Treble for Khan on a day of excellence and controversy

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Treble for Khan on a day of excellence and controversy

<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">JACK MILNER<br />
</span><span lang="EN-GB">QUALITY horses, some grand performances and a contentious objection made racing at Turffontein on Saturday both entertaining and intriguing.<br />
<br />
Photo: Geoff Woodruff</span></p>

<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">Mark Khan stole the show with three winners, including victories in the Renounce Stakes (Soft Landing) and Falcon Sprint (Profit Report). He also guided home345 Flintlock to win the MR 104 Handicap over 1000m. <o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">Soft Landing and Profit Report are in the care of Geoff Woodruff while Gary Alexander trains Flintlock and was also responsible for second-placed Lightening Lecture.<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">“Flintlock is a nice horse who has got better with time,&rsquo;&rsquo; said Kahn. “It was hard to decide which of the two to ride but over 1000m, I felt Flintlock was the better.&rsquo;&rsquo;<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">Soft Landing had not won since capturing last year&rsquo;s Gauteng Charity Mile November Handicap over 1600m at Newmarket but bounced right back to best on Saturday and should pay to follow.<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">Khan had her out of the stalls in a flash and took the Jet Master mare into a clear lead. State Factor tried to match strides with her but once in the straight Mike Azzie&rsquo;s filly called it a day and it was clear nothing was going to stop Soft Landing. It was left to Carry on Katie and Spring Garland to chase Soft Landing home345 with Bold Ellinore fourth ahead of stable companion Cleome.<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">“We discussed our tactics in the ring and were happy to let her use her action. I&rsquo;m happy the filly has found her form because when she does feel like running, there are few who can beat her,&rsquo;&rsquo; continued Khan.<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">Woodruff was relieved that Soft landing was back on track. “They lose their form but never lose their ability.&rsquo;&rsquo; <o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">He paid tribute to his team in KwaZulu-Natal, which had done all the recent work on Soft Landing. “She&rsquo;s been trained at Summerveld and only got here on Wednesday.&rsquo;&rsquo;<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">Khan had to work harder to bring home345 well-supported Profit Report, the 11-10 favourite. The Australian-bred colt lost ground at the start and with half of the 1160m covered, his supporters where beginning to sweat.<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">Once Khan asked for an effort, Profit Report responded well and got up close home345 to beat outsider Jazz Giant by 0.50 lengths with Gathering Stars another 2.50 lengths back.<span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">“He&rsquo;s a better horse running at them. But when I picked him up he took a while to get going,&rsquo;&rsquo; said Khan.<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">Woodruff added that 1200m is definitely too short for Profit Report and that they had “classic aspirations&rsquo;&rsquo; for him. “We will probably go for the Dingaans and then look at taking him down to the Cape.&rsquo;&rsquo;<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">The Nomads Hyperion Handicap became the talking point of the afternoon after Our Giant crossed the line 0.50 lengths ahead of 25-1 shot Biarritz, but lost the race in the stipendiary stewards&rsquo; room. <o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">Our Giant looked as if he would win by a few lengths and jockey Alec Forbes appeared to be easing him up when the Giant&rsquo;s Causeway gelding started to shift out and landed in the path of the faster finishing Biarritz.<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">Jockey Gavin Lerena lodged the objection; stipendiary stewards agreed with his assessment and upheld the protest. “After considering the evidence and viewing the video of the incident, the stewards were of the opinion that Biarritz would have beaten Our Giant had this interference not occurred,&rsquo;&rsquo; reads the official stipendiary stewards&rsquo; report. <o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">It was an opinion that was clearly in the minority and most pundits on course vociferously disagreed with that view. Trainer Charles Laird was clearly a little disturbed by the decision, but commented tactfully: “These things do happen. I just hope those merry men in the boardroom are consistent and when they have similar things they follow through in the same manner. <o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">“I also hope the handicappers view it the same way and don&rsquo;t penalise us as if we had won the race.&rsquo;&rsquo;<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">St John Gray, trainer of Biarritz, was low key over the incident. “Look, it&rsquo;s not nice to have to win in the boardroom but they felt Gavin&rsquo;s objection was well-founded and that&rsquo;s it.&rsquo;&rsquo;<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">Even had his charge run second, Gray would have been delighted: &lsquo;&rsquo;He&rsquo;s being prepared for the November Handicap. All we wanted in this race was for him to run on strongly and that&rsquo;s exactly what he did.&rsquo;&rsquo;<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">One young man who was confident the race should been his was Lerena. “I definitely would have got there. He came from a long way back. He&rsquo;s got a great turn of foot and should improve on this run.&rsquo;&rsquo;<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">Laird got some respite for Our Giant&rsquo;s misfortune when Uber Rock won the Goldfields Sprint over 1160m. “I think the rest has done her the world of good. When I saw that Anton (Marcus) had cover, I knew it would take a good filly to beat her.&rsquo;&rsquo;<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">Marcus was delighted that the Rock of Gibraltar filly had scored her second career win. “There have been valid excuses for her defeats. At Turffontein she got left three to four lengths and lost to a good filly, and last time she over-raced.&rsquo;&rsquo;<o:p></o:p></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt"><span lang="EN-GB">The most impressive winner came in Race 3 where Diane Stenger&rsquo;s runner, Aquitaine, scooted home345 by a remarkable 17.25 lengths. While trainer Mike de Kock admitted he was baffled by the poor run from Cresta, he conceded it would have been impossible to beat the winner.&nbsp;</span></p>

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