Three-year-old Reunion bids to get his career back on track
Warren Kennedy will ride the son of American grade 1 winner Flower Alley in the sixth race at the Vaal on Thursday
When three-year-old Reunion raced to a 10-lengths win on his debut at Turffontein in November pundits were searching for fresh superlatives.
Some had the son of Flower Alley as a possible Triple Crown winner with the sky the limit for the inmate of the powerful Paul Peter stable.
However, racing has a knack of bringing people down to earth and it happened on Reunion’s next start. Starting at the prohibitive odds of 7-20, the R350,000 buy finished fourth of five runners.
Just five days after that defeat, Reunion was gelded and whether that was the right move will be determined when Warren Kennedy rides him in the sixth race at the Vaal on Thursday.
Reunion is certainly bred in the purple, being by American grade 1 winner Flower Alley out of Ilha Bela, who retired with seven wins to her credit, including the grade 2 SA Oaks.
Owner Laurence Wernars is a co-owner in Reunion and, ironically, another horse he owns, Kay Tee Perry, rates as the main threat to the Paul Peter runner. The filly boasts an admirably consistent record with a win and six placings from her last seven outings.
Romeo’s Magic is a live contender judged on his recent form and Joshwin Solomon’s apprentice claim will reduce the weight of the Elusive Fort gelding to 50.5kg.
Champion jockey Kennedy has only three other rides on the nine-race card, but he should go close on Clinton Binda’s runner Ramchandani Road in the 1,200m eighth race.
The handicapper dropped the gelding’s merit-rating by a further three points after his last unplaced run, but it was a fair effort to finish less than three lengths behind Ice Eater.
Another of Flower Alley’s progeny, Fantasy Flower, has to be included in all exotic bets after a win at the Free State track in February and a fourth behind Say When at Turffontein.
Phillip Labuschagne, a recent addition to the training ranks, sent out Midnight Gem to a debut win here three weeks ago and this Scott Bros-bred filly bids to maintain her unbeaten record. Craig Zackey takes over for the injured Dennis Schwarz.
Mount Pleasant — sent off favourite for the Dingaans last November — is brought back to the minimum trip of 1,000m in Thursday’s eighth race. Trainer Mike de Kock will be hoping his Aussie import gets his career back on track, but the son of Vancouver faces no easy task conceding 5.5kg to Slalom Queen.
Sean Tarry and Lyle Hewitson were in hot form at Turffontein last Saturday and the speedy Slalom Queen gives them a chance of welcoming another winner.
The bookies are taking no chances with De Kock’s newcomer I Dream Of Genie, who makes her debut in the third race. A daughter of Gimmethegreenlight who cost R550,000 as a yearling, the filly has been priced up the 17-10 favourite.
The three-year-old meets a modest field and would not have to be anything special to score at the first time of asking.
1st Race: (10) Country Mile (1) Just As Rich (2) Sonny Quinn (8) Night King
2nd Race: (1) Mount Pleasant (7) Slalom Queen (2) BattleofTrafalgar (3) Visiway
3rd Race: (12) I Dream Of Genie (1) Verinova (2) Zodiac Princess (14) Olympic Silk
4th Race: (12) Just Judy (14) Shikuru (1) Lucy Belle (2) Apple Drop
5th Race: (3) Prince Alf (2) Fast Draw (4) Riccardo (9) Dark Vision
6th Race: (1) Reunion (6) Kay Tee Perry (7) Romeo’s Magic (3) Trend Master
7th Race: (3) Valetorio (7) Money Fighter (4) Gemcutter (8) Stormy Seas
8th Race: (1) Ramchandani Road (8) Fantasy Flower (7) Midnight Gem (13) Big City Girl
9th Race: (6) Ramsay (11) Speechmaker (3) Into The Future (2) Global Town
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