Jockey Randall Simons gets a chance to shine
Stand-in jockey to ride top horses at Kenilworth
The unfortunate injury to Anthony Delpech, who has been sidelined since April, has resulted in Randall Simons going from middle-of-the-road jockey to riding the top horses from the powerful Mike de Kock stable.
After a horrific fall at Turffontein, Delpech underwent surgery in Johannesburg to repair a disc herniation and a damaged spinal cord. It is unknown if — or when — he will be able to return to the saddle.
Obviously, 32-year-old Simons has grabbed his unexpected opportunity with both hands, yet he remains in only 21st place in the national jockeys log, which is unusual for a rider attached to a leading trainer.
So, at Kenilworth on Saturday, Simons gets a chance to show his talent when he partners two three-year-olds, Soqrat and Ghaalla, in the Cape Guineas and Fillies Guineas.
The majority of pundits will say the best Simons can hope for is second place on Soqrat in the grade 1 Guineas because the favourite, One World, is unbeaten in five starts. However, that was exactly the situation with unbeaten Rainbow Bridge in last week’s Green Point Stakes and the Eric Sands inmate had to settle for fourth place.
Aussie-bred Soqrat has won three of his five starts and it is this column’s view he is worth a bet at current odds of 7-2.
Yes, he has had to travel to the Cape, but he is well drawn at stall four.
It is in One World’s favour that he is trained by Vaughan Marshall, not only a doyen trainer, but one, in contrast to someone like Jose Mourinho in football, simply keeps calm when asked for his view on his big-race prospects.
It is 32 years since 67-year-old Marshall won his first Cape Guineas with Sea Warrior, so it is a tribute to his longevity in the sport that, once again, he has a star three-year-old on his hands. Of One World, he told the Sporting Post: “He has done everything we have asked of him. He had to make his own pace in the Concorde Cup and then fended off Chimichuri Run with courage.”
Chimichuri Run is again in opposition and Sean Tarry — now close to R3m clear of Justin Snaith in the trainers’ championship — knows he has only got half a length to find with One World.
Then, there is the Anton Marcus factor. When it comes to big races, the guy with a remarkable strike rate of 31% winners to rides this term seems to have magic in his fingers.
With Twist Of Fate beaten by One World on their clash in November, the bookies have got it right in making it a three-horse contest. Perhaps the way to bet is to box Soqrat and One World in the exacta.
Simons faces a tough task in the Fillies Guineas as his mount, Ghaalla, is drawn wide while the filly’s two main rivals, Clouds Unfold and Front And Centre, will jump from low number stalls. Clouds Unfold has only tasted defeat once in five outings and there was plenty to like about her seasonal debut win over 1,400m in October.
2 One World
3 Chimichuri Run
4 Twist Of Fate
1 Clouds Unfold
2 Front And Centre
4 Santa Clara
2 Dutch Philip
3 Bishop’s Bounty
4 Pacific Trader