David Mollett (Business Day)
Though one of the best jockeys ever to grace the SA turf, it’s fair to say the cards haven’t fallen favourably for Michael Roberts as a trainer.
Last season the 68-year-old KwaZulu-Natal conditioner finished in 28th place in the national trainers’ log with 39 winners. Not a bad tally for a stable with far less numbers than the big yards.
The man who has ridden such champions as Mtoto (England) and Sledgehammer (SA) knows a good horse when he sees one. So pundits will have sat up and taken notice when — after winning at Greyville in November — Roberts described See It Again as a seriously decent individual.
The three-year-old has a strong pedigree as her grandam, Sweet Virginia, is the dam of dual Durban July victor Do It Again.
Roberts has trucked See It Again to the Cape and the Twice Over colt will take on 14 rivals in Saturday’s eighth race at Kenilworth.
What will have delighted Roberts — and jockey Rachel Venniker — is that their raider has drawn well at barrier three. This is important with a large field of 15 runners.
Bookmakers quote Brett Crawford’s runner, Silvano’s Dasher, as the early favourite and that is fair enough as this R4.5m son of Silvano has won four of his seven starts and is probably still improving. The grey also has the advantage of pole position.
On the form book, there is little to choose between Silvano’s Dasher and Peter Muscutt’s runner, Imilenzeyokududuma.
The latter has won four races and is well on his way to recouping the R400,000 he cost the Hollywood Syndicate as a yearling.
Vaughan Marshall’s five-year-old, Look For Hounds, will have his supporters as the Pathfork gelding is 3.5kg better off with Silvano’s Dasher compared to their clash in December.
Saturday’s feature race — the Tattersalls Jamaica Handicap — offers trainer Candice Bass-Robinson a consolation prize for Charles Dickens’ defeat in last weekend’s King’s Plate.
Interviewed in Winning Form, the female trainer described the loss as a “body blow, but we are dealing with flesh and blood and we take the good with the bad”.
Bass-Robinson has two strings to her bow in the Jamaica Handicap as both Do Angels Cry (Aldo Domeyer) and Gold Poker Game (Gareth Wright) go to post with recent second placings to their credit.
As Gold Poker Game is set to receive 7kg from her stablemate, the daughter of Gold Standard looks a sound each-way wager at her price of 6-1.
Gareth van Zyl’s filly, Evening Primrose, is very much in the picture with two wins from her last three starts and it would be dangerous to discount the chance of Richard Fourie’s mount, Bye Bye Bombshell.
Justin Snaith, who trains Bye Bye Bombshell, also runs Black Silver and this choicely-bred mare also warrants inclusion in exotic perms.
Brett Crawford — now in second place in the national trainers’ log — sends out Time Flies, who cost the Hollywood Syndicate only R15,000 and has already earned over R200,000. The daughter of Dynasty should have no trouble with the distance of 2,000m which she is trying for the first time.
Kabelo Matsunyane rides Time Flies and the in-form jockey can also go close on Mike Stewart’s runner, Everlasting, in the seventh race. The daughter of What A Winter ran third on her handicap debut in November.
1st Race: No Selection
2nd Race: (1) Go Like Flo (11) La Pura Vida (12) Hierkommiebokkie (3) Simply Beautiful
3rd Race: (14) San Pedro (15) The Wolfofwolseley (7) Rainbow Colours (9) Barnbougle
4th Race: (13) Mary Lamb (11) Busy Lizzie (12) Global Songstress (9) Youcrackmeup
5th Race: (4) Ponte Pietra (1) Axl (7) Tuscan Gold (3) Fort Red
6th Race: (9) Gladatorian (2) Bright Green (8) Piroshka (1) Hammies Hero
7th Race: (7) Everlasting (6) Jury Duty (8) Copper View (13) Fashion Mistress
8th Race: (3) See It Again (1) Silvano’s Dasher (5) Imilenzeyokududuma (4) Look For Hounds
9th Race: (6) Gold Poker Game (1) Do Angels Cry (7) Bye Bye Bombshell (10) Black Silver
10th Race: (8) Steinbeck (1) Aeneas (2) The Futurist (4) Royal Watch