Al Miqdaam gelding Ishnana kicked off the Hollywoodbets Scottsville features by taking the Listed In Full Flight Handicap as Mombela and Seventh Gear found themselves caught in traffic but there was not taking away from course specialist Ishnana.
Trainer Garth Puller was lavish in his praise of rider Ant Mgudlwa. Ishnana powered home out of the pack with Good Rhythm (Eightfold Path), managing to out-strip a few from his inside draw, getting up for second.
Owner and breeder Robert Smith has been a long-time breeder and supporter and this win would have been just rewards for him and co-owner Thabo Mhlongo. Robert Smith also bred the dam of Gr1 producing sire Captain Of All – Serious Side by Fard.
Only eight horses lined up for the Gr3 Strelitzia Stakes, and Lyle Hewitson and Sound Of Warning gave notice that she will be a force to be reckoned with in the Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship for trainer Sean Tarry and Drakenstein Stud. She is an unbeaten daughter of Trippi out of Gr1 winner, Sirens Call, the latter also trained by Tarry.
Hewitson hunted the speed and produce Sound Of Warning with a perfectly timed run as she sped clear of her rivals with Corne Spies’s filly Captain’s Run a well beaten second.
Cosmic Highway (Gimmethegreenlight – Maine Chance Farms bred) was a popular choice in the Gr3 Godolphin Barb Stakes but he too was a victim of the inside rail although nothing can be taken away from the winner Good Traveller (Visionaire – Lammerskraal Stud). His form had been franked early in the day as Party Time, a short head behind Good Traveller in the maidens, had roared home to a comfortable maiden win.
Gelded after his last run, a ‘handful’ according to Glen Kotzen, Good Traveller, who was ridden from off the pace, now looks primed for the Gr1 Gold Medallion. Grant van Niekerk, who admitted to an up-and-down day negotiating the traffic, confirmed that his mount was still aggressive but with a bit of schooling would be a contender for more black-type honours. Good Traveller races in the colours of Howard Schwegmann, who raced many a horse with his late father Bernie.
Cosmic Highway may well be looking for further at this stage of his career but Keagan de Melo had to wait patiently for a rails run to open and the colt should benefit from the outing if nothing else.
Van Niekerk was again on the receiving end of traffic as he was unable to negotiate the well-fancied Favorita through the roadblocks in the Gr3 Poinsettia Stakes.
Stuck in behind runners as the field again concertinaed up towards the inside rail, he only managed a split late – too late to catch Vihaan’s Pie (Futura – Millstream Farm) as Warren Kennedy took full toll of his rival’s misfortune.
It was an inspired decision by Ashburton-based Kom Naidoo to drop his charge back to a sprint. “We tried her over 1400m and a mile but as she looked to be going on to win, she ran out of steam.”
Vihaan’s Pie had run some promising races in good company, so this win, although a little unexpected, was not out of turn.
Image: Candiese Lenferna