Stuart Pettigrew is the archetypal smaller trainer, with inexpensive horses, who consistently punches well above the weight of his string. From a few dozen horses in training, during most of his three decades at Randjesfontein, he’s managed a churn out winning ratios in the high teens – and even produced a clutch of Grade 1 winners.
Pettigrew doesn’t field lots of no-hopers, getting the hard work done at home, and every one of his runners is worth a second look.
On Saturday the trainer takes four horses down the N1 to Turffontein and all are fancied to do well on the Inside track of the city racecourse.
In Race 4 he saddles young filly Kizzmekia, who will be at cramped odds after making an impressive debut on this track a fortnight ago. The three-year-old got a bump at the 1450m start that day but shrugged it off to run on gamely into third spot, 2.30 lengths behind the winner.
The daughter of Twice Over tries slightly further, 1600m, in this Maiden Plate and Kabelo Matsunyane reprises his role in the irons.
In the fifth, an MR87 Handicap, Pettigrew hoists apprentice Philisande Mxoli into the plate of four-year-old gelding Sea Ways, who is attempting four wins in succession. This guy clearly loves the Inside circuit’s 1450m, on which he notched his hat trick and a previous victory.
Mxoli gets 2.5kg off the 60kg impost and Sea Ways generally presents a compelling argument.
Fresh off a run in the Durban July, Expressfromtheus steps out in a 1450m Pinnacle Stakes in the sixth. The five-year-old gelding didn’t have the easiest of passages in the hurly burly of the big one but faces a far gentler prospect – over a more appropriate distance – this time around.
The problem Expressfromtheus, Pettigrew and jockey Marco van Rensburg face, though, is cracking colt MK’s Pride. The latter has been running against some of the best horses in the country of late – with distinction – and will be very hard to beat back on his home turf.
Pettigrew will view Race 8 as a more likely winning target, with his two-time-winning filly Sweet And Spicy having her peak run after a short break, with the comeback runs yielding a third and a second. Mxoli’s allowance brings the weight to a handy 56kg, while the 1600m trip is perfect for the daughter of Gimmethegreenlight.
8 Verolina, 6 Back To Formentera, 7 Meadow Beauty, 4 Stolen Kiss
1 Successful Ruler, 5 Eights Enough, 9 The Hound, 8 Michelin Star
3 Wave Warrior, 5 Equillo, 2 Motown Magic, 7 Jaipur Jewel
6 Kizzmekia, 2 Country Flame, 7 Lady Fair, 8 Mike’s Chick
1 Sea Ways, 4 Suited Connector, 8 Waqaas, 3 Ballon D’Or
2 MK’s Pride, 1 Expressfromtheus, 4 Bingwa, 5 Approach Control
4 Under Your Spell, 8 Now You See Me, 1 Rouge Allure, 2 All Of Me
2 Sweet And Spicy, 3 Pin Up, 8 Me Time, 6 Lee Express
2 Strada Statale, 7 Evening Rise, 1 Little Rain, 3 Marigold Hotel
2,6,7,8 x 1,3,4,8 x 2 x 2,8 x 2,3,6,8 x 1,2,3,5,7,9,10 (R896)
3 x 2,6 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 2,3 x 1,2,7 (R12)
Best: Race 5 No 1 The Gatekeeper
Value: Race 7 No 1 Look For Hounds
Best: Race 4 No 3 Shavout
Value: Race 5 No 9 Walton Hall