Early warning for Summer Cup
THE Mike de Kock-trained Pietro Mascagni,sounded a warning to all GBets Summer Cup hopefuls when making a fine comeback over 1450m on Saturday on the Turffontein Inside track.
The day also featured a few eyecatching preparatyion runs for the Grand Heritage, to be run over 1475m at the Vaal on September 30.
Pietro Mascagni will come into his own this season being a four-year-old by Silvano who was gelded during his winter layoff. He should relish the tough Turffontein 2000m of the Summer Cup as he is out of a Western Winter mare who is a full-sister to both Ice Cube, who won from 1000-1800m including two Grade 1s as a juvenile, and Jagged Ice, who was a Grade 2 winner who finished second in the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 and third in the Vodacom Durban July.
The gelding has been at the centre of controversy before.
The connections appealed against the low merit of 79 rating he was given after his impressive debut on October 31 last year. They thus gave an inkling of how highly they regard him.
Clearly this was not a horse they wanted to win through the divisions with, but rather they saw him as a classic contender.
They lost the appeal but Pietro Mascagni did still run in the Dingaans but disappointed. He put that behind him by winning a handicap well next time out over 1500m. He subsequently finished a 3,7 length fourth to the top class Surcharge in the Tony Ruffel over 1400m, although he was receiving 4kg.
In his final start he was beaten 7,3 lengths into sixth in the Gauteng Guineas but was only 1,8 lengths behind Surcharge.
He will have strengthened during his layoff and the best will be seen of him when he steps up to middle distances.
The Grade 2 Peermont Emperor’s Palace Charity Mile on November 3 would be the obvious stepping stone into the Summer Cup, which is to be run on December 1.
However, having won off just a 93 merit rating on Saturday, it will be touch and go whether he gets into the Charity Mile so the yard might think of getting another run in before then to book his place. Otherwise he could go for the Victory Moon Stakes over 1800m on November 9.
On Saturday Pietro Mascagni settled nicely in midfield under Randall Simons after jumping from draw six of the twelve runners. He then used his nice stride to make up about seven lengths in the straight. He hit the front with 100m to go and held on gamely by a quarter of a length from no slouch in D’Arrivee, to whom he was giving 9kg.
It was a fine effort considering Matthew de Kock had said he would need the run and he had to carry 61kg. Pietro Mascagni landed odds of 71-10.
There were a number of Grand Heritage entries running. The Alec Laird-trained 88 merit rated Chepardo put in a fine preparation as he was caught wide for a short time from his tricky draw of eight but still managed to run on strongly for a one length third carrying 59kg.
It was the first start since March 31 for this seven-year-old Trippi gelding and he is a 22/1 shot for the Grand Heritage. His 78 merit rated stablemate Danza ran a fair two length fourth in Saturday’s race and is a 40/1 chance for the Grand Heritage.
Bockscar was just a short-head further back and was finishing liker a train. He was racing off a 75 merit rating and remains a 50/1 shot for the Grand Heritage, but if he is one of the horses who gets in on the lower merit rated tier he will be a good contender.
The 86 merit rated Daffiq put in an eyecatching preparation as he was finishing strongly for sixth and on September 30 will be having his third run after a layoff over an ideal trip so he could be fair value at 28/1.
Dan The Lad was a touch disappointing and is 40/1 for the Heritage. Count Tassilo stayed on and will come on from the run. He is 25/1. Pilou went too fast in front carrying 59,5kg and the run can probably be ignored. He is a 45/1 shot.
In the previous race Joey Ramsden got his Highveld campaign rolling with a win for Rose In Bloom, who was the best weighted horse in an Assessment Plate over 1450m but was allowed to go off at 61-20 as it was her first start since June.
This four-year-old Gimmethegreenlight filly ran unplaced in two starts in KZN but had shown her class during the Cape Summer, finishing a 1,8 length third to Snowdance in the Grade 1 Majorca Stakes over 1600m and a two length second to Magical Wonderland in the Grade 2 Cartier Sceptre Stakes over 1200m.
She followed that up by finishing runner up in both the Grade 3 Prix du Cap and Listed Sweet Chestnut Stakes, both over 1400m.
On Saturday she jumped from a plum draw of two under Piere Strydom. She broke well and Strydom was able to settle her in midfield on the rail.
The tall filly showed a fine turn of foot in the straight plus an extra gear in the final stages, without being put under pressure and won cosily by halfa-length from the US$500,000 CTS Mile third-placed Rings And Things.
The De Kock-trained three-year-old Var filly Ghaalla probably has high expectations this season and made a fair comeback, finishing 2,5 lengths back in fifth from a wide draw. Rings And Things, formerly trained by Candice Bass-Robinson and now trained by Ashley Fortune, is a 25/1 shot for the Grand Heritage.