Sunday, 6 May 2012
: Long considered as a pointer for the season ahead and with the country's top three-year-olds in action at level weights, the R500 000, Group 2 KRA Guineas over 1600m headlined the ten race card at Greyville, in Durban on Saturday.
Billed as a two horse race between distance specialist Variety Club
at 7/10 and Vodacom Durban July favourite Jackson
, at 12/10,it was guaranteed to provide top-class racing.
As expected, it turned out to be a thrilling contest with the Joey Ramsden trained Variety Club
proving that he is in his element over 1600m winning the Guineas in fine style. Jackson, unable to match Variety Club
's blistering turn of foot, showed his class by putting daylight between himself and the rest of the field for second.
From barrier three, Anton Marcus settled Variety Club
on the rails, content to track the early leader Unannounced(AUS), while Karis Teetan, on the Brett Crawford trained Jackson was glued to Variety Club
Turning for home, Marcus peeled Variety Club
off the rails and sent him on his way up the centre of the track. Teetan was quick to follow, sending Jackson wide up the stand-side rail, but the short run in was never going to suit the big striding colt and it was clear a long way out that he was running for second.Variety Club
crossed the line in a time of 1.34.23, despite being eased up, to win by 2.25L from Jackson, while Golden Chateau(AUS) finished in third a well beaten 4.25L back.
Jackson is clearly better over further distance and with his ultimate goal being the Group 1 Vodacom Durban July over 2200m, Crawford will be well pleased with his colt's effort.
But the day belonged to Variety Club
, who is arguably the best miler in South Africa at present. By Var out of La Massine, the colt now has a record of eight victories and four places from thirteen starts for owners Mrs I Jooste and Mr M J Jooste.
The R250 000, Group 2 KRA Fillies Guineas (1600m) was marred by the short priced favourite at 5/2, Bambina Stripes(ARG), clipping heels and dislodging jockey Alec Forbes shortly after the start.
With the favourite riderless it looked as if Reason To Believe
and Anton Marcus was out to cause a huge upset, but Derrick David on the Mike de Kock trained Amanee
(AUS) had other plans, and the daughter of Pivotal came flying up late to collar Reason to Believe in the closing stages.
Amanee won in a time of 1.35.63 by 0.75L to record her fourth victory for owner-breeder Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, with Felix the Cat in third, 0.25L back.
In the R300 000, Group 2 Drill Hall Stakes(1400m), another two Vodacom Durban July contenders confirmed that they are in top form as the Vaughan Marshall trained Tales Of Bravery came up the stand-side rail under M J Byleveld to win by 1.75L, while the Mike Bass trained Chesalon was not disgraced back in second.
After a day's racing where a number of Vodacom Durban July contenders kicked off their campaigns in fine style, the next step in the countdown to the big race is the publication of the first supplementary entries on May 15th.