Hat trick of wins for bargain buy Count West

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<p><em>GOOD DEAL: `When we saw him at the sales he was foot sore and he couldn&rsquo;t even walk out of his box.&rsquo; </em></p>

<p>JACK MILNER</p>
<p>CLINTON Binda is a young trainer with a bright future and on Saturday he recorded a career first when Count West captured Race 5 at Turffontein, a MR 88 Handicap over 1600m. It was Binda&rsquo;s first hat trick.</p>
<p>“Count West had won his previous two races. I thought this race had come too soon and wanted to scratch him. But owner Matthew Lips said he felt we could win this race and I should run him.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>It was a great run from the Count Dubois gelding who, as is usually the case, lost ground at the start. Winning the race looked a near impossible task when the field turned for home345, as favourite All The Eights and Coastal Rock had skipped away from the field. With the track running very fast, Count West was left floundering at the back of the field.</p>
<p>“When those horses got away from me I got a bit worried, so I started to get into him a lot earlier than usual,&rsquo;&rsquo; said jockey Marco van Rensburg.</p>
<p>The response was superb. Count West started to move up on the outside of the field but still, going through the 200m mark, looked to have his work cut out. Over the final 100m he took off and caught Coastal Rock in the final stride.</p>
<p>“He did very well and won a good race,&rsquo;&rsquo; said Van Rensburg, adding that he felt there was still more to come.</p>
<p>It was amazing that Count West was allowed to start at 4-1, certainly great value for his supporters.</p>
<p>Binda, however, was more restrained when asked about the future of the gelding. “At the moment the fields are a lot weaker than they&rsquo;re going to be in the summer. He might not be as competitive then. But he has won three times in a month and at least we can make hay while the sun shines.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>Count West might yet surprise his trainer, even in stronger fields. He showed guts, and heart often makes up for a slight shortage of talent.</p>
<p>Whatever lies ahead, neither Binda nor his owners can have any complaints about this horse, for who they paid a mere R13 000. When Count West crossed the line it took his bankroll to R247 550, a fair return by anybody&rsquo;s standards.</p>
<p>“When we saw him at the sales he was foot sore and couldn&rsquo;t even walk out of his box,&rsquo;&rsquo; said Binda. “It was at the time when Count Dubois had started to do well as a sire and I told the syndicate they were not going to get another one of his progeny at this price again. I asked them to trust me on this one and fortunately they did.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>Overall punters took a pasting on Saturday with favourites falling like the proverbial green bottles off the wall.</p>
<p>Fortunately, Eddington put matters back into perspective when winning Race 6, a MR 71 Handicap over 1600m.</p>
<p>The Dominic Zaki stable was still reeling from the performance of Perfumed Garden in Race 1. Sent off a 1-4 favourite, Perfumed Garden established a four-length lead coming for home345, but stopped in the closing stages to finish a disappointing eighth, eight lengths behind first-timer Lincoln Echo.</p>
<p>Eddington, who started at 8-10, was an entirely different proposition. Despite pulling in the early stages, he had tons in hand once “Willie&rsquo;&rsquo; Figueroa asked for an effort. He raced into the lead near the top of the straight and won unchallenged by six lengths.</p>
<p>“It&rsquo;s not easy for a young horse to win at this stage of his career,&rsquo;&rsquo; said Zaki. “He had a lot to do at the weights but won hands down. He&rsquo;s a lovely horse and reminds me a lot of Rippling Ring.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>Jackpot Mac won the final event and astonishingly was allowed to go off at 5-1, considering assistant trainer Louis Goosen had told the public a number of times on “Under Starters Orders&rsquo;&rsquo; that “Buddy&rsquo;&rsquo; Maroun felt he was the right one from the stable.</p>
<p>Money came for Garrington and Wide Blue Sky, but it was Johnny Geroudis and Jackpot Mac who stole the show.</p>
<p>He carried 61kg and perhaps if young Nicola Welch on Wide Blue Sky had taken better advantage of the 10kg pull she was getting from Jackpot Mac and made her move earlier, the result would have been different.</p>
<p>Jackpot Mac got the nod by 0.40 lengths and Geroudis could only shake his head in amazement. “All the credit must go to `Buddy&rsquo;. I don&rsquo;t know how he does it. I told him he is a magician. The horses run week in and week out and he says this one is working well and will win today. He&rsquo;s top class!&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>Jackpot Mac, who has just turned five, was having his 50th run and scored his eighth win. He has already earned R481 460 in stake money and there is clearly more to come.</p>

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