HAVING been pipped at the post – so to speak – in the jockeys’ champion last year, Avontuur Stud-sponsored Anthony Delpech is getting about his business early to make sure he is not left flatfooted this time, reports JACK MILNER.
With the added bonus of a R250,000 cash prize up for grabs, courtesy of Klawervlei Stud, Delpech has clearly decided not to leave it all to the last minute and has put in place a group of trainers to support his title bid.
One of those is Port Elizabeth-based Gavin Smith and Delpech’s visit to the Eastern Cape on Friday yielded two victories. Then, at Turffontein on Saturday, he added another three to his tally courtesy of trainers Ormond Ferraris, Spike Lerena and his own stable of Mike de Kock.
Right now Delpech finds himself sandwiched on the jockeys’ log between Gavin Lerena at the top and incumbent Anton Marcus, few winners adrift of the former and a few clear of the latter.
Delpech finally managed to guide Assogia Wood into the No 1 box when he came home by one length from Western Count, who was having his first run in Johannesburg and is now in the care of Joey Soma.
Assogia Wood took the lead from the jump and although he was probably headed by Western Count and Piere Strydom in the straight he fought back gallantly to claim top honours.
“He is a bit of a difficult horse,” admitted Delpech. “Tshwaro Appie has been riding him and sitting in and he always fights. The plan was to sit up handy but he came out so quickly and I found myself in front. In the first furlong he pulled with me and then after that he switched off, which was perfect.
“Then when I came into the straight I waited and waited on him and then when I decided to go he just took a bit of time, but towards the end he was getting better and better. He was doing his best work at the end so he may still go further.”