MALMOOS BEATS CATCH TWENTYTWO
The favourites dominated the finishes of both the WSB Gauteng Guineas and the Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas at Turffontein on Saturday.
Both were Grade 2 races run over 1600m on the Standside track.
The two results indicated that the upcoming Grade 1 WSB SA Classic and Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic, both over 1800m at the same venue on Saturday 6 March, are guaranteed to be thrillers.
Mike de Kock-trained Malmoos (22-10) showed no ill-effects from his trip to and from Cape Town and proved to be too good in the WSB Gauteng Guineas. He was well placed in second spot, grabbed the lead early in the straight and then fought off fast-finishing Catch Twentytwo (3-1) to win by by a neck.
Copper Mountain (10-1) ran third, another 1.20 lengths back, with Second Base (4-1) in fourth, just two lengths off the winner.
“Malmoos doesn’t mind a scrap in a finish,” said De Kock on his website, www.mikedekockracing.com. “He enjoys fighting and likes to do just enough to win. We’re pleased with the way he ran because we left something on him to work on. He will improve going into the Classic.”
With that reference to the second leg of the WSB SA Triple Crown, De Kock confirmed a rematch with Catch Twentytwo is likely to be on the cards and said: “I think it will be a good race. Catch Twentytwo was gaining late, but I was watching them just past the line and Malmoos kept him at bay.”
He added: “I’d like to see Malmoos come from a few lengths off the pace to run at his rivals. The way things have happened, he’s found himself leading or handy every time. We’ve always believed he’ll be better over further than a mile, and the Classic will show us.”
He said about Mount Pleasant, who faded right out over the last 200m: “He has failed twice over a mile now, we’ll revert to races down the straight for him.”
The victory continues the hot run of jockey Luke Ferraris, who recently won his first Grade 1 race aboard Rainbow Bridge in the Cape Town Met at Kenilworth.
War Of Athena, the 9-10 favourite in the Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas, ran out an effortless winner, easily beating arch rival Anything Goes (16-10) by two lengths.
As expected, this was a two-horse race so it comes as no surprise there was another 4.50 lengths back to third-placed Miss Elegance.
Paul Matchett saddled three runners, including favourite War Of Athena, and he used Only The Brave to ensure there would be a good pace. With 400m to run Yeni started to get busy on War Of Athena and she got first run on Anything Goes. Randall Simons was also slightly trapped with a few runners in front of him and he had to switch out for a clear run. Unfortunately for him, the bird had already flown and War Of Athena had the race won.
“I went into the race with confidence,” said Yeni. “It’s not that I was confident it’s because the horse gave me the confidence.
“When she stepped into the parade ring, not to be biased or anything, she stood out like a sore thumb. She brought her class with her, she did what we expected of her and she put the race nicely to bed.”
Matchett also paid tribute to the runner-up. “Take nothing away from my good friend Stuart Pettigrew’s horse, Anything Goes. She ran a cracker, the race just didn’t go her way.
“It went our way – I’m grateful – but they two champion fillies, the head-to-head is two each now, so we go into the next one with a great race ahead of us.
This was the third successive feature-race victory for Matchett’s charge, and Yeni has been aboard her for all three wins.
The WSB Gauteng Guineas was the first leg of WSB SA Triple Crown while the Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas is the first leg of the Wilgerbosdrift SA Triple Tiara for fillies.