Nicci Garner
4 minute read
22 May 2017
11:36 am

African Night Sky shines bright in Winter Series

Nicci Garner

Ten Gun Salute books his berth in the Vodacom Durban July with a win in the Betting World 1900.

DRIFT: Ten Gun Salute has drifted to 25-1 for the Vodacom Durban July on 1 July in spite of winning the Betting World 1900 at Greyville on Friday night. The win virtually secured him a berth in the country’s most famous race.

African Night Sky put himself in line to win the Winter Series when he followed up on his Winter Guineas win in yesterday’s Highlands Stud Winter Classic over 1800m at Kenilworth.

The Justin Snaith-trained Dynasty gelding had beaten Our Mate Art in the Winter Guineas on 29 April and repeated the feat in the second leg as 21-20 favourite.

Verdier set the pace from Our Mate Art with Turbulent Air in third ahead of Ollivander. African Night Sky was followed only by Loadshedder and Elevated.

Ollivander circled horses to lead on the far turn and swung the fi eld into the straight followed by Our Mate Art and Verdier. Bernard Fayd’Herbe only started pushing just over 400m out and African Night Sky responded well to start picking off the runners ahead of him. Our Mate Art, meanwhile, was also making progress and got to the front-runner at the same time as African Night Sky. They swept on by, but African Night Sky’s momentum carried him ahead of Our Mate Art and he went on to win by 0.75 lengths.Loadshedder ran on stoutly for third with Ollivander fourth.

The Winter Series, which ends with the Winter Derby on 24 June, carries a bonus of R250,000 for a horse who can win all three legs.

Whose That Girl failed to complete the second leg of the fillies winter series in the R150,000 Highlands Stud Stormsvlei Mile (Listed), so the R150,000 bonus for a filly who wins the series is safe for another year.

She won the first leg, the Sweet Chestnut Stakes over 1400m, by 0.75 lengths from Sylvanite, but did not manage the repeat yesterday. Honours instead went to Brett Crawford-trained Seattle Gold (25-1), who had finished fourth in the Sweet Chestnut. She relished the longer distance, finding more when previously unbeaten favourite Ngaga moved up on her inside to challenge about 200m out. She rallied gamely to win by a long head with Whose That Girl another 1.50 lengths back in third and ahead of Rock On Wood, who ran on from way back.

The third leg, the Winter Oaks over 2200m, will be run at Kenilworth on 24 June.

Hanabi scored her third win in a row in the R150,000 Highlands Stud Olympic Duel Stakes (Listed) over 1200m. She was in the lead as the field headed into the 200m mark. The 7-2 favourite Love To Boogie broke out the pack and gave chase, perhaps putting her head in front briefly. However, Eric Sands-trained Hanabi (25-1) refused to back down from the fight and won by a long neck.

TABonline reports Ten Gun Salute put himself firmly in contention for a berth in the Vodacom Durban July on 1 July by trouncing a good field in the Betting World 1900 at Greyville on Friday night. The Duncan Howells-trained four-year-old was not in the top 20 on the latest July log published by Gold Circle, but is now virtually guaranteed a run in the big race.

He finished eighth behind The Conglomerate in the country’s most famous race last year and Friday’s Grade 2 win was his biggest to date.

He nearly didn’t make it into the Betting World 1900 because he pulled a back muscle when running way below form in the Drill Hall Stakes 12 days earlier. Said Howells: “He never worked for three or four days after the race. The physio did fantastic work as did my entire team and he worked twice a day for the last week.

“Even up till yesterday I was still thinking whether to run or not. I trotted him up and he was sound so I thought to myself, take your chances. I didn’t think he’d win as well as he did, but you know horses, they teach you a new thing every day.”

Jockey Muzi Yeni had Ten Gun Salute, who drifted from 16-1 to 36-1, near the back and followed only by Copper Pot and Mr Winsome as Serissa set the pace ahead of Banner Hill. Go Direct, Tilbury Fort (25-1) and It’s My Turn (72- 10) were prominent with Master Switch (9-2) in midfield and favourite Elusive Silva near the back after an awkward start.

Yeni pressed the button as the field turned into the home stretch 400m from home and brought his mount wide to avoid the traffic.

Ten Gun Salute responded readily and swept past Tilbury Fort and tiring pacemaker Serissa 300m out, running on to win going away by 1.50 lengths.

Tilbury Fort stayed on well to finish second and 0.50 lengths ahead of It’s My Turn and Mr Winsome, who the judges couldn’t separate. Elusive Silva was fi  h, another 1.25 lengths further back.

Ten Gun Salute drifted from 20s to 25-1 with Betting World for the July, with Tilbury Fort coming in from 200-1 to 40-1 and It’s My Turn drifting two points to 14s. Al Sahem and Marinaresco are now joint favourites for the country’s premier race at 15-2.

Betting World’s latest antepost odds: 15-2 Al Sahem, Marinaresco; 10-1 Elusive Silva; 12-1 Edict Of Nantes; 13-1 Heavenly Blue; 14-1 It’s My Turn; 16-1 Black Arthur; 18-1 Nebula; 25-1 Horizon, Pagoda, Saratoga Dancer, Ten Gun Salute, Hat Puntano; 28-1 Krambambuli, Master Switch; 33-1 and upwards others.