Racing News 15.3.2017 10:37 am

Binda the ‘Kapellmeister’ of orchestrating outsiders

SWANSONG. Night Editor (Calvin Habib) is led into the winner’s enclosure by Clinton Binda and his wife, Sue, at Turffontein after the son of Right Approach won his final race before being put out to pasture on 14 February.

SWANSONG. Night Editor (Calvin Habib) is led into the winner’s enclosure by Clinton Binda and his wife, Sue, at Turffontein after the son of Right Approach won his final race before being put out to pasture on 14 February.

Forthright personality has attracted owners to the yard.

So, today, be honest. How many times has a Clin­ton Binda winner stuck you out of the Pick 6?

Maybe, five or six. No, make that between 10 and 15.

Want some recent evidence.

28 Feb Turffontein: Nine year-old (yes, nine) Kapellmeister (at R25-1 on the tote) having his 94th start wins the 11th race of his ca­reer in the hands of Calvin Habib. The Pick 6 pays R239,000.

2 March Vaal: De Lujo (20-1 on the tote) is another winner for the Binda stable and there’s a Pick 6 carryover of R981,000.

While the big guns in Gauteng racing like Sean Tarry, Mike de Kock and Geoff Woodruff house choicely-bred thoroughbreds in their strings at Randjesfontein, Clinton’s yard is to be found on his property at Nooitgedacht north of Fourways.

“We’ve got a string of about 72 – mainly younger horses – and Lu­kas Bester is my assistant. Jock­eys don’t come to ride work – that’s the way I like it.”

It’s a formula that clearly works as Clinton has earned a reputa­tion similar to that of Mike Stew­art in the Cape – he can revitalise horses who are considered past their sell-by date and get them earning again.

Kapellmeister is the perfect example. “He cost R475,000 as a yearling, but I got him for R50,000 and he’s been a good earner.” That’s no maybe – the latest win took his earnings over R800,000.

Clinton was considering retir­ing Kapellmeister but has had a rethink so it’s very much on the cards that he’ll reach the mile­stone of 100 appearances.

The 51 year-old Clinton is no new boy on the block as – with the assistance of his attractive wife Sue – he’s been sending out win­ners for a number of years. Horses who have excelled include Due And Payable, Mystical Jet, Night Editor (now retired) and, more re­cently, Al Azraq.

When I first met Clinton many moons ago, my first impression was that he was probably a bit use­ful on the rugby field in his youth and that I wouldn’t fancy being a burglar caught robbing his house!

It is, unquestionably, his forth­right personality which has at­tracted owners to the yard. In a previous interview he was asked what he thought was important when dealing with patrons and his reply was “honesty and com­munication”. This is why he’s at­tracted such big name business­men as Bernard Kantor and Larry Nestadt.

If you google Clinton’s achieve­ments you’ll find he’s hit the news on a few occasions – at the end of August 2013 he was top of the trainers’ log having saddled 10 winners from 35 runners. Three years previously he had won two races in two days with his horse, Saint Stephen.

These days everyone wants the services of Andrew Fortune, but the country’s most charismatic jockey seems to team up mostly with Clinton and Turffontein trainer, Gary Alexander.

“The big thing about Clinton is his knack of getting older horses right – you think they’ll never win again but under him they come to life again,” said Andrew.

He’s built up a good relation­ship with the sprinter, Al Azraq, and Clinton can be proud of the Toreador gelding’s achievements as the horse lost an eye in a float accident en route to competing at Greyville.

More recently, Andrew has teamed up successfully with Aus­sie-bred Flemington and Great Britain’s son, Whorly Whorly.

This one cost R60,000 and Clinton is quick to stress that’s his sort of price range which is why you’ll see him searching for bar­gains at dispersal sales and Mi­chael Holmes’ Horses-In-Training sales.

So when you’re selecting your horses for the Pick 6, it would be wise to check on those represent­ing the stable of C Binda.

Don’t worry if the horse is wearing shoes or not – that’s an­other task undertaken at Nooit­gedacht as Clinton studied as a farrier in America and does his own shoeing.

* * *

As the barman in Chris van Niekerk’s Turffontein box poured one of his famous “trebles”, I re­marked to the chairman of Kenil­worth and Cape Thoroughbred Sales that “it had been a long time between drinks since we’d sup­ported one of your top horses in Hong Kong or the UK”.

That could change if – as seems possible – his two year-old Turf­fontein winner, Barrack Street, lives up to his pedigree and ma­tures into a top performer.

As Sean Tarry kept his season­al tally ticking over at Saturday’s meeting like an inform batsman, it was the way Barrack Street put to bed some useful rivals – includ­ing Vaal winner Alfolk – that was really impressive.

The two year-old son of Dy­nasty – presumably named after a street in Cape Town’s CBD – races for Chris and Mayfair Speculators and the big mystery is how they managed to buy the colt for just R500,000.

Dynasty was represented by 11 yearlings at the CTS Premier Sale in January and they averaged R1,645,000!

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