SUMMER PUDDING WINS SUMMER CUP
Jack Milner: Summer Pudding silenced her detractors in no uncertain manner when she romped to victory in the R1-million World Sports Betting Gauteng Summer Cup over 2000m at Turffontein on Saturday.
Ridden by Warren Kennedy, the Paul Peter-trained filly overcame draw No 18, the so-called weight disadvantage and the fact she was taking on the colts for the first time, to destroy the field.
The daughter of Silvano hit the front some 200m from home and drew off to beat a courageous Running Brave by 2.50 lengths with another 4.75 lengths back to third-placed Tree Tumbo.
Dance Class finished fourth with Tierra Del Fuego in fifth.
With this win Summer Pudding increased her unbeaten winning streak to nine.
Fillies, in fact, fielded three of the first four places past the post.
“She drilled them!” said Kennedy.
“I have a new-found respect for a filly that I thought was special already.
“She’s one of the best I think I will ever ride in my life.”
Peter confirmed on Sunday the filly had pulled up sound. “I went to check on her before we left for Durban this morning and she was sound. She had eaten most of her food which is good.
“We are still in discussions as to her next move.”
Kennedy certainly earned his riding fee as he patiently moved Summer Pudding across from No 18 draw. He had to deal with a bump at the start from Atyaab but still managed to get her over to lie four positions wide after the first 400m. But by the time they hit the turn, she was placed one off the rail in ninth spot.
She seemed to get a slight squeeze travelling around the turn but after that, everything steadied up for Kennedy for the remainder of the race.
It came as no surprise to see her stable companion, Riverstown, go off to the front to set a decent pace from Crown Towers, Zillzaal, Tristful and Running Brave. Pack Leader, who started outright favourite, was some two lengths off Summer Pudding while the last group comprised Charles, Victoria Paige, Tree Tumbo and Dance Class.
Once in the straight Crown Towers hit the front but was soon challenged by Running Brave with Summer Pudding moving into third. Muzi Yeni claimed the advantage on Running Brave, but in a matter of strides Summer Pudding was all over her and once in front, the race was no longer a contest.
“I had my doubts,” admitted Kennedy. “Draw No 18, 59kg – it was going to be tough.
“Yes, the field wasn’t as strong as earlier years but she still had a lot to do for her to pull off winning nine out of nine.
“She’s Equus Horse Of The Year and she proved it today.
“She is one of a kind and I don’t think the turf will be graced with another like her for quite a while.”
The victory was clearly special for Peter. “It’s been an emotional week for me because I lost two good friends.
“One of them was John Tshabalala, my head groom. He’s been with me from when I started. He taught us so much about the game.
“This win goes out to you, my brother.”
Speaking about Summer Pudding, he added. “She’s unbelievable, this is what she shows us at home. She just doesn’t want to hear of defeat.
“I’m so grateful to be able to train a horse like this, but then she does it herself!”
The Summer Cup was unquestionably the cherry on the cake for the yard, but Peter also came away with first and second in the Grade 2 WSB Dingaans over 1600m, with Catch Twentytwo and MK’s Pride respectively. Ridden by Gavin Lerena and going off at 9-1, Catch Twentytwo ran on well to get the better of stablemate MK’s Pride (Warren Kennedy – 5-1) by 2.25 lengths. Third place went to 50-1 shot Bingwa (Piere Strydom) with Al Muthana (Craig Zackey) in fourth.
Disappointment of the race was odds-on favourite Mount Pleasant, who was handily placed but came under pressure in the straight and faded out to finish seventh, beaten 10.50 lengths.
The other Grade 2 feature was the WSB Ipi Tombe Championship over 1600m and this provided a form result, with Paul Matchett-trained War Of Athena, ridden by Muzi Yeni and going off as the 5-4 favourite, getting the better of market rival Queen Supreme to win by 1.75 lengths. Grade 1 Premiers Champion Stakes winner Sentbydestiny ran on well to take third place from Magic School.