Suzette And Basie Have Gold Rush Options
Negotiations will be taking place in the camp of leading owners Basie and Suzette Viljoen this festive season. Their two WSB Gold Rush prospects, Royal Aussie (Royal Mo) and Stratospheric (What A Winter), will be the subject of discussions and Suzette joked: “I think talks may get quite spirited!”
Here is the thing: Basie holds the 4th Prospector’s Ticket to the R7,5-million race at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on 28 January, but Suzette and her partners own the 97-rated Royal Aussie, the original Gold Rush log leader and still in the Top 6. Suzette is the outright owner of Stratospheric, rated 85 and is also in with a chance of making the final field.
Suzette commented: “I am not so sure at this point whether we will have to negotiate with Basie or whether he will come to us. Either way we are hoping to have a runner in the family, and if it is Royal Aussie my partners Dr Jill Warner and Dane Squance will share in the excitement.”
Royal Aussie was originally pinhooked at the 2021 Cape Premier Sale by Grant Knowles and then sold at the Ready To Run Sale. Suzette recalls: “I liked him, he was a beautiful strong colt and I asked Sue Snaith to give me her opinion. She confirmed that he looked the part so we bought him. I had Dr Jill Warner at my table that day, she was keen on him too and asked if she could buy in. We don’t often race with partners but this was a special occasion.
“Then, after the sale, Dane Squance phoned from Australia to ask if he too, could take a share. He liked the colt’s Australian female line. He is out of the Australian-bred Abelia, who also produced one my earlier buys, Angry Warrior (Vercingetorix). We like to follow thoroughbred families. We named him Royal Aussie for his dam, and for Dane’s interest.”
Royal Aussie has always been considered a strong candidate for Gold Rush honours and he topped the log for several weeks following his two wins and three places from five starts. “He had a bout of colic before the Ready To Run Stakes in October and his prep was interrupted, but he still finished less than half-a-length back in third,” Suzette said. “We had discussions with trainer Justin Snaith and we have decided to go via the G1 Cape Guineas into the Gold Rush, with the second race as his main mission. We believe he will do very well over 1600m.”
Stratospheric remains a Maiden after seven runs, but he’s taken good places behind some of the leading lights of his generation so far, including Charles Dickens and Champion Warrior, and should win soon. “We hope he can win before the Gold Rush, so his rating can go up. He’s a good back-up for us, a decent horse,” Suzette said.
WSB R7.5m Gold Rush Updated Log
The Justin Snaith-trained Itsrainingwilliam (William Longsword) was the biggest mover on the log over the weekend.
He finished fifth in the strongly contested Sophomore Sprint, beaten 3.05 lengths by impressive stablemate We’re Jamming, and the handicappers have raised him from and 88 merit rating to 94.
See Log Below:
Shoemaker Has A Wide Draw Plus Hardknockers To Beat
The Mike de Kock-trained Shoemaker was an unlucky loser in the Grade 3 Allied Steelrode Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m last time out and now has another wide draw to contend with in the Grade 2 Jonsson Workwear Dingaans over 1600m at Turffontein Standside on Saturday.
Thefutureisbright Puts His Hand Up For The Western Cape Stayers
The Justin Snaith-trained Thefutureisbright cruised to an effortless victory over 2400m under Richard Fourie at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth today, further confirming the growing evidence that Futura’s progeny get better and better with age.
The four–year-old gelding, whose merit rating going in today’s race was 92, was officially 2,5kg under sufferance with the best weighted runner under the Middle Stakes conditions, his stablemate Double Check, a 78 rated filly who only had to carry 50.5kg.
Carrying 60kg, he travelled comfortably throughout in fifth place one out with cover in the seven horse field.
In the straight he moved up under the hands and his big stride had soon carried him into the lead.
Richard Fourie just had to drive him with the hands to repel the challenge of Over Two You, whom he beat by two lengths.
The rest of the field were beaten 6,25 lengths and more, and that included MWOS Gold Cup fifth-placed Chewbaca, who carried 62kg and was beaten 8,80 lengths.
Considering he hardly came off the bit and is progressing all the while, Thefutureisbright looks an exciting stayer in the making and should be a big player on WSB Met day in the Grade 2 Western Cape Stayers over 2800m.
Hewitson Rides Double At Happy Valley
It has been a tougher season than many predicted for Lyle Hewitson in the most competitive racing arena in the world, but he has moved into fifth place on his own on the Hong Kong jockeys after a double tonight.
He won aboard the Danny Shum-trained Sunny Delight (Power) over 1650m in a class 4 event and on the Chris So-trained Exceptional Nice (Tavistock) in a class 3 race over 1650m.
He is now on 12 winners for the season, 34 behind the log leader Zak Purton, and he is two wins ahead of his compatriot Luke Ferraris.
Hurdles Superstar To Reappear At Newcastle
Nicky Henderson: ‘We’ve made the decision – Constitution Hill runs at Newcastle’
The course had around 8mm of rain on Wednesday morning and further rain is forecast on Thursday afternoon and during racing on Saturday.
Fourie/Snaith Double, Crawford, Marshall Doubles
Richard Fourie rode a double for Justin Snaith at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth today and Brett Crawford and Vaughan Marshall also scored doubles.
Fourie moved into joint second on the national jockeys log on 65, 36 behind Keagan de Melo.
De Melo has just been handed a seven day suspension, which will enable Fourie to close the gap.
Snaith has had the most winners of any trainer in the country this season, 53 at a strike rate of 14.13%.
Crawford is in second place on the log both in number of winners and stakes.
He has had 43 winners at a strike rate of 17.70%.
Marshall has had 13 wins at 8.28%.
How many people attended the 21 race meetings at Greyville for the measured year ending in May 1953?
(Answer at bottom of newsletter).
Vaal Classic Fields
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Today’s Question Answer
347,746 people attended those 21 meetings, an average of 16,559.