He might only have sent out 58 runners last season but he had 13 winners, a percentage of 22.41. That gives him the highest percentage of winners to runners of any trainer based in the Western Cape.
Blarney Bay contributed five of those wins last season. This Nysaean gelding, who is six years old, looked very moderate early in his racing career but at the age of five, suddenly found a zest for racing.
He scored his second career win in November last year and this year has reeled off four wins and two places in his last six starts.
Apprentice Xavier Carstens has ridden Blarney Bay in his last three starts and has a record of two wins over 1400m at Kenilworth and a four-length third behind Ashton Park in his last start, which was in a Pinnacle Stakes over 1600m.
He drops in distance to 1400m again and looks hard to beat in Race 6, a MR 91 Handicap at Kenilworth today. Blarney Bay loves the wet and has a record of five wins and two places in nine starts in soft underfoot conditions.
Carstens claims a 2.5kg allowance and that will see Blarney Bay carry 60.5kg as opposed to 63kg.
Shishangeni was due to run last Wednesday but the meeting was washed out. Riaan van Reenen’s charge would probably prefer an additional 200m but he has won over 1400m before. He has the advantage of jumping from barrier No 2, a massive one over this distance on the winter course. Craig du Plooy takes the ride.
One has to respect Half Moon Hotel who finished just 0.40 lengths behind Blarney Bay in their last start and is now 1.5kg better off. However, the drop to 1400m is likely to help Blarney Bay keep his advantage over Half Moon Hotel.