Dubai in terms of the racing. I really think so. They have plenty of land for a start to build things and the money they have gives them the chance to do things.
I loved the hospitality there. I signed a lot of things and had my picture taken but it only takes a second. You shouldn’t ignore people, particularly kids. You have to show patience for this kind of thing which I think I always have done.
Orffer/Nel Double, Mxoli and Marshall Doubles
Lightly raced Five-year-old What A Winter gelding Axl recorded his second career win in his 12th career start today and did it in fine style. He clinched a double for jockey Corne Orffer, trainer Andre Nel and owner Sabine Plattner in the process (Picture: Wayne Marks)
Corne Orffer rode a double for Andre Nel at Hollywoodbets Durbanville today.
Philasande Mxoli and Vaughan Marshall had individual doubles
Orffer goes to 14 wins for the season at a strike rate of 14.43%.
Mxoli goes to 26 wins at 12.21%.
Nel goes to 14 wins at 12.61%.
Marshall is on ten wins at 12.37%.
Today was the last meeting at HWB Durbanville for a while and the Western cape Jockeys log sees Grant van Niekerk in front on 28 wins, Richard Fourie on 23, Aldo Domeyer on 20, and Luyolo Mxothwa and Corne Orffer on 14.
The top five on the Western Cape Trainers log on stakes earnings are:
Justin Snaith (36 wins) R4,075,087.50
Candice Bass-Robinson (27 Wins) R2,962,350.00
Brett Crawford (20 wins) R2,139,893.75
Vaughan Marshall (14 wins) R1,527,125.00
Glen Kotzen (9 wins) R1,284,418.75
The horse in question with his owner Maurice Lipschitz after the 1943 General JJ Pienaar Handicap (southafricanracehorse.wordpress.com).
Which winner of the Summer Cup equaivalent was regarded as the best horse seen in South Africa in the first half of the 20th century?
South African Champion Two-Year Old (1939/40)
South African Champion Three-Year Old (1940/41)
Lenin (foaled 1937) was a South African bred thoroughbred racehorse who was a Champion at two and three years of age in South Africa. He was purchased for 650 guineas by Maurice Lipschitz at the 1939 Rand Yearling Sales in Johannesburg. He raced from 1939 to 1943 in South Africa and won 18 of his 44 starts and ZAR32,422, an earnings record at the time. Among his wins were The South African Derby, Johannesburg Summer Handicap, Champion Stakes, Benoni Guineas and Natal Guineas. He won from 1000m to 3200m. He is regarded as the best racehorse to have run in South Africa in the first half of the 20th century.
South African horse racing at that time was dominated by handicaps and there were very few equal weight races outside of age group (two and three year old) races. As a result Lenin carried 133lbs or more in 33 of his 44 starts. Had he raced in the modern era with its many weight-for-age races it is almost certain he would have won many more races. Edmund Nelson wrote in 1966 in the South African Racehorse magazine that “the allocation of the big money should be on merit, not the whim of the handicapper. Our big handicaps are too rich in value, and they encourage false values in assessing the official statistics”. Writing in 1982 renowned racecourse commentator Ernie Duffield wrote “The present record stake-earner Politician, would never have won the number of races he did win if he had raced in the old days, because we did not have the number of weight-for-age races and he would have been penalised correctly for every one of his wins“.
Lenin was foaled at the famous Vogel Vlei Stud owned by the Birch Brothers. His birth “encapsulated the Birch philosophy of never mollycoddling horses. Lenin was actually born out in the veld during a snowstorm.” “Nobody could get to him for a whole week, but Drohsky suckled him and kept him alive all that time”. “Lenin’s mother was an imported English mare called Drohsky, who is still revered among the Birches and ascribed “foundation mare” status. Drohsky’s family threw dozens of great racehorses, with her grand-daughter Maritime producing no less than two July winners, Sea Cottage and Naval Escort, and a July second, Top Gallant.”
Lenin “remained the greatest hero of the (South African) turf for some 25 years until two great horses, Colorado King and Sea Cottage, began vying for the title“. Lenin was retired to Lion Hill Stud in 1943 by his owner Maurice Lipschitz. Two of his daughters produced two decent stakes performers in Cuff Link (Johannesburg Summer Handicap, Gold Cup twice) and Casbah (Johannesburg Spring Handicap, Johannesburg Summer Handicap)
6 starts 4 wins 1 third ZAR5,016
South African Produce Stakes (1000m Gosforth Park) beaten 4 lengths
South African Nursery Plate (1000m Turffontein) by 2.50 lengths
Turf Talk is a complimentary daily newsletter, from Monday to Friday, featuring unique content, views and profiles from the South African horse racing industry and newsworthy international events. The newsletter delivers newsworthy stories promoting the wonder world of thoroughbred horseracing.