Anton Marcus made a triumphant return from injury and put It’s My Turn firmly in the frame for a tilt at the Vodacom Durban July with a convincing 2.25-length win over stablemate and last year’s winner Mr Winsome in the Grade 3 Track & Ball Derby at Scottsville on Saturday.
The five-year-old Dynasty gelding had not won a race since the Grade 1 Cape Derby in January 2016, but was the best handicapped runner under these conditions and went off a 10-3 second favourite behind progressive youngster American Landing.
Ollivander set fair if unspectacular fractions, with It’s My Turn second and outsider Silver De Lange also right up there. In his usual fashion, American Landing raced in mid division. The eventual winner came off the bit early and halfway up the straight appeared to be coming under pressure from American Landing, as well as Mr Winsome, who was running on stoutly.
It’s My Turn stayed on strongly all the way to the line, though, and won in good style.
Mr Winsome finished a neck ahead of the favourite while outsider Ballymaine was a highly creditable fourth.
This was Marcus’ 100th victory for the season and he quipped that “there’s no better medication than a winner” when asked about his recovery from an arm injury.
Trainer Dean Kannemeyer’s scored his first feature win for this KwaZulu-Natal season. When asked about It’s My Turn’s prospects for the July, Kannemeyer was noncommittal, saying he would “speak to owner Fred Crabbia about what option to take, as It’s My Turn is also entered for the Gold Vase on the day”.
Despite registering a number of graded-race places, this was only It’s My Turn’s third win in eighteen racecourse appearances. His stake earnings now sit at just above R1.7 million.
Witchcraft (16-1) won the companion-piece race, the Track & Ball Oaks, for the second time with a pillar-to-post victory.
The Kahal mare went start to finish in this race as a three-year -old, two years ago, and ran fourth last year, so clearly has an affinity with this circuit.
She set what looked a decent gallop from the off, borne out by the fact that the race was run almost a second quicker than the Derby was half an hour later.
At the top of the straight Lyle Hewitson’s mount gave a nice little kick.
Piere Strydom on Flichity By Farr immediately came under pressure and the favourite never looked like winning thereafter, but stayed on for a well-beaten third, over four lengths adrift.
This effort seems unlikely to be enough to get Flichity By Farr into the July on 7 July.
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