Picture: GETTY IMAGES/IAN FORSYTH
Picture: GETTY IMAGES/IAN FORSYTH

In a significant rebuff to the Equus committee, a group of Capetonians have taken it upon themselves to award an “SA racing fans’ stayer-of-the-year” award after it was ditched as a category for the 2019/2020 season.

The Equus awards were announced at the weekend, but before they took place a media release was issued stating “the committee felt there was no outright deserving winner in the Stayers category”.

Bloodstock consultant John Freeman said on his website “it is a seriously flawed judgment in scrapping the stayer-of-the-year award. We need to encourage and reward stamina in our industry, not destroy it.”

Consequently, after discussions with many racing parties, including trainer Justin Snaith, a decision has been reached to award a trophy to the winner of a poll of racing fans. In addition, a cash gift of R2,000 will be given to the stable hand of the winner.

The poll — on the Sporting Post website — will run until September 20 (7pm) and Freeman has identified five horses who could win this unofficial award. They are: Snapscan (trained by Glen Kotzen); Dynasty’s Blossom (trained by Brett Crawford);  Marchingontogether (trained by Gavin van Zyl); Paths Of Victory (trained by Gareth van Zyl); and Out Of Your League (trained by Fabian Habib).

The Equus awards proved a triumph for trainer Paul Peter, with three-year-old filly Summer Pudding winning two categories, including the all-important horse-of-the-year award.

Peter only began his training career in 2010 but has quickly established himself in the premier league and finished in fifth place in the national log. He saddled 114 winners during the season at his best strike-rate of 14.9% winners-to-runners.

It’s been much the same story in the campaign, with statistics from August 1 to September 9 putting him in second place in the national log behind Snaith.

He added two more winners, Benev and Astrix, to his seasonal tally at Turffontein on Tuesday and sends a team of nine horses to the Vaal on Thursday.

Champion jockey Warren Kennedy has been booked to ride four members of the Peter team and rides Godswood in the second race. The form book suggests the son of Willow Magic may battle to beat Break The Silence, but the colt was slowly away on debut and should finish closer with a better start.

Kennedy rides Captain Chorus for trainer Lucky Houdalakis in the sixth race, and though the stable will also run three-time winner Trend Master, the champion will fancy his chances of turning the tables on 2kg better terms.

Trainer Stuart Pettigrew will be delighted his filly Anything Goes won the trophy for champion two-year-old filly at the Equus awards and will be hopeful of taking Thursday’s fourth race with My Sugar Baby.

A daughter of Gimmethegreenlight, My Sugar Baby will have most to fear from S’manga Khumalo’s mount Un Deux Trois.

Last season, Khumalo often won the last race on the card, and on Thursday there is a lot to like about Magic Vision, whom he rides for trainer Paul Matchett in the eighth race. Major Return and Fifth Of July will have their supporters in a wide open handicap.

Selections

1st Race: (1) Soldiers Song (12) Man Of Property (7) Funky Music (6) Supreme Elevation

2nd Race: (6) Break The Silence (8) Godswood (2) Procastinator (5) Blue Eyes

3rd Race: (10) Aneksi (12) Traveling Wilbury (1) Bahlebonke (2) Bold Leah

4th Race: (11) My Sugar Baby (7) Un Deux Trois (1) Miss Venezuela (12) Electric Boots

5th Race: (9) Let There Be Light (2) Veld Flower (6) Bedouin Bride (8) Pearl Dancer

6th Race: (10) Captain Chorus (4) Trend Master (9) Etched In Blue (11) Stop For Nothing

7th Race: (12) In The Game (8) Street Flyer (5) Bravo One (9) Secret Dynasty

8th Race: (9) Magic Vision (2) Major Return (1) Fifth Of July (14) Bouncing Tigger

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