The Highveld Hawks soared to victory for second successive year in the New Turf Carriers Rider Cup inter-provincial jockeys’ challenge at Greyville yesterday.
The Hawks team of Muzi Yeni (captain), Craig Zackey, Ryan Munger and Raymond Danielson (subbed in for the injured Lyle Hewitson) amassed 146 points to the Cape Eagles’ total of 137 and the KwaZulu-Natal Falcons’ 127.
The Victor Laudorum prize for the leading individual jockey went to Aldo Domeyer of the Eagles with 52 points – thanks to two victories in the four-race competition. He claimed the opening contest on 7-2 favourite Show Me Your Rosie and the closing race on Miss Ferris – for owner-trainer Julie Dittmer at 13-1.
These two wins helped Domeyer to the overall riding honours for the day. He also triumphed on Love To Boogie for trainer Andre Nel in the feature of the day, the Listed Off To Stud Stakes, a R150,000 race for fillies and mares over 1600m.
Under the competition rules, winning rides collected 20 points for a team, second places 16 points, thirds 14 – on a descending scale over the 12 runners, with last place garnering a single point. As winning team member Munger said: “It’s a great initiative, with everyone trying really hard – right down to last place.”
The Highveld Hawks only won one of the four races, when Raymond Danielson claimed Race 4 on Silver Cent at 8-1 – winning by 0.50 lengths from Yeni on 18-1 shot March Preview. However, the Highveld riders racked up points with a number of places.
Yeni commented: “I think we were the hungriest team. “Joburg is a grind and the guys know how to work hard there. They rode their hearts out today. We didn’t have the best rides, but we ground it out.”
Third-placed KwaZulu-Natal Falcons had the consolation of a win in Race 6, the New Turf Carriers Rider Cup – Leg 3 FM 68 Handicap, when Keagan de Melo snatched a narrow victory on Expresso Martini at 9-2 for the Paul Gadsby yard. Just 0.10 lengths back was Cape Eagles rider Greg Cheyne on Into The Groove from the Ivan Moore team.
Love To Boogie was an impressive winner of the Off To Stud Stakes – a race for fillies and mares that are having their final outing before heading to the stud farm for their new career being mothers.
Domeyer had the four-year- old daughter of Trippi handy throughout the race, tracking pacemakers Karatage, Fantasy Lady and Final Judgement.
In the final 300m, Domeyer slipped his mount up the inside rail and once they had hit the front it was race over. The pair streaked to a 2.25-length victory, from Final Judgement, with Heaps Of Fun third.