Louis Goosen has a well-deserved reputation as an expert trainer of sprinters and, back in the day, many of his speed merchants had the able assistance of Deon Sampson in the saddle. After Goosen relocated his operation to KwaZulu-Natal, Sampson stayed behind on the Highveld, but the hugely under-rated jockey has struggled a bit for rides in a competitive arena.
The trainer’s decision to book his old buddy to ride a couple of horses at Wednesday’s meeting on the Greyville Polytrack looks significant in that context.
Whether it’s an “old times sake” thing or disenchantment with the local hoops is immaterial. It all points to Sampson being imported to bring home bacon.
The bacon in question is a battle-hardened sprinter called Di Mazzio in Race 7, an MR89 Handicap over 1200m.
Di Mazzio could hardly be better course and distance suited, having completed this trip on the Poly nine times for four wins and four places. The seven-year-old’s recent form indicates he is ripe for a win, with two improved runs after a dismal interlude with blinkers.
The outcome is far from certain, though, and the likes of Transonic, Double Espresso and Mashari will be trying to spoil Deon’s trip to the seaside.
The jockey’s other engagement on the day, in Race 3, is strictly for the riding fee as the creature in question, Rubondo, is formless and returning from an 80-day vacation.
Indeed, most of the horses in this 1200m Maiden Plate will have their work cut out to get the better of Tony Rivalland-trained Cupid’s Song.
This fellow has enjoyed betting support in his two most recent outings and looks ready to pay back the money. With runaway jockey championship leader Lyle Hewitson in tow, he rates as the best bet on the card.
Race 1: Watch betting
5 Inherit The Rain, 8 Storm Chaser, 6 Dandolo, 3 Tromso
8 Cupid’s Song, 5 Diedi, 3 Master Dancer, 2 Shamoosi
4 Shape Of You, 3 Miss Missouri, 11 Emerald Isla, 10 Red Rosa
10 Emerald Palace, Laurel Lane, 8 Ladyofmylife, 5 Kinskey’s Tune
5 Sea Master, 8 Karoo Lark, 9 Truly Wicked, 6 Justfortheepenny
3 Di Mazzio, 7 Transonic, 4 Mashari, 2 Double Espresso
4 Goodtime Guy, 10 Brazil Nut, 3 Chatterons Keeper, 2 Master Of Destiny
8 x 3,4,10,11 x 1,3,5,8,10 x 5,8 x 3,4,7 x 2,3,4,7,10 (R600)
5,8 x 8 x 3,4,11 x 3,10 x 5 x 3 x 4,10 (R24)