While the hairstyle and monthly pay packet are markedly different – Manchester United footballer Maro Fellaini and jockey Raymond Danielson have one thing in common. Both are “super-subs”.
Fellaini often gets a call-up from Jose Mourinho and can slot in a late winner. Danielson is known for standing in successfully when a jockey colleague has been stood down.
However, punters need to check his mounts in big races – particularly when riding for champion trainer, Sean Tarry.
It was exactly two years ago Raymond played his part in making it a memorable SA Classic meeting for Sean. In 2015 the drinks were flowing following French Navy’s win in the Classic and Siren’s Call triumph in the Wilgerbosdrift Fillies Classic.
Raymond rode French Navy and made all the right moves on Chris van Niekerk’s performer and hopes it’ll be the same story on Smiling Blue Eyes in Saturday’s second leg of the Triple Tiara.
“Yes, I’m happy with Raymond – he overcame a wide draw in the Guineas and hope he can win again. He’s ridden in a number of features for me and has won on both French Navy and White Line Fever,” said Sean.
Sean has a very real chance of landing a Classic double on Saturday with Al Sahem the 12-10 favourite for the open race.
He still fondly remembers that 2015 meeting, adding “those sort of days don’t come around that often”.
A slight worry for the champion trainer is that a number of stables at Randjesfontein have experienced minor problems. “Some are running temperatures – it means you have to be very vigilant.”
Sean has always stressed he learnt much from maestro Mike de Kock so it’s fascinating that the two stables each have three runners in the Classic.
For Mike, Mathew and young Callan Murray, they’ll be hoping it’s an “action-replay” of the Oaks Trial in which Callan matched Anthony Delpech’s every move to take the winner’s cheque.
Two years ago I told Mike de Kock, Sean Tarry and Geoff Woodruff to “check out this youngster Murray – he just might be our next Muis Roberts”.
Well, the De Kock team have wholeheartedly thrown their weight behind the youngster and Saturday’s jockey bookings are evidence they are happy to have him on their best horses.
But it is Raymond Danielson who will travel to the city track feeling he’s been given another chance to shine by the champion trainer.
I’m not sure if his eyes are blue, brown hazel or whatever. What I do know is Raymond will be smiling from ear to ear if his mount comes up trumps again.
* * *
No question that commentator Terry Spargo did a tremendous 17- year stint calling the Dubai World Cup and news of his retirement has resulted in plenty of praise for the 61-year-old Aussie.
However while he was good, he’d have to be rated below the likes of Sir Peter O’Sullevan, Aussie legend Bill Collins and our own USA-based commentator, Trevor Denman.