William Robertson cruised in over 1400m aat Hollywoodbets Scottsville in his last start (Picture: Candiese Lenferna).
The tough 1000m Hollywoodbets Kenilworth track might suit the top class Rafeef gelding William Robertson down to the ground, but Vaal-based trainer Corne Spies feels the risks of travelling down to Cape Town for the Gr 1 Cape Flying Championship outweighs the rewards.
He said, “With Cape Town you’ve either got to go way ahead and acclimatise, then you’ve got to come back and acclimatise, so that is a tough option. The alternative is to travel down-and-up in the space of a week and that knocks the living daylights out of them. It takes a while for them to get over that, so we are opting out of the Cape Town side of it and will concentrate on what’s happening this side rather.”
He said William Robertson’s chief goals would either be the Gr 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m (March 2) or the Gr 1 Jonsson Workwear Computaform Sprint over 1000m (April 6), or possibly both, and then the Gr 1 Golden Horse Sprint over 1200m at Hollywoodbets Scottsville (June 3).
There is then always a further possibhle race, the Gr 1 Mercury Sprint over 1200m at Hollywoodbets Greyville, in which he has finished a narrow second and a narrow fifth in the last two renewals.
William Robertson does have a Gr 1 third to his name over 1600m in the Premiers Champion Stakes at Hollywoodbets Greyville as a two-year-old. Corne points to his fine record over 1400m and said in his attenpts beyond that trip the jockeys had just tended to pull the trigger too soon. He believes there is no reason why William Robertson should not see out a mile.
William Robertson was an effortless winner over 1400m at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on November 19 and he heads there for another Pinnacle Stakes event over 1200m on December 3.
He will be attempting to make it career win number ten.
Corne said, “There are a couple of Pinnacles like that we can play around with to keep him on the boil and he is normally thrown into those races, so you can pretty much earn the same amount of money as going to Cape Town and with more confidence too. In Cape Town you have to really win it, but these Pinnacles keep him going, they are nicely spaced and with him being thrown in he will have a good chance in most of them. So moneywise we will still be able to do the same and still have a bit of a horse left for the rest of the season instead of having to be on the back foot.”
Corne is a part-owner of William Robertson and many of his other horses too.
He said he would try and keep Gavin Lerena on William Robertson where possible.
Lerena has ridden him in his last two starts, both victories.
Meanwhile, his classy sprint-miler Prophet (Querari) arrived back at the yard last week after a break on the farm.
Corne said, “He looks well and will have enjoyed the rest. We will get him ready for the Jo’Burg and Durban seasons.”