Friday, 27 January 2012
: Milnerton trainer Joey Ramsden has a strong hand for Saturday's J & B Met Raceday at Kenilworth, Cape Town, on Saturday.
| Orchard House at trackwork|
Photo by Liesl King
Ramsden's stable has Variety Club as the favourite for the Grade 1 Investec Cape Derby (2000m) as well as Silver Haven in the race, Trinity House in the Grade 1 Klawervlei Majorca Stakes (1600m) and Bravura
and Lion In Winter in the Grade 1 The J & B Met (2000m) itself.
The stable could well round off the Cape's major raceday with victory in the R300,000, Grade 2, J & B Reserve Stayers (2800m) with three major contenders for this race, traditionally reserved for the runners who cannot quite make the field for The J & B Met itself.
Included in the large field of 18 are Ramsden's Cree Lodge
with 59.5kg and Weichong Marwing, Orchard House with 58kg and Felix Coetzee and Vengence with 58kg and Glen Hatt.
It is a quirk of the race that two of the stables runners are full-brothers, Cree Lodge, a five-year-old by Casey Tibbs out of the Goldmark mare Fiery Spirit, and Orchard House, a year younger at four, with both raced by the same connections.
Ramsden favours the younger Orchard House
as the strongest runner of the three runners and certainly his form supports the trainer's opinion with a last start win over 2000m on the course on January 11th carrying 57kg.
Orchard House has yet to run over trip but he has won twice over 2000m as well as placing fourth over 2500m in the Grade 2 Cape Stayers Handicap on December 24th with 52.5kg to proven middle distance winner Blake.
Blake carried 56.5kg on that occasion and moves to 60kg for Saturday's race so Orchard House meets him worse off at 58kg, but the last start win gives Ramsden encouragement that Orchard House is right on his best form for Saturday.
Orchard House , working under former leading Cape apprentice Nathan Danster, over this week has impressed in his training at Milnerton working over 1600m on Thursday morning quickening nicely to three-quarter pace.
Danster, who had a top career ahead of him, was seriously injured in a car accident three years ago and after a long path to recovery he is back riding work as an important part of Ramsden's training establishment. Orchard House has had his operations as well, with knee chips removed prior to this season.
“For the first time we have started to get some consistent work into him. He is improving and looks a million dollars,” said Ramsden.
Cree Lodge has had soundness issues in the past and he is a recent arrival at the Ramsden stable. Having won from 1200m to 2400m at Kenilworth the leading trainer is still searching for Cree Lodge's optimum distance. His last two runs over 2400m at Durbanville and 2500m in the Cape Stayers Handicap have been unplaced.
The third of the stable runners, Vengence, is a four-year-old by Black Sam Bellamy out of the Rainbow Quest mare Vijanti giving the gelding European stamina pedigree. Racing in the Eastern Cape Venenge won the Grade 3 East Cape Derby over 2400m at Arlington in May last year.
Vengence has yet to recapture that form back in the Cape and while second in his second race for this campaign over 2500m at Kenilworth in December he could not go on with it being unplaced in the Cape Stayers Handicap.
The race, the tenth and final race of the Kenilworth programme, at 6.35pm local, will provide a fitting end for the Cape's 2012 Sizzling Summer Season.