The impressive win by Mr Winsome in the Grade 3 Track & Ball Derby over 2 400m at Scottsville on Sunday might well have been the performance that secures the Silvano gelding a run in Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event, the R4.25-million Vodacom Durban July, at Greyville in two weeks’ time
That will be up to the July Selection Panel to decide and trainer Dean Kannemeyer will have to wait until Tuesday when the final field is announced to know whether he has yet again managed to secure a place for a useful performer in the big race with a handy galloping weight. He has won the premier race three times with well-weighted runners and Mr Winsome will carry 53.5kg on the big day if he gets a run as there will be no penalty for Sunday’s win because the weights had already been announced.
In the race the four-year-old came from near the back of the eight-horse field to win the 2 400m race going away, confirming that he is a classy individual over the middle distance with strong form to back up his big race claims that now shows six wins and five second from 18 starts.
Jockey Anthony Delpech settled the gelding near the back of the field as Helderberg Blue, Let It Rain and Sun On Africa disputed the lead but made his move as they swept into the home straight where he became embroiled in a two-horse battle with Sun On Africa for the lead. Sun On Africa hung out onto Mr Winsome but Warren Kennedy straightened his mount before Mr Winsome gained the upper hand to win comfortably.
A short while before jockey Ian Sturgeon rode a superb race on the Geoff Woodruff-trained Ideal World mare Zante to win the Grade 3 Track & Ball Oaks. Epona under Anton Marcus had been the favourite but failed to feature as a danger at any time as Zafira made the running from Witchcraft in the early stages.
Sturgeon found himself “a bit too far back” and moved Zante up on the back straight before taking the lead which he held to the line ahead of Girl On The Run and Estimation.
Sunday’s Scottsville meeting followed on the heels of the Post Merchants meeting at Greyville on Friday evening where the Brett Crawford stable continued its run of success in feature events. Crawford had previously won three Grade 1 races in a row – the Daily News 2000, the Woolavington 2000 and the Rising Sun Gold Challenge – and Friday’s Post Merchants win added a little extra cream to the cake.
The four-year-old Captain Al gelding, Search Party, was favourite to win the Grade 2 Post Merchants over 1 200m and duly obliged under stable jockey Corne Orffer who, riding with the greatest confidence, took the four-year-old to the front from the start to dictate the pace and steer him to the finish and into the winner’s enclosure.
Having skipped clear in the straight and looking “home and hosed” 200m out, Orffer was forced to exert additional pressure on his mount in the final stages as top weight Talktothestars came storming up with a challenging run on his outside. It was not quite enough and he had to settle for second place ahead of Amazing Strike and Captain Causeway that filled the minor placings.