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Picture: William Robertson just holds on on Saturday (JC Photos). 
There was a bizarre incident at the start of the Grade 2 Topbets Mike O’Connor Jo’burg Spring Challenge on Saturday at Turffontein Inside when S’Manga Khumalo felt there was something amiss with the favourite, the Corne Spies-trained William Robertson (Rafeef), and excercised his right not to ride him.
Replacement jockey Muzi Yeni subsequently won on him and trainer Corne Spies said today, “We checked him yesterday and could not pick anything up, and today the vet was happy with him. Kudos to Dr. Bawden on Saturday for sticking to his guns and keeping him in the race. I am thankful his judgement proved correct.”
Some might say Khumalo’s decision was selfish or irresponsible, but, on the other hand, how well would he have ridden with doubt in his mind?
But on yet another hand, Spies pointed out, “There must have also been doubt created in Muzi Yeni’s mind!”
William Robertson remains an entry in the Gauteng Summer Cup.
Talking about his stamina capacity, “Spies said, After The Rain (the pacemaker) was coming back at us at the line on Saturday (William R only held on by a quarter-of-a-length in the 1450m event), but if you take it on the third horse Bingwa, he was running on but not making up ground on us and Muzi did go for home early. So, I do think with a very patient ride he will get the 2000m of the Summer Cup.”
William Robertson will be nominated for the Grade 2 Charity Mile on October 29 and the Grade 3 Victory Moon Stakes over 1800m on November 5.
The latter race will be first choice.
After looking at the conditions Spies believed William Robertson would come in better weighted in the Victory Moon than he would in the Charity Mile. That race is over 1800m, so would also give the connections an inkling of the rangy horse’s stamina capacity. However, which race he runs it will also depend on the respective draws he lands.