HERE is Sporting Post’s preview of Saturday’s Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint at Scottsville, in which Mike de Kock’s Desert Sheik (photo) is at 11-1 in the pre-race betting market.
South Africa’s premier speed raceday will be held at Scottsville on Saturday where the R750 000 Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint takes pride of place in the dazzling jackpot of Gr1 sprints. With all of our racing provinces represented, the winner will justly be crowned King of the speedway.
Writer Aldous Huxley suggested over a half century ago that speed provides the one genuinely modern pleasure, and while the world has moved on with every conceivable technological distraction available to us in the 21st century, even today nothing quite beats the thrill of watching thoroughbreds at speed.
That is the mouthwatering prospect that lies in wait for racing enthusiasts this coming weekend. Sponsored by the on course Golden Horse Casino since 2002, the Golden Horse Sprint is the top handicap for sprinters in South Africa and was first run in 1962.
Holding the distinction then of being the first sponsored race in Natal and run for a royal stake of just R7000, it was known initially as the Gilbeys Stakes. We have come a long way since and this year’s race is no exception in terms of the cutting edge competitiveness and quality to which we have become accustomed.
Progressive. The Royal Academy colt Cape Royal looks capable of winning the Gr1 Golden Horse Sprint in the face of some serious opposition
Dean Kannemeyer’s Royal Academy colt Cape Royal has won 6 of his 11 starts and won the Listed In Full Flight Handicap over 1000m at Greyville at his penultimate start in fine style. He simply toyed with his opponents there and one felt that he could have doubled the winning margin if pressured.
He didn’t carry that level of performance into his next outing, when going down 1,80 lengths to Northern Emperor over 1200m at Clairwood. Cape Royal appeared almost run off his feet there, and Karl Neisius will be watching Northern Emperor closely on Saturday.
Northern Emperor is his main danger and technically has Cape Royal’s measure. The son of Holy Roman Emperor has won 7 of his 13 starts and has an electrifying turn of foot as shown when accelerating clear after running handy at his last start. A year older than Cape Royal, Northern Emperor is quite unexposed at feature level and could rise to the occasion on Saturday in the hands of the brilliant Anton Marcus.
Justin Snaith’s perpetual motion machine Cap Alright is searching for his ninth career win and this solid galloping son of Captain Al has earned topweight with some top class performances. Cap Alright opened his KZN Champions Season account with a gallant second to Cape Royal in the Listed In Full Flight Stakes at Greyville at the end of April.
He meets Cape Royal on 3kgs better terms for a sound beating and the question remains as to whether that will give Cap Alright a winning edge. The nature of the Scottsville track with its legendary (or is it?) uphill in the final 200m is bound to suit Cap Alright.
Ormond Ferraris’ Snowdon ran second in this race last year and appears to have found his best form at the right time. The son of Western Winter ran a great second to Merhee in the Senor Santa at his penultimate start and then came out firing to win a Pinnacle Stakes over the Vaal 1200m at his last outing. Snowdon is top class and on his best performances must be regarded as a major contender for top honours.
Yvette Bremner will be welcomed with open arms as she brings the Lecture gelding Copper Parade up from his PE home base to have a another tilt at this race.
Copper Parade ran a close up fourth in this event behind Delago Deluxe last year and is a former Gr1 winner in KZN. While marginally off his best recently, he is hardly past it as a 5yo and must be taken into consideration. Charles Laird’s smart Var 3yo Contador gets the services of Piere Strydom and is a winner of 4 of his 10 starts.
Contador was thought to be something very special, but blotted his copybook with a poor run in the Man O’War Sprint when fading out to finish tenth and 9,10 lengths behind Alcanina.
Mike De Kock has a strong coupling headed by the Elusive Quality gelding Merhee. After winning the Senor Santa Handicap on him, jockey Anthony Delpech suggested he had a Group win in him and appeared to regard Merhee quite highly. Merhee is 3,5kgs better off with Snowdon for a 5,50 lengths deficit at their last clash.
Desert Sheik returned to action after a five month break to run a cracking second to Snowdon over the Vaal 1200m. He had won 3 of his opening runs and this is a big jump in class, but he could well be competitive off his galloping weight. It is of some obvious concern that the second run after a rest bogey could be a factor.
Disappointing. The handsome Tevez will be looking to put his disappointing formline behind him with a big showing in the Gr1 Golden Horse sprint
Glen Hatt rides the handsome Caesour 3yo colt Tevez for Mike Bass. The Sophomore Sprint winner was vaunted as something out of the top drawer early on, but his 2 wins from 9 starts hardly confirm the theory.
Tevez worst outing was his unplaced effort in the Cape Guineas and he appears inordinately more comfortable over the sprints. He is 2kgs better off with Cape Royal after running a good third behind him in the Listed In Full Flight Stakes at his second start up in KZN.
Only a half kilo separates him and Barbosa on their course and distance clash here on 9 April and there should be little between them again. Dennis Drier’s smart 3yo Barbosa is the third of the Captain Al progeny in the field.
Running with a galloping weight 52kgs, he must be a factor and we noted trainer Dennis Drier’s positivity after Barbosa had scored a win (beating Tevez) over Saturday’s course and distance at his penultimate start.
Being a handicap on a track known for curved balls, it would not be wise to ignore any of the sixteen runners. The like of Always Al, Coffee Sheik and Muis Roberts’ good handicapper Mike’s Choice are all top horses on their day and would not be winning out of turn.
Kannemeyer’s 3yo Cape Royal has a tough task on his hands but looks classy and progressive and he is selected to hold Northern Emperor with the likes of Merhee and Tevez challenging for minor money. But go as wide as the budget permits, as the chances of a bomb are not outside the realms of possibility!
Just Go Wild!
Emerging and professional designers and stylists are beckoned to enter the Golden Horse Casino Sprint Race Day Fashion Design Competition. “With awesome prizes to be won and the opportunity to exhibit your talent at what has become one of the most-prestigious horseracing and fashion events in KwaZulu-Natal, answer the call and enter your design,” says Golden Horse Casino’s Marketing Manager, Prabashni Reddy.
The theme for this year’s fashion design competition is “Divas”. Irene Olivier from Irene’s Models says designers can go wild, dressing their models as paparazzi princesses.
“Show off your true decadent ‘Diva’ style and what you perceive celebrity fashion to be. This is your chance to entertain with impressive, jaw dropping creations. Find your inspiration from Lady Gaga’s crazy hollow hats or Paris Hilton’s blinding bling. See you at Scottsville!