The merriment started at Fairview yesterday while today Flamingo Park hosts their annual festival and the Asian Young Guns Challenge bids farewell to racing at Clairwood.
Tomorrow Kenilworth will be wanting to finally see off the Listed Final Fling Stakes which previously had to be postponed due to bad weather in the Cape. There is also racing at Turffontein on Sunday when trainer Louis Goosen will be hoping Piere Strydom can finally get De Var Hyt to put his head down when it matters most.
This five-year-old Var gelding has now gone 13 starts without a win but he has placed in his last four runs. He is a five-time winner and Strydom has been aboard in three of those victories. The last time he rode De Var Hyt was in October last year in a Pinnacle stakes over this Turffontein standside track 1000m and finished a 4.75-length seventh behind Sharp Design.
However, one run earlier Strydom did win on the gelding, beating Mogok’s Desire by a neck over 1000m at the Vaal.
Strydom was very bullish in his weekly column before De Var Hyt’s last start but said the five-year-old often misbehaved at the start and that is where he lost his races. He didn’t break that well but almost everybody was surprised to see him go down 0.75 lengths to Rambo, who he will meet again on 1kg better terms when they line up in Race 6 over 1000m.
This time a bigger danger could come from Mike de Kock’s charge, Foyle, who comes back from a 115-day break and tends to run well when fresh. Newly crowned champion jockey S’manga Khumalo takes the ride and they will race off a handy weight of just 53kg.
Three Non-Black-Type feature races adorn the Flamingo Park card tomorrow with the Flamingo Park Mile over 1600m carrying prize money of R200,000. It is disappointing that not more Gauteng trainers have taken horses to Kimberley for the meeting but Paul Matchett will be there and runs Boy Oh Boy, who has performed well on the Vaal sand in the past.
He won his ante-penultimate start by 6.25 lengths but since then has run unplaced behind Nigel Mansell and The King And I. There is nothing of that level in this race so the eight-year-old could go close.
However, he has not run at Flamingo Park and on that basis could find Troubled Waters too good. Formerly trained by Sean Tarry, Troubled Waters has finished a 2.50-length second to Halve The Deficit over 1600m on the Turffontein inside track.
He subsequently moved to Phillip Smith and in his first start at Flamingo Park finished a one-length third behind Desert Breeze over 1600m. His next start was over 1200m but Troubled Waters disappointed, finishing last behind Sudden Surprise, beaten 16 lengths. Nothing abnormal was discovered but he has been out for 138 days. The seven-year-old Fahal gelding is talented on his day, he is drawn No 1 and if back to best could give jockey Louis Nhlapo a feature win.
South African apprentices Franklin Maleking and Craig Zackey will take on some of their overseas counterparts at Clairwood tomorrow in a four-race challenge. Zackey looks to have the best ride at the meeting in Race 7, a Maiden Plate over 1450m, where he rides Pioneer Spirit for the Gavin van Zyl yard. The son of Go Deputy has run second in both of his starts but last time he was beaten by eventual Grade 1 winner Afrikaburn.
Pioneer Spirit is drawn No 1 which is a huge advantage on this course and distance.