3 minute read
Some of the best horses to have raced in South Africa have their names etched on the trophies for the G1 Greyville 2000 and the G1 Woolavington 2000.
They have either gone on to bigger things, such as international careers, or have turned out to be top sires.
In fact, three of the fancied runners in this year's Greyville 2000 have been sired by winners of this G1 race – Kommetdieding (Elusive Fort), Rascallion (Vercingetorix) and The Gatekeeper (Dynasty).
Most pundits believe this year's 2000m contest is ostensibly between two runners from the Western Cape – Linebacker and Kommetdieding.
Linebacker placed in a number of the three-year-old features in Cape Town and finally cracked the ice when he won the G1 Cape Derby (2000m) in February. The Vaughan Marshall-trained runner proved his fitness when winning the G2 KZN Guineas (1600m) at Greyville in a race that saw lots of interference.
While Linebacker was one of the victims, the horse who suffered most was Kommetdieding. He was taken out on the turn, his jockey had to almost stop riding him and he dropped to the back of the field.
Turning into the short 400m Greyville straight it appeared he would not run a place, but he took off late and ran third, beaten just over two lengths by Linebacker.
Kommetdieding won a non-Black Type event over 1200m on debut, and just kept on winning. He was carded to run in the Cape Derby but suffered a minor setback and had to be scratched. But his trainers – father and daughter combination Harold Crawford and Michelle Rix – have always had the greatest belief in this colt and he can reward them with a G1 victory on Saturday.
Despite getting phone calls from jockeys around the country they have stuck with the man who has ridden him throughout – Sihle Cele.
Once you look past these two the race becomes quite open, but Copper Mountain, Second Base and G1 Cape Guineas winner Russian Rock look the main opposition.
One was hoping for a clash between Cape champion Captain's Ransom and SA Triple Tiara winner War Of Athena in the Woolavington 2000, but trainer Justin Snaith opted to withdraw Captain's Ransom.
That has made War Of Athena the horse to beat. She has won seven of her last nine starts and was beaten in photo finishes in the other two.
She has won over distances from 1200m to 2450m and her last five were all Graded race victories. The only concern is that she has had a tough season and might be in need of a break.
However, jockey Muzi Yeni says her work is as good as ever and he is brimming with confidence ahead of this weekend's 2000m test.
If she does fluff her lines there are only two dangers – Princess Calla and Netta. Both have produced some excellent recent performances and they will test War Of Athena all the way to the line.