Yesterday bookies were betting 6-1 the field, with Knight To Remember the market leader, but once again I’m going for a real long-shot and am recommending Win and Place support of the Neil Bruss-trained filly, Adobe Pink.
Twelve months ago, regular readers of this column probably thought I’d lost my marbles when tipping In Writing in preference to his heavily supported stablemate Blake. Felix Coetzee made it a day to remember by bringing his mount home at the attractive odds of 18-1. I must add a comment yesterday from my buddy, Bryan Lidgey, who said “guaranteed we’re going to hear about In Writing in tomorrow’s column’’.
In my view, Neil Bruss is one of the most accomplished horsemen in the game. His CV makes pretty impressive reading. Eight-times champion trainer in Zimbabwe, a third and fourth in the Dubai World Cup, a first and second in the King’s Cup in Saudi Arabia and victory in the 2006 J&B Met with Zebra Crossing.
“Hard to say which I would rate the best but I felt it was some achievement saddling third and fourth in the Dubai World Cup,’’ said Neil yesterday. Third-placed Paris Perfect was given no chance by the pundits but Neil had the last laugh.
Neil had a spell as private trainer to Prince Faisal and the 1-2 in the King’s Cup rates a memorable occasion, along with Zebra Crossing’s Met win in the hands of Jeff Lloyd. “That was special because he carried the colours of my late Dad – it was a real family celebration.’’
On Adobe Pink, Neil says he will be disappointed if the filly – the mount of Kevin Shea – fails to finish in the first four. “I believe I’ve got her cherryripe at the moment. She’s had two starts here (in KwaZulu-Natal) and won them both. The only worry is that she’s got 55kg – I thought she might get in with 52.5kg.’’
Neil rates Gavin van Zyl’s talented performer, Seal, as the horse to beat. “I don’t know what happened in the July, but the horse must be OK now or he wouldn’t be running.’’
Just what the name Adobe Pink means, I’m not too sure. I Googled it and it came up with a restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico! Sally Jordaan – the filly’s owner – will be able to buy the place if her horse wins on Saturday!
Kolkata’s Gold Vase win on Durban July Day puts him right in the picture and – unusually – Piere Strydom might feel a bit of pressure for two reasons. A win would be vital for Sean Tarry in his bid for his first trainers’ title and also for the five year-old’s breeders, Klawervlei Stud, in their battle with Summerhill.
“Bloodshot Bruce’’ – still licking his wounds after Run For It’s narrow defeat in the July – fancies Sage Throne to run a big race. “Things really didn’t go for him in the Vase, but he still finished less than five lengths behind Kolkata and you can’t get hurt at his big price.’’
Another runner I feel could be involved in the finish is Mike de Kock’s Gold Bowl winner, Canterbury Tale. After the four year-old’s no show in the Gold Vase, Anthony Delpech has switched to year-younger Patriotic Rebel but he’s unproven over the 3200m Cup trip.
Raymond Danielson rode Canterbury Tale in the Gold Bowl at Turffontein, and I’m sure he’s delighted to have got the call-up to partner the son of Greys Inn once again.
Cherry On The Top has already made it a season to cherish for Ormond Ferraris, so it would be foolish to discount the chance of his raider Si Vous Plait. Make no mistake, the fact that Ormond is trucking the gelding to Greyville suggests he feels his charge has a realistic chance.
Gold Onyx gives Sean Tarry another string to his bow and – given his rich vein of form – could this be another big race win for S’manga Khumalo? UK bookmakers come up with some fascinating bets on big racedays – perhaps ours could price up on the first Tarry or De Kock runner home.
With four Grade 1 races on the card, Saturday’s Greyville meeting will resolve a number of issues as far as next month’s Equus awards are concerned. Let’s hope we witness most of the action on Tellytrack and don’t go wandering off to some obscure overseas meeting.
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Way back in 1992, the racing press (headed by Robert Garner, Etienne Louw and myself) conducted a campaign to get jockey Muis Roberts voted Sportsman Of The Year at the annual function at the Wanderers.
Given that racing was a “minnow’’ against the big sports of rugby, soccer and racing, we knew we were unlikely to succeed, but we persevered as Muis’ winning that year’s UK championship was a huge achievement. He was named in the six nominees, but not surprisingly failed to get the nod from the judges.
Now – 21 years later – we surely have another strong candidate in S’manga Khumalo. The popular Gauteng rider must have put his hat in the ring for the award after two G1 successes this year (the President’s Champions Challenge and Vodacom July) followed by his amazing nine winners last weekend.
While he’s got a long way to go to be rated alongside Muis, you just have to love S’manga’s never-say-die attitude which was never better illustrated than on Uptothemoon last Saturday. As far as the judges’ panel are concerned, he probably ticks a lot of the boxes.
I suppose a Bulls player will be in the running if they win the Super Rugby semi final at the weekend, but both Bafana Bafana and the Proteas have given SA fans little to cheer about this year. Yes, I like S’manga’s chances. Time for the new generation of racing journos to get behind him.