The timing couldn’t have been better. Just six weeks ago, we mentioned our bemusement at the apparent “thinness” of our anticipated Classic runners, with the Highveld and KZN racing now drawing ever closer. But six weeks can be a “long” time in racing, and in that relatively short space, no fewer than five seriously live prospects have popped up with arresting prospects.
The first to make his intentions known was Lostintranslation (by MUHTAFAL) who, from the worst of the draw, managed to make the money in the Cape Guineas (Gr.1) for Joey Ramsden. He followed up, after a short break, with an exceptional performance at Durbanville before his departure for KZN, showing just how important the draw might’ve been in the Guineas itself, with a professional 3 ½ length victory over a couple of highly rated Cape three year olds.
Paris Perfect (also by MUHTAFAL) has been there all year, and he now looks certain to be the East Cape Champion elect. A fortnight ago he took on his elders and taught them how to gallop in the Ibhayi Handicap in Port Elizabeth, and since he ran so well in both the Cape classics after little luck in the running, and again from the widest of the draw, he is an obvious candidate for the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Daily News 2200. So Gail Fabricius and Des Maclachlan are back in the Classic mix with the most winning of this season’s three year olds, (now a seven time winner).
Imbongi (by RUSSIAN REVIVAL) had disappointed in a couple of runs following his solid second in the Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Cup in early November, and this led to him being gelded. He came back somewhat short on fitness, and was still finding his way on his second start after the lay-off with a hampered fourth in mixed company. Nonetheless, that was notice for the first time that the gelding might’ve worked, and that he could be a runner in the Gauteng Guineas even though it meant he’d be up against the best of his age on the Highveld. He made no bones about where he’s going when posting a more than impressive victory there, and he’s now on his way to the R1.2 million S.A. Classic (Gr.1) on the 5th April. All being well, he’ll line up with the rest of them on Daily News Day in Durban at the beginning of May.
There are two sleepers out there, and the first of these to stake his claim was Art Of War (by KAHAL), Sheikh Mohammed’s Ready To Run graduate. When he made it three-in-a- row at Scottsville with a destructive effort against older horses. We haven’t spoken to Mike de Kock yet as he’s been away in Dubai with bigger fish to fry, but knowing Mike, he’s bound to be aiming him now for the old SA Guineas at Greyville on the first weekend in May (in which yet another Ready To Run graduate Dynamite Mike (by FARD), was victorious last year against the Three Year Old Champion, Jay Peg).
Finally, and by no means least because he’s last, Thandolwami who’s been on the boil for some time now and was an unlucky loser of the KZN Guineas earlier in the season for Craig Eudey and his mates, produced another class-topping performance at Scottsville on Wednesday. This chap now has four wins to his credit, (including his last three in a row), and he just doesn’t seem to know when to lie down. He goes to the Byerly Turk next, and then, to Greyville where he’s probably at his most effective, for his big assignment in the S.A.Guineas.
That’s five serious young horses to have unveiled themselves in the past six weeks, and while we’ll be delighted if they all get to the Daily News 2200 in early June, another six weeks like this, and we might have a few more to speak of!