Don’t you just love Weiho Marwing’s post-race comment after his stayer, Hermoso Mundo, had been awarded the Gold Vase at Greyville on an objection?
The Turffontein trainer said: “The Stipes read the race perfectly”.
Cast your mind back three years and Weiho was in a very different mood. He resembled a Millwall fan as he ranted at the decision to demote Wylie Hall to second in the Vodacom Durban July.
My reading of the Vase is that – yes, the verdict was right – and Weiho now has a very real chance of keeping his unbeaten record with the gelding in the eLan Gold Cup at the end of the month.
Weiho clearly has a special talent with stayers – his Oaks record is proof of that – and Karl Zechner was equal to the task on the big occasion. He commented that his mount “was always coming to win it”.
The Gold Cup is the perfect race to bring down the curtain on the KZN season – it’s the second most popular marathon race in the province. The first, of course, is the Comrades Marathon.
Even when my knees were functioning normally, the closest I got to the Comrades was when told by the Rand Daily Mail sports editor to interview a few finishers at the end of the race. That proved harder than you might think as many were flat out on the ground and totally knackered.
However, there is one obstacle standing in the way of a victory for Weiho and Hermoso Mundo in the Gold Cup and his name is Kinaan.
This Mike de Kock inmate – a son of the mighty Galileo – ran an eye-catching third in the Vase finishing just 1.5 lengths behind the winner. He ran third in the Gold Cup last year behind stablemate, Enaad, and Mathew de Kock told me on Saturday they were delighted with the four year-old’s run.
“The Gold Cup has always been his goal – that’s why he hasn’t had much racing this year. He’ll go into the race a fresh horse,” said Mathew.
The other big plus for Kinaan – the advice is to get on as soon as the betting opens – is that Callan Murray, who rode the gelding in the Vase, will fly back from Hong Kong to take the ride.
In fact, Mathew says Callan will be returning to South Africa in the next couple of weeks and believes this is the right move for the youngster. “He needs to establish himself here more before making any permanent move to Hong Kong.”
Captain Splendid will presumably try to get his revenge in the Gold Cup and the Justin Snaith inmate has to be on everyone’s Gold Cup shortlist – unlike stable companion Ovidio, who trailed in last in the hands of July-winning jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe.
At the July meeting, two juveniles, Desert Rhythm and Purple Diamond, contributed to Sean Tarry’s mind-boggling seasonal stakes total of over R34 million.
Desert Rhythm, winner of the Grade 2 Golden Slipper, was a fairly cheap buy for Chris van Niekerk with the popular Highveld owner going to just R200,000 to purchase the daughter of Mambo In Seattle from Nutfield Stud. The two-year-old responded to S’manga Khumalo’s urgings to beat another well-bought female, Lucky Houdalakis’ R100,000 Judpot filly, Let It Flow.
Chris is also a partner – along with Lance Michael and Paul Attieh – in Purple Diamond, winner of the Grade 2 Golden Horseshoe. This colt, bred by Anthony Peter, was more expensive costing R400,000, but it looks money well spent.
Purple Diamond is out of the Jallad mare, Jalberry, who won four races including the Grade 3 Pretty Polly Stakes at Turffontein.