L’ORMARINS QUEEN’S PLATE (Grade 1)
Kenilworth, Turf, 1600m
12 January 2013
Speaking about jockey Karis Teetan’s tactics aboard Jackson in Saturday’s prestigous Grade 1 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate over 1600m at Kenilworth, trainer Brett Crawford said it would likely depend on his initial perceptions of the pace.
The four-year-old Dynasty colt was dropped out from a wide draw in his last start in the Grade 2 Green Point Stakes over the 1600m of the tighter Kenilworth Old Course and had too much to do in the straight, so was never going to catch Variety Club, although he ran on strongly for a 2,5 length second. However, Crawford did not discount a repeat of those tactics and said, “Saturday’s race is on the new course (which has a considerably longer straight) and obviously on the Old course it was harder to make up the ground.”
Crawford also pointed out that Variety Club had drawn wide this time, as opposed to pole position in the Green Point, which brought about the possibility of a change in tactics with Teetan’s initial reading of the pace likely being the key factor in how the horse’s race would pan out. He confirmed Jackson to be in great shape having come through his final gallop very well.
Jackson is drawn at 13 in the 15 horse field, with his chief rival Variety Club drawn on the very outside.
Sean Tarry’s Vodacom Durban July winner, the ever-improving Pomodoro, has drawn nicely in 7 and looks to be a major threat to Variety Club, who holds the unofficial crown of South Africa’s top miler.
Pomodoro, a four-year-old Jet Master colt, is unbeaten since a shoulder niggle was discovered before his famous Vodacom Durban July victory. The niggle might have explained why he shifted badly late when dead-heating in the SA Derby and almost certainly explained why he cantered down to the start so poorly before staying on for fifth in the Daily News 2000. However, since then Pomodoro is unbeaten, winning the July by a whisker from an impossible draw and then being most impressive in his two comeback races this season. He flew at the finish to beat some good sprinters over 1200m on November 13 and then toyed with some useful sorts over a mile in his last start.
Those wins have left people questioning whether he might just be something special and Saturday’s race will likely answer the question. However, Tarry erred on the side of caution, “He is better as a four-year-old and did nothing wrong as a three-year-old. The distance of the Queen’s Plate won’t be a problem as he won that 1200m race and won the Tony Ruffel over 1450m of the Turffontein inside track as a three-year-old. But I think Variety Club might just be a better miler.” Ace jockey Piere Strydom rides Pomodoro.
The Joey Ramsden-trained Variety Club, however, has to overcome a draw of 15 in the 15 horse field but does has champion jockey Anton Marcus aboard. Tarry said, “I can’t see much pace in the race, so Variety Club will probably overcome the draw with ease, unless Jackson keeps him out. Jackson is a top horse in his own right.” Jackson is drawn two berths inside of Variety Club in 13. Tarry continued, “We have no complaints about our draw.” He mused, “The pace might be forced by the jockeys wanting to keep Variety Club and Jackson out. However, in Variety Club’s favour is his phenomenal gate speed, which should allow him to get to the front virtually for free. Also, due to the use of false rails in South Africa, jockeys out here are not as tactically aware as their overseas counterparts. They don’t have to worry about getting a run in the straight and can afford to sit on the rail in behind horses. This is a contributing factor to the generally slower pace of races out here, especially at Kenilworth where jockeys are reluctant to lead due to the prevailing South Easterly headwind.”
Extract from Gold Circle