Coral Fever once again showed his love for the Turffontein Standside track when he got up on the post to win the R1-million Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile on Saturday.
Superbly ridden by Muzi Yeni, the six-year-old gelding had his head down at exactly the right moment for the judge to give him by a short head from Tilbury Fort.
A stride before and stride a er the line Sean Tarry’s charge under Lyle Hewitson had the race won.
There were a number of pundits who questioned the decision by the connections to run this son of Judpot in this race as he is likely now to get a penalty for the G-BETS Summer Cup on 1 December but then again, a R1-million race is not to be sniffed at.
Coral Fever’s record at the course now reads 10 runs, four wins, three seconds, three thirds and one fourth.
He is currently rated 118 and it will be interesting to see what penalty the handicappers will hand out.
I have to admit to feeling a sense of relief when Coral Fever’s number went up as I was the person who drew gate No 17 for him at the announcement of the draw.
Yeni said he was not over the moon with the wide draw but it was not a disaster either.
“I just rode him very quietly,” said Yeni, who has a wonderful report with this horse.
Owners Sylvia Vrska and Colin Bird were on course to see their horse win, which is a rare occurrence as they spend most of their time overseas.
“Asked whether they will be back for the Summer Cup Bird responded: “It looks like we will have to be.”
Shortly after running in the Gauteng Guineas in 2016, Coral Fever injured himself badly and was diagnosed with a spiral fracture of the canon.
He missed a year’s racing and it is probably a miracle that he was able to run again.
One has to have some sympathy for the connections of Tilbury Fort as he did everything but win. Considering this was his first run back since the Durban July, it was an outstanding effort.
In third, just 0.30-lengths be-hind Tilbury Fort, came Doosra with Arctica a further long-head back in fourth.
Disappointment of the race was Noble Secret but Mathew de Kock felt the track was running very fast and that did not help a number of their runners.
“Noble Secret kept going backwards and at one stage I thought he was going to run last.
Fortunately, he ran on at the end.”He ended up in ninth place, beaten just 4.20 lengths.
Interestingly, what made Coral Fever’s win so remarkable is that he was one of the only horses who came from near last to win his race.
One or two people have been expounding the theory that while our three-year-old fillies look decent, the colts are not as good as we thought at first.
That argument got a massive boost when Port Elizabeth-based National Park hit the front at the top of the straight in the Grade 3 Graham Beck Stakes and went away from the field to beat Chimichuri Run by 5.80 lengths with favourite Alyaasaat only managing fourth place, beaten almost nine lengths.
“(Trainer) Yvette Bremner does not bring horses here for mahala,” said jockey Ryan Munger.
“She has brought horses to the Highveld before and won big races up here.”
Ronnie’s Candy went off at 20-1 but readers of Piere Strydom’s column on Saturday will have seen him point out that St John Gray’s filly had beaten both Ghaalla and Celtic Sea before and King Of Kings filly repeated that performance in the Grade 3 HSH Princess Charlene Starling Stakes over 1400m.
De Kock runners Nafaayes and Ghaalla filled the second and third spots respectively and the latter, when raced over 1600m and up will be a filly to follow.
The stipes reported that both Isle De France and Mary O’Reilly were making respiratory noises.
Gavin Lerena notched up a quick feature double when winning the Listed Golden Loom Handicap on Rivarine and then the Grade 3 Yellowwood Handicap aboard Sylvan On Fire.
Adam Azzie had said in a sta-ble tour in Racing Express a few weeks back Rivarine was working well and as Lerena pointed out, it was another training feat for Mike and Adam Azzie to get this gelding sound and fit enough to win after 10 months off the track.
The Yellowwood looked quite an open race but trainer Candice Dawson expressed confidence in the chances of Sylvan On Fire as long as Lerena could overcome the wide draw.
He had to come from off them but did well to get his mount to the front at the right moment and then hold off the attentions Cold Cash, who, at 20-1, would have been another blow for embattled punters.