The Peter Muscutt-trained What A Winter gelding had to be switched a number of horse widths outward after finding his passage blocked by a wall of horses in front of him in the The Franschhoek Motor Museum Winchester Sprint Cup over 1000m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday before charging home to be denied a short-head by Mr Cobbs.
Anthony Delpech, racing manager of the Hollywood Syndicate who own Isivunguvungu, said Christophe Soumillon felt had it not been his first ride back from a two month suspension for the elbowing incident he would likely have won the race.
It is not surprising Soumillon took the cautious route, because the aforementioned incident cost him his retainer with the Aga Khan and brought him a lot of bad publicity.
Mr Cobbs finished runner up in last year’s Grade 1 wfa Cape Flying Championship and Isivunguvungu was giving him 4kg in Saturday’s race over the same course and distance.
Therefore, Isivunguvungu must have a lively chance in this year’s Cape Flying, considering the sprint division is not strong at present.
The race takes place on WSB Met day January 28.
Soumillon, who is a picture of balance aboard any horse he rides and always appears to be at one with them, will be back aboard and that will be good news for the connections.
Isivunguvungu showed a lot of promise as a three-year-old and this strongly built horse was coming back from a five month layoff on Saturday.
He is officially merit rated only 110, which gives him a lot to do on paper in the Cape Flying against horses rated as high as 125, not to mention the 121-rated Princess Calla, to whom he will have to give weight if she lines up.
However, he should progress into the finished article this season and should emerge as a leading light in the sprint division sooner or later.
Hollywoodbets themselves have him as Cape Flying second favourite at 11/2.
Resonate is favourite at 5/1 and Princess Calla at about 6/1.
Resonate was a neck behind Isivunguvungu in third on Saturday but was giving the latter 2kg.