Corne Spies is convinced William Robertson (Rafeef), who has the highest merit rating among the Gauteng Summer Cup entries, will see out the 2000m of Johannesburg’s traditionally biggest race.
He said, “He has lethal form over sprint distances which creates a stamina doubt, but if you look at his build he looks much more like a classic horse. He did finish a neck second to Summer Cup runner up Majestic Mozart in January over 1600m (when receiving only 1kg which meant he was 4kg worse off than weight for age) and then in the Triple Crown races he had wide draws and just nothing panned out for him. In the SA Classic he was drawn widest of all and was sitting last and when Craig (Zackey) switched him out to make up some ground he shot from last to first in 200m between the 600m and 400m. Of course that was his race done, but he still finished just seven lengths back. So if he can sit in the pack and is let go in the last 200m there is very little who will go with him. The campaign plan is to, with a bit of luck, have some affirmation before the Summer Cup that he will see out the distance.”
Spies will thus be looking for a middle distance race in the build up, although his next race is going to be over 1400m.
William Robertson, who is merit rated 125, is an important entry because if he is scratched after the setting of the weights on 18 November, the entire field will be dragged up in the weights.
As things stand, and presuming that any of the 122 rated horses i.e. Safe Passage, Sparkling Water and MK’S Pride, stand their ground, the weights will be dragged up by 1,5kg if William Roberts comes out after the publishing of the weights.
The bottom weights will then have to carry 55,5kg.
The rest of William Robertson’s season will depend on the outcome of his Summer Cup campaign.
Spies said he would not want to stay down in Cape Town, but would think about raiding for either the L’Ormarins King’s Plate or WSB Met.
He spoke of the difficulty and expense of travelling horses to Cape Town.
Spies famously transports his horses himself and he said he had read somewhere about a travel incentive for Cape Town campaigners, but he had not read the details to see whether a private transporter would be covered.
Meanwhile, Spies’ talented three-year-old Prophet (Querari) is Dingaans bound. The Grade 3 Graham Beck over 1400m on October 29 will be his springboard into that race.
Spies said, “He was unlucky in the KZN season. He has got ability and I was very happy with his return run behind Thunderstruck.”
He was aware that was just a Graduation Plate, as opposed to a Grade 1, but the 1,20 length defeat did go some way towards confirming how unlucky he had been in the Medallion when having to switch and come around horses.
He said the 1200m was now also a bit on the sharp side for him, so he was very much looking forward to this horse’s three-year-old campaign.
The Spies yard has now moved in its entirity to Randjesfontein.
Corne’s farther Tobie started out at the Vaal in 1985 and they started the move to Randjes last September.
He said whilst he rated the Vaal training tracks as probably the best in the country, it was a long trek for the clients and they would be able to enjoy it more with the stables at Randjes.
He said there had also been no downturn in form since the move had been made.