THE revamped Durbanville racecourse was given a resounding stamp of approval on Saturday by jockeys, trainers and officials as it hosted a meeting for the first time since the extensive track upgrade was completed.
The pattern was set as soon as the first race, as Platinum Class won from well off the pace despite being drawn one from the outside of the fourteen runners. This would have been virtually unthinkable previously over sprint trips, as a very wide draw was the kiss of death.
The widening and recambering of the top bend have largely negated the effect of the draw, while the home straight is virtually free of undulations, and provides a racing surface very few will be able to find real fault with.
The top jockeys professed themselves very satisfied after the first. Bernard Fayd’herbe said the track was “very good – it’s running quick and I was able to overcome a bad draw and come from off them”, while Richard Fourie’s verdict was “fantastic – you can race three wide and still run on, which was virtually impossible before”.
General Manager Racing Dean Diedericks was “over the moon – very chuffed with how things turned out. We deliberately started the surface out on the firm side, as the track still needs to fully establish itself”. – Tab News.
Veteran trainer Billy Prestage reminded everyone that Durbanville will still be a place to come and “steal” a race if you have the right horse. Prestage’s 2400m specialist Red Peril led from gun to tape in the Listed Settlers Trophy over 2400m under Wesley Marwing.
There are going to be any number of wins (some upsets) by front-runners at Durbanville, like there were in in the past. They are not just going to disappear and fade away from the front now that the track is deemed to be fair to all. With the recent revamps the perception has somehow been created that Durbanville no longer suits pace making types. Watch this space. The wily Mr Prestage saw it coming several months away and “lined one up” for old times sake. Punters who don’t think before they bet are going to fall into the trap of ignoring front-runners at Durbanville for the first few months and they’ll be worse off for it. The course will take its own back. Worth a chuckle, actually. – Editor.
Photo: Trainer Bill Prestage jockey Wesley Marwing after winning the Settlers Trophy with front-runner Red Peril. (Wayne Marks).