Our summer season is in full swing
with runners in almost every centre. We had a winner in Johannesburg, were just
touched off in the feature in the Eastern Cape and had a couple of nice winners
in the Western Cape, where all the action seems to be. I said all along
last year that our 2 year olds looked a special bunch and they seem to have
trained on to be nice 3 year olds. It was always going to be tough to get
them fit and ready, with AHS needing doing and horses coming in after holidays
on the farm. We had a game plan this year and tried to stick to it and
hopefully now it will pay dividends. Our horses have all run well on
their comeback runs and seem to be backing up those runs. I was
particularly impressed with Newlands. He finished a good second to Whisky
Baron. Both have had the cruellest cut of all and I am sure both will improve a
whole lot more.
It was lovely to see our 3
year old Captain Al, Pillar Of Hercules, win a handicap carrying quite a big
weight. The trouble is, unless he is a Group horse, the end of his career could
have come before he has even got started. Let’s see how things turn out.
Maybe I am a bit too much with the doom and gloom – certainly not about him but
how the races pan out for him in the future.
On Saturday, it was lovely to
see my old friend, Peter Choice, and his now-entrenched “must go for” race, the
Grade 2 Choice Carriers Championship. It was won by what looks to be a
good one in Ektifaa, trained by Mike de Kock. Good to see Mike come down and
hit the local boys early. He is certainly laying down his intent. It was also
good to see it ridden by a young up-and-coming jockey in Callan Murray. Looks
to be interesting times ahead as the fillies all appeared to finish in a bit of
a heap and who’s who in the zoo still needs to be sorted out. Time will tell.
We had our own excitement for
the day with one runner in the Grade 3 Drakenstein Vet Clinic Cape
Classic. It is a race we usually do well in and once again Lady Luck
shone down upon us with Table Bay. He was given a positive ride by Anton (what
else!) and he travelled well and won a good race. People would have been
disappointed with his debut but I have been saying all along it is different
tactics this year. Dare I say it: I think there is more improvement in him and
we will have to plan our races as we go along and talk to the Mayfair
management as to their needs and requirements.
We have a couple of nice
runners today (Tuesday) which sadly will have no bearing on this edition.
We do have an interesting card for the coming weekend. Although the fields are
small down here, the quality is high and it looks to be a great season ahead.
Things are also hotting up in
Johannesburg with the Summer Cup. Let me tell you; it is never easy
juggling the two racing centres and all the commitments that go along with it.
The Melbourne Cup was won by
Almandin, beating Heartbreak City ridden by the Master Joao Moreira in an
extremely tight finish. How often can we say that will happen? They
finished a long way clear of third and it just goes to show what a strong pace
the race was run at. Most were left wanting. An amazing achievement by
Lloyd Williams to win five Melbourne Cups, an achievement we will not see
again, certainly in what is left of our short lifetime.
And on that note, this is
your Captain signing off on DAY 249, 1st November.