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By Mike Moon

Horse racing correspondent


Tony Peter is under fire, but he is also in form

Witblits can keep the stable party going in Turffontein feature.


The cloud hanging over Tony Peter has not rained on the young Turffontein trainer’s parade.

The National Horseracing Authority has thrown the book at him over suspicions of doping and an unseemly incident during an official raid on his yard on Summer Cup day – with a hearing on the matter due on 24 January – but the 29-year-old appears to have shrugged off the storm and continued to rack up winners at a rate of knots.

Since the start of the season in August, Peter has saddled 192 runners and led 44 of them into the winner’s circle, giving him a strike rate of nearly 23% – way ahead of other leading trainers in the country. He currently occupies fourth spot on the national championship log in terms of prize money accumulated.

Last Saturday, just before Christmas, Peter had a four-timer on a nine-race Turffontein card – in partnership with in-form jockey Calvin Habib.

The sequence kicked off in Race 4, a Pinnacle Stakes contest in which smart four-year-old Electric Gold prevailed. In the sixth, the TAB Sophomore 1000, promising filly Golden Sickle claimed her fifth win in 11 starts.

In the day’s headliner, the Grade 3 Betway Lebelo Sprint over 1000m, 5-10 favourite Rulership got across the line first in a tight finish, while Power Broker rounded things off in the eighth on the card.

Witblits at Turffontein

Two of those winners carried the colours of prominent owner Suzette Viljoen, who will be represented by up-and-comer Witblits in this coming weekend’s marquee race at Turffontein: the Listed War Of Athena
Handicap for fillies and mares over 1800m.

This three-year-old has been a revelation since moving to Peter’s Highveld operation from Cape Town as a maiden. Tried over more ground than she’d been used to, she responded in no uncertain terms, reeling off three wins on the trot and lifted herself into posh company.

Witblits’s name might suggest a bit of a rough background, but she is in fact of regal breeding, being by the highly regarded Japanese stallion Danon Platina out of a Galileo mare.

In Saturday’s race, Witblits has the major disadvantage of the No 14 draw, but she carries just 52kg and has the services of young Mr Habib.

She bumps into another runner aiming for four straight wins, Perfect Witness from Candice Dawson’s Randjesfontein yard. This one has gate No 13 and a 60.5kg impost to deal with.

The Lebelo boasts a strong field, so yet another Peter win is far from certain. But trainers, jockeys and horses in good form are always worth following from the punter’s point of view.

Speaking of which, Gavin Smith has been red-hot at Fairview in the closing days of 2023, while Candice Bass-Robinson has been warm at Kenilworth, as has Mike Miller in KwaZulu-Natal.

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