Top Cape jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe has made a significant statement ahead of Saturday’s Grade 2 World Sports Betting 1900 at Greyville by opting to ride the Andre Nel-trained Kampala Campari in preference to either of the available Justin Snaith-trained pair, Magnificent Seven and Made To Conquer.
Snaith commented: “Bernard decided not to ride either of them, so maybe that’s a sign that Kampala Campari is a big runner.”
Fayd’Herbe won this race last year aboard the Snaith-trained Elusive Silva, with Kampala Campari finishing downfield.
The contest is a traditional prep event for the Vodacom Durban July and is seen as an important pointer to South Africa’s greatest horse race.
The Nel yard have made a deliberate decision to go in fresh with Kampala Campari and the five-year-old Querari gelding was looking in fine shape on the gallops at Summerveld this week.
He has the same draw as last year, pole position, but a better run can be expected than his 6.30-length 10th place. He went to the front in that effort and was doing a touch too much early on. Nonetheless, he still had the lead at the 200m mark, before being swamped by the closing pack of top-class gallopers.
Assistant trainer Byron Foster said at the gallops: “Corne Orffer didn’t really know the horse last year. Kamapala Campari was also more aggressive in his racing back then and has now learnt how to race.”
Fayd’Herbe has only race-ridden Kampala Campari once before, in a victory over 2000m at Durbanville last October. The big bay led at a comfortable gallop that day and stayed on well.
He carries topweight of 60kg on Saturday, off a 107 merit rating, which puts him 3kg under sufferance with the best-weighted Fresnaye. This is as opposed to carrying 58kg last year off a 100 merit rating (which put him 4.5kg under sufferance with best-weighted Fort Ember).
Foster concluded: “His work has been good.”
Kampala Campari is the only runner in the 12-horse field who is not entered in the Durban July.
On Wednesday he was quoted at 7-1, joint fourth favourite with Magnificent Seven, for the 1900m, R500,000 race. Made To Conquer tops the bookmaker boards at 7-2, with Snaith stable companion Doublemint at 4-1 and the Mike and Adam Azzie-trained Orpheus at 5-1.
Meanwhile, another top Nel horse, Sun Met surprise package Head Honcho, has been doing well since arriving at Summerveld in March. This one is entered in the July and is a “dark horse” fancy for many at joint-fifth in the market at 20-1.
The long-striding five-year-old Querari gelding – a winner of six of his last eight starts – has his first race since his third to Rainbow Bridge and Do It Again in the Met in a Pinnacle Stakes race over 1600m on Saturday.
Nel commented: “He has been at Summerveld for the past two months and he is doing pretty well. He is not quite at full race sharpness but he is going to run a good race. I am hoping he will be able to go straight into the July after this but we will see how Saturday goes and then decide.”
He said: “He seems to run better when his races are spaced widely apart.”
Keagan de Melo, who has a good record on the five-year-old, again has the mount.
Nel said Foster had reported Head Honcho to be “ring rusty”. But he won his first start this season following a virtually identical layoff of three months and three weeks and that race was over this same 1600m distance on the equally tight Kenilworth Old Course.
The odds-layers have taken no chances with Head Honcho, chalking him at 7-10, with Sean Tarry’s charge Matador Man next on offer at 3-1 and Snaith’s Platinum Prince at 7-2. – Gold Circle
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