With “frequent flyer” jockeys not able to flit about the country picking up choice rides in the various centres, the journeymen of the saddle have a great opportunity to get on to a better class of horse and rack up a few more winners than usual.
This is most evident in Eastern Cape, which weekly sees about 10 high-profile jockeys drop in to grab the best chances from the top yards. Monday’s card for a Polytrack meeting at Fairview has no Van Rensburg, Mxothwa or Cheyne; instead, it’s the likes of Sandile Khathi, Kevin Minnie and Teague Gould who are in the spotlight on shorter-priced runners.
Since Sunday, jockeys have been restricted to a single province until further notice under Covid Level 4 rules. This means riders have to choose where they want to work and be domiciled during the lockdown – and unsurprisingly most have opted for their home bases in the richer racing provinces.
It’s a golden opportunity for the underdogs, the battlers, the second division – call them what you will – to seize the moment and show they deserve more chances.
Gould appears to have a particularly strong book of rides. He is likely to get off to a good start in the first race aboard Allan Greeff-trained Piece Of My Heart, a juvenile filly taking on her elders in a Maiden Plate.
The youngster has been to the races just once, but it was an impressive outing as she finished second over 1000m on the Fairview turf. She will have learnt a lot from that adventure and a switch to Poly can only benefit her.
Gould has a decent opportunity on Purple Frontier in the second, and in Race 3 his mount Red Rules looks well overdue a maiden win.
Perhaps Gould’s best for the day is Phil’s Power in Race 6. Trainer Cliffie Miller’s battle-hardened six-year-old gelding has taken to his new home in PE since arriving there in March – registering three wins and a second in his four efforts. Calvin Habib was the man who flew in to partner him on all those occasions, but when Calvin is away a mouse called Teague will play.
Minnie could cash in in Races 5 and 6 on Paris Opera and Forward March, trained by Greeff and Tara Laing respectively – taking over where Luke Ferraris and Chase Maujean left off.
Khathi has cracked the nod from Sharon Kotzen on a few of her brighter hopes, notably Cherry Pop in the sixth and Mary Lee in the eighth and last.
9 Piece Of My Heart, 3 Just So Easy, 2 Alloway Grove, 1 Ruby Woo
2 Ownyourfate, 3 Excelsior, 7 Absolutely Fab, 6 La Sicaria
3 Red Rules, 1 Inbetween Dreams, 2 Queen Louise, 4 Endless Charm
2 Bush Fever, 6 Royal Shindig, 8 Imperious Duke, 5 Highway Star
4 Paris Opera, 9 Valeriana, 10 Old Glory, 5 Angel Bouquet
8 Forward March, 10 Cherry Pop, 3 Dipladenia, 6 Reef Knot
6 Phil’s Power, 9 Dirty Martini, 3 Var’s Boy, 5 Blingking
4 Mary Lee, 10 La Bastide, 1 Reach For The Line, 6 Demonte
1,2,3 x 1,2,4,5,6,8,9,10 x 4,5,9,10 x 3,8,10 x 3,6,9 x 4,10 (R1728)
2,3 x 3 x 2,6,8 x 4,9,10 x 8,10 x 6 x 4 (R36)