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Highveld conditioner could have another talented sprinter on his hands

David Mollett

When it comes to trainers with outstanding records in big race sprints, a name that springs immediately to mind is Corné Spies.

The 51-year-old highveld conditioner has had many talented sprinters through his hands including Rock Opera, War Horse, Fun Fly and Van Halen.

Perhaps that is why bookmakers have his two-year-old Prophet as the clear favourite for Saturday’s grade 1 Gold Medallion at Scottsville.

Prophet, a gelded son of Querari, goes to post unbeaten in two starts. Spies must be confident his young horse can take top honours.

However, it is a surprise that Sean Tarry’s runner, Thunderstruck, a 9-2 chance at the time of writing, isn’t closer in the market. The son of red-hot stallion Rafeef was particularly impressive when winning his maiden race by over four lengths.

On his own admission, it has not been a memorable season for Tarry — he will finish in third place in the trainers log — but his team are ending the campaign on a high and he has a number of his best horses in action on Scottsville’s biggest day of the year.

Karangetang picked up the prize for Champion Two-Year Old Colt/Gelding at the recent highveld awards, and owner Laurence Wernars will be hoping for a big run from his youngster.

Another runner to consider is Cliff Top who makes the trip from Alan Greeff’s yard in the Eastern Cape.

No question that the star attraction on the programme is top filly Captain’s Ransom, who is a short-priced favourite for the grade 1 SA Fillies Sprint.

This is the first time the filly has contested a 1,200m event, but Justin Snaith knows the Majorca Stakes winner inside out so must believe she has the turn of foot to see off her rivals.

Once again, the Tarry stable is very much in the mix — this time with Under Your Spell who has done her connections proud this term. Following her KZN Guineas success, the six-time winner will be no pushover.

Big Burn has played her part in Paul Peters’s magnificent season and she has each-way claims though the chances of her toppling Captain’s Ransom seem remote.

Peter is likely to be more confident about the prospects of Smorgasbord who looks set to throw down a challenge to the favourite Cosmic Highway in the grade 1 Golden Horse Sprint.

It has to be said that Cosmic Highway’s defeat at the hands of Zapatillas in the KZN Guineas was costly for many punters with Dean Kannemeyer’s charge backed in from 9-2 to 5-2. Backers will be looking to get their money back on Saturday.

Though he did have the advantage of a good draw, Smorgasbord’s third behind Silver Operator in the Drill Hall Stakes was a sound effort and will have tuned him up for Saturday’s grade 1 race.

In the Allan Robertson Championship, Peter relies on Miss Cool in which another Tarry inmate, Sweet Pepper, rates the main danger.

One had to be impressed by Miss Cool’s four-lengths win in the Nursery at Turffontein and Gavin Lerena retains the ride.



1 (1) Prophet

2 (12) Thunderstruck

3 (10) Karangetang

4 (4) Cliff Top


1 (15) Captain’s Ransom

2 (10) Under Your Spell

3 (8) Big Burn

4 (14) Capitana


1 (14) Miss Cool

2 (12) Sweet Pepper

3 (6) Ekoria

4 (9) Ameena


1 (15) Cosmic Highway

2 (8) Smorgasbord

3 (6) Good Traveller

4 (14) Real Gone Kid

Picture: Prophet