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Peter is confident of chances of IOS Drill Hall pair Captain Fontane And Smorgasbord  


Leading trainer Paul Peter said the kudos for Astrix’s victory last Saturday in the Grade 1 wfa Premier’s Champions Challenge belongs to his farrier Jonathan Guy.

He recounted how stable staff had arrived at Astrix’s stable one morning when he was still a two-year-old and found a broken off blade embedded in the frog of his foot.

It was in so deep they could not remove it.  

They believed the blade must have originated from one of the machines that does the shavings.

Astrix consequently had to be box rested for six months after the blade had been removed.

Peter had always rated the son of Vercingetorix.

However, despite doing well over the following couple of years he always felt he had not been not moving quite as well as he could have been.

They decided to revisit the injured foot two or three months ago. 

Jonathan Guy dug into the foot and discovered “dry, dirty blood.”

Peter said the remnant of the infection had still been there.

Guy did a fine job cleaning the foot out. 

The frog is fast healing and “sole hardener” was also used to aid the process. 

“He worked hard on the foot and is a proper horseman”, said Peter about the top class farrier.

Astrix was clearly moving well on Saturday.

Peter also heaped praise on JP van der Merwe for a fine ride. 

He said, “It was a very good ride. The rest of the field let the front two go and they weren’t actually going too fast. JP gave him a breather at the right stage.”

Peter also spoke of Astrix’s phenomenal sire, Vercingetorix, saying he was doing what his father Silvano did but had the added dimension of being able to produce precocity too.

Astrix might go for the Grade 2 WSB 1900 on May 14 depending on what effect his new 122 merit rating has on his weight.

The Hollywoodbets Durban July is his chief target.

Peter said he was confident after Saturday’s race that MK’s Pride did get 2000m because despite being caught wide without cover the whole way he still managed to stay on and be beaten just 4,30 lengths.

He said he would now be targeted at the Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge and a decision would subsequently be made about the Hollywoodbets Durban July.

MK “Koos” Nkale must be one of the luckiest owners around because he owns only two horses, MK’s Pride and Maharanee (Flower Alley).

The latter was the easy winner of the Grade 2 SA Fillies Nursery.

Peter said, “Koos deserves it, he is a very good man … he is passionate and good hearted, he loves his horses and always comes around to visit them. He is a pleasure to train for.”

Peter said Maharanee, unbeaten in three starts, would appreciate further. 

She is looking to be something special.

Meanwhile, Peter said he would be disappointed if Captain Fontane (Captain Al) did not finish in the money in the IOS Drill Hall Stakes over 1400m at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday where he faces a top class field.

This horse stepped into a hole on his Cape Town debut when looking to be on his way to victory. He therefore lost his unbeaten record and was not quite himself in his next two runs.

Peter said, “He is working well. He had a grass gallop and is moving very well. He has a fine turn of foot and has a winning chance.”

Having said that he said here was nothing between him and Smorgasbord (Twice Over) and they are drawn one and two respectively.

Stable jockey Warren Kennedy is aboard Captain Fontane and Gavin Lerena is on Smorgasbord.

Picture: Astrix (JC Photos)