Jack Milner: Tommy Hotspur was not only one of the most talented sprinters in South Africa but also one of the most popular. People flocked to the course to watch him run and he very rarely left them disappointed.
However, much like his brilliant father, Harry Hotspur, Tommy Hotspur was not the soundest of horses and trainer Gary Alexander always battled to get him fully fit. However, like all champions, Tommy knew how to win.
He was unbeaten in his first eight starts and by the end of his career had won 10 races. Even in his 27th year, Tommy Hotspur still looks remarkable.
He has been honoured with a race named after him and on Saturday 16 runners will line up over 1000m at Turffontein for the Grade 3 Tommy Hotspur Handicap.
Top weight for the R250,000 is another horse trained by Alexander, Champagne Haze, but there are a whole group of the three-year-olds who will be challenging for top honours.
Best of these looks to be Mujallad from the Mike de Kock yard, who is a three-time winner from 11 starts. He looks to have plenty of scope for improvement.
Mujallad is likely to be near the top of the boards for Saturday’s big sprint and assistant Mathew de Kock told colleague Ken Nicol yesterday the colt has to be a serious runner. “He is the form horse, and very honest. It’s the right place, right time and right rating, and he should be right there.” He said.
The Mike and Adam Azzie yard have three acceptors for the race and Adam Azzie told Ken Nicol each of their runners had a fighting chance in what looks a tricky handicap.
Rivarine has Gunter Wrogemann up, and Azzie junior said: “He is in form and doing well at home. It’s the right race and right distance, and he should be fighting out the finish.”
Piere Strydom’s mount, Angel’s Power, has rather in-and-out recent form but Adam says that when in the mood he can run close to some top horses. “Piere gets on well with him and knows him well, and he’s in with a chance.”
Their final runner is Splendid Garden. Here Adam says: “This may be a bit sharp but he’s down in the ratings and is doing really well. It would have been silly not to run him.” The Black Minnaloushe gelding was second in this race two years ago with 57.5kg, and now carries 4kg less, so he shouldn’t be disregarded.
Final field for the R250,000 Tommy Hotspur Handicap (Grade 3) over 1000m at Turffontein on Saturday.
1 – 17 CHAMPAGNE HAZE (G M Alexander) L Hewitson 61.0 – 104
2 – 2 TALKTOTHESTARS (F C de Beer) W Marwing 60.5 – 103
3 – 7 WRECKING BALL (G J Maroun) J Penny 59.5 – 101
4 – 1 RIVARINE (M/A Azzie) G Wrogemann 58.0 – 98
5 – 14 PURE BLONDE (A G Laird) R Simons 57.5 – 97
6 – 4 ANGEL’S POWER (M/A Azzie) P Strydom 57.0 – 96
7 – 11 QUEEN LAURIE (G J Maroun) C Zackey 56.0 – 94
8 – 8 TANDAVA (G Terzi) …………… 54.0 – 90
9 – 3 MUJALLAD (M F de Kock) C Murray 53.5 – 95
10 – 6 CLEVER GUY (S Moffatt) R Danielson 53.5 – 89
11 – 16 GREASEPAINT (R R Magner) F Herholdt 53.5 – 89
12 – 5 SPLENDID GARDEN (M/A Azzie) JP vd Merwe 53.5 – 89
13 – 15 SPORTING MONARCH (B Warren) M Yeni 52.5 – 87
14 – 10 WHORLY WHORLY (C Binda) D Schwarz 52.0 – 92
15 – 9 REBEL’S CHAMP (P A Peter) D David 52.0 – 90
16 – 12 BRIGTNUMBERTEN (R R Magner) R Munger 52.0 – 86
17 – 13 GOLDEN MAN (G J Maroun) Reserve 1 52.0 – 80
Same Trainer: (3,7,17) (4,6,12) (11,16)