Jack Milner
2 minute read
13 Jul 2014
8:51 am

The King And I could whistle a happy tune

Jack Milner

Early in his career The King And I looked to be turning into a Derby prospect. In the Derby Trial (Listed) over 2000m at Turffontein he finished third, beaten one length by Wylie Hall, who went on to win the Grade 1 SA Derby a few weeks later.

Of course, if one considers Weiho Marwing’s charge may have been unlucky to lose last Saturday’s Vodacom Durban July to Legislate on an objection, it makes The King And I’s run even more respectable.

Sadly, things went wrong for this son of Tobe Or Nottobe and, after finishing 13.25 lengths behind Silvano’s Jet in the 2013 KZN Derby, he spent a year off the course. He was gelded just a week after the Derby run and The King And I returned to racing on 28 June in MR 80 Handicap over 1600m on the Turffontein inside track.

Trainer Sean Tarry does not bring his horses into races to train them so his charge had to be close to peak fitness. He was, no doubt, a little ring rusty but did well to finish just 3.55 lengths behind Sovereign Mint. He was up with the pace for most of the journey but just could not stay with them in the latter stages.

The King And I has his second run back at Turffontein today in a Pinnacle Stakes over 1800m on the standside track. On paper he has little chance as he is not particularly well handicapped under the race conditions. But even those ratings are questionable as Break Of Dawn, who is the highest rated runner, is a filly who has raced mainly against her own sex and is questionable over 1800m.

There is little doubt The King And I will prefer the standside track and the extra 200m. One of two things will probably happen. He could be hit by the so-called second-run-after-a-rest syndrome and run a shocker, or he could improve on his last start.

Tarry is not a big believer in the second-run theory so if The King And I does improve, he has to be a massive runner in a weak field. S’manga Khumalo takes the ride.

Mirage Drive was used as a pacemaker for stablemate Judicial last time but stayed on well for second spot. With Ryan Munger claiming his 2.5kg apprentice allowance, Tyrone Zackey’s runner carries just 54.5kg and similar tactics could see him finish in the money again.

Rocco’s Luck has been priced up favourite at 28-10 and must be considered. He tends to lose ground at the start but the other concern is the respiratory noise he has been making during races. Gavin Lerena rides for trainer Dominic