Double Superlative collars Rascallion close to the line. Two of SA’s three traditional majors have been run this season and both have been won by 33/1 shots (Picture: Wayne Marks)
David Mollett (The Molly Column)
Saturday’s WSB Met meeting may have been well organised, but as far as the majority of punters are concerned it was bitterly disappointing and they were left with empty pockets.
It’s scary to think how much money was riding on Piere Strydom and See It Again. There wasn’t a pundit in the country who went against Michael Roberts’ runner with the No 11 the only number ticked for thousands of place accumulators and Pick 6 tickets.
The only saving grace is that I had recommended in Turf Talk when the final Met field was announced that punters should take the 4-1 a place available about Without Question.
When Peter Muscutt met his son at Cape Town airport, he probably told the 28 year-old he had three nice rides for him from his stable but a place is the best you can hope for in the Met.
As it turned out, Danny made a smooth run from the rear to collar Rascallion who was given an enterprising ride by Bernard Fayd’Herbe.
Vaughan Marshall’s runner carried my loot in both the 2022 and 2023 Hollywoodbets Durban July, but defeating the favourite didn’t look on the cards.
It was a meeting where lady luck certainly did not smile on trainer Peter Muscutt. It’s probable that he considered Quasiforsure (backed in to 4-1 for the fourth race) as his son’s best ride. The five year-old only managed sixth place and worse was to follow when his sprint star, Isivunguvungu, was withdrawn from the Cape Flying Championship following veterinary examination.
So – at the middle of January – racing looked in good shape with pundits and punters looking forward to the clash between Charles Dickens and See It Again. Then came the news of the former’s retirement.
When you think about it, the Met result wasn’t what Drakenstein wanted. Charles Dickens would surely have taken advantage of a below par See It Again in the Met to add another Gr 1 to his CV.
Some website bloggers have voiced the opinion that Charles Dickens wouldn’t have stayed the 2000m of the Met – they don’t know that, they’re guessing.
The fact that Candice Bass-Robinson seemed upbeat about Charles’ prospects in media interviews is surely proof she felt her star performer would stay. Did the outstanding trainer retire to bed on Saturday night wondering just what might have been if the son of Trippi had been in the race?
The no-show of See It Again scuppered what I thought would be a brilliant intro to this month’s column.
The Oscars will be held in Los Angeles on March 11 and – at the evening ball – the winning actress (possibly Emma Stone for Poor Things) and (possibly Cillian Murphy for Oppenheimer) would have had the traditional first dance.
I was looking for a cartoonist who could draw our leading actress (Candice Bass-R) and leading actor (Michael Roberts) at a possible Cape gala at the end of February. Saturday’s result ended that idea.
Nevertheless, the big news from Met week were the figures released at the conclusion of the Premier Yearling Sale held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
For 119 lots sold, the aggregate reached R64,8 million which is a staggering 44,77% increase on 2023.
The average return was R545 336 which is a 22,88% increase on last year.
The destiny of Princess Calla’s half-brother (by Hawwaam) was always going to be of huge interest and it was good to learn that this choicely-bred youngster is headed for Johan Janse Van Vuuren’s stable to race for Laurence Wernars and partners.
After what he achieved with Puerto Manzano, Johan deserved a horse of this quality and many experts rated him the colt the best lot on the sale.
So now we move on to the big Gauteng features, particularly Saturday’s Guineas at the city track where another hero could be unearthed.
Unlike the Met, we must hope we get the two-horse showdown between Sandringham Summit and Main Defender – the winner could be our new superstar.