Racing Writer

Puerto Manzano — the horse at the centre of the drama last October when owner Laurence Wernars said he was “quitting racing” — will be under the spotlight again at Thursday’s meeting at Turffontein.    

Wernars was incensed after the National Horse Racing Authority held an inquiry and suspended jockey Chase Maujean for the way he rode his three-year-old dead-heater Puerto Manzano in a race on September 29. He also owns the other dead-heater, Thumbs Up.

He told the Sporting Post: “I’m happy to confirm that I will be dispersing my racehorses but retaining my stallion and broodmare interests.”

At the time, Wernars, one of the biggest owners in the sport, said his “integrity had been brought into question”.

Wernars obviously had a rethink and it has proved a financially wise decision as he’s enjoying a successful season. He owns the three-year-old Second Base — second in last weekend’s SA Classic — and is also the co-owner of three-time winner Copper Mountain.

Another of Wernars’ three-year-olds, Sound Of Summer, looked well above average when making a winning debut at Turffontein last Saturday.

Puerto Manzano, 15-10 favourite for Thursday’s sixth race, boasts a win and two seconds from his three outings and failed by just half a length to beat Stone Cold in the recent Egoli Mile.

After a fruitless trip to the Cape, La Luvia got her act together to win at the city track 12 days ago and trainer Sean Tarry will be hoping his filly can score again. Promising apprentice Joshwin Solomons retains the ride on the daughter of Soft Falling Rain.

Mike de Kock’s well-bred gelding Shadow Creek is chasing a hat-trick and should be competitive in receiving 7.5kg from Puerto Manzano.

Tarry saddles two runners, Ecstatic Green and Zimbaba, in the seventh race and the booking of Lyle Hewitson for the first-named looks significant. He rode both fillies last time out and his mount has the highest merit-rating in the 1,450m race.

Nevertheless, a strong case can be made for Zimbaba as the Legislate filly won the Swallow Stakes in January in which Ecstatic Green could only run fifth.

If Zimbaba does manage to notch her third win it will be good news for Drakenstein Stud, who will be offering her half-brother (by Futura) at Sunday’s CTS Premier Yearling Sale at De Grendel wine estate. De Kock’s three-year-old Florentine has an excellent pedigree and there was a lot to like about the filly’s maiden win in November. If not in need of the run, the daughter of Ideal World could make life tough for the Tarry duo.

Another opportune win for Drakenstein Stud would be Rain In Holland, who makes her debut in the second race. The stud is offering the filly’s half-brother (by William Longsword) at Sunday’s sale.

The hot favourite for the second race will be the Paul Peter inmate Freedom Of Choice, who has finished third in her two appearances to date.

Warren Kennedy, who rides Freedom of Choice, should go close in the final leg of the Pick 6 provided he can overcome a wide draw on Candice Dawson’s filly Entente.

It looks like a race in which punters should include as many runners as possible in exotic perms as all of Anatura, Speechmaker, Milan’s Princess and Willo’thewisp can be given chances on their best form.

Piere Strydom is reunited with Heather Adamson’s filly Speechmaker but it will take all his expertise to win on the four-year-old, who is drawn close to the nearby Rand Stadium.


1st Race: (2) Ruby Woo (1) Lucy In The Sky (10) Amplify (5) Stormy Weathers

2nd Race: (2) Freedom Of Choice (6) Rain In Holland (4) Marigold Hotel (7) Savage Love

3rd Race: (3) Fisher King (2) Coming In Hot (8) Noble Striker (13) Tinder Dry

4th Race: (8) Night King (2) Jet Cat (1) Lazy Guy (7) Katzenthal

5th Race: (6) Amberglo Star (3) Fast Draw (2) Blue Spark (1) Enigma Code

6th Race: (1) Puerto Manzano (2) La Luvia (6) Shadow Creek (4) Rock You

7th Race: (1) Ecstatic Green (2) Zimbaba (6) Florentine (3) Laetitia’s Angel

8th Race: (11) Anatura (4) Entente (10) Speechmaker (3) Milan’s Princess


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