Glider Pilot set to soar
TYRONE Zackey has an interesting runner in the Gr 1 Daily News 2000 in the Summerhill-bred A P Arrow gelding Glider Pilot, who is a half-brother to last year’s winner of this race Rabada.
Zackey bought the rangy gelding for owners Kevin and Nadine Backos, his sonin-law and daughter respectively, and Sheddy Habib at a dispersal sale of the late Adriaan van Vuuren.
He said, “That’s why we could not nominate him for a while (red tape relating to Van Vuuren’s frozen assets).
“The horse did not show me much in the beginning, I think he was a bit out of work, but he then started running equal with his companions and then he started putting some distance between himself and them.
“He wasn’t working with champions, but then I put him up against a horse who had won a race and after that gallop decided to nominate him.”
It was unusual to see a horse making its debut over 2 000m and the race was also run at just after seven o’ clock in the evening. Nevertheless, Glider Pilot was backed from 40/1 into 10/1.
The wild cheering from the nearby Zackey box could be heard during the commentary as Glider Pilot got the better of the 16/10 favourite Starpath to win by 0,8 lengths.
Zackey continued, “The rest of the field were more than ten lengths back and I thought well he can’t be bad. And then Starpath came out and won too.
“So I nominated him for a handicap over the same distance at the Vaal.”
On this occasion he was beaten 1,9 lengths into third.
However, Zackey was impressed by two facets of the race. DUNCAN Howells has had blinkers in mind for Secret Captain for a while and this talented grey has his first run in the headgear in the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 on Saturday.
The combination of Secret Captain’s form and his style of racing has Howells baffled and he is still not sure what his best trip is.
He pointed on the one hand to the Captain Al colt’s good sprint form, in which he has always displayed a good turn of foot, and then added, “When you watch this horse galloping he looks to be a horse who needs ten furlongs and he is also a half-brother to Bela-Bela, but he seems to battle to quicken in races over further.”
Another confusing aspect is that in his races over a mile and beyond, he stays on late after that initial flat-footedness.
Howells is thus hoping the blinkers will help him quicken.
He reckoned Secret Captain’s last run on the poly over 1800m could be ignored. He said, “He ran way below his handicap mark and I don’t think it had anything to with the surface, rather it was the
Firstly, the winner of the race was the five-year-old Amsterdam and the runner up was Jubilee Line.
Amsterdam had finished second in the Gr 1 SA Classic as a three-year-old and had consequently been bought out of the Paul Peter yard, ironically by Adriaan van Vuuren, while Jubilee Line has always been highly regarded and was a Vodacom Durban July entry this year.
Secondly, Glider Pilot had produced a late surge.
Zackey said, “He wasn’t balanced and he couldn’t get on to the other foot, that comes with inexperience, but when he did he caught the eye.”
Zackey now believed he had a horse of some potential.
He said, “Greyville is a tricky course for an inexperienced horse.
“But we have got a ticket and are going sharp corner and the short straight which didn’t suit him.”
That race was a case in point of the long-striding horse not quickening effectively, but then staying on late. He was beaten 2,35 lengths by Daily News second favourite Edict Of Nantes and now has to face him on 9kg worse terms.
However, the run must have been all wrong because in his previous start he had stayed on resolutely for a decent 1,75 length second in the Gr 2 Daisy Guineas on the Greyville turf, beating the like of prominent Daily News contenders Zodiac Ruler, Copper Force, Horizon and Africa Rising. He will face all of those horses on the same terms on Saturday.
Howells concluded, “He definitely has the ability, otherwise I would not be running him here. He has been showing exceptionally good work and if he stays he will give a very good account of himself.”
Secret Captain has been to come down to Durban and have some fun.
He can run a little, but whether he can compete with all of those horses who clearly have Gr 1 potential I don’t know, so if he runs a place I will be very happy.”
An interesting form-line for Glider Pilot comes through Hamaan.
He received 2kg from the current Daily News third-favourite Pagoda in the Derby Trial over 2000m and was beaten 5,3 lengths. In Glider Pilot’s last start he gave Hamaan 2,5kg and a short-head beating.
Glider Pilot thus has close to five lengths to find with Pagoda on paper, but it should be born in mind that last start on May 11 was only the second of his career, so he is not just there to make up the numbers.
He has been priced up a 50/1 shot by the bookmakers and will be ridden by Zackey’s high-flying nephew, Craig Zackey, who is lying in sixth place on the National Jockey’s log. priced up at about 25/2 and stable jockey Keagan de Melo is up from a pole position draw.
Howells also runs the Querari gelding Gingerbread Man, who was beaten 6,8 lengths into eighth in the Daisy Guineas. However, a closer look at the race shows him to have a big action and he was staying on in eye-catching style from last.
Howells said there were no other races for Gingerbread Man off his 90 merit rating.
He added, “I think he was a bit too far back in the Guineas.”
Howells said this gelding had always shown good track work. He believed he would stay on pedigree. He is out of a Fort Wood mare, Ginger Tree, who won over 1800m and who is a full-sister to Rhizome, who won six times from 1600m to 3000m. Further down his female line there is plenty of stamina as well as class and his fourth dam, Nagaika, produced three horses who went on to be sires, including Connaught, who finished second to Sir Ivor in the Epsom Derby. Howells hoped Gingerbread Man could earn a share of the R2 million stake money.
Howells rates the Gimmethegreenlight filly Girl In Gold, who runs in the first race over 1600m, and she certainly caught the eye on debut over 1400m at Greyville when caught very wide and running on strongly for fourth. He will target her at the Gr 1 Thekwini depending on how she fares on Saturday.
Meanwhile, he will target the Gr 1 Allan Robertson thirdplaced Neptune’s Rain at the Gr 2 Golden Slipper on Vodacom Durban July day. He believed she was unlucky to have had a low draw last Saturday, which forced her to be handy while her best form had been when coming from off the pace.
Howells’ Betting World 1900 winner Ten Gun Salute will go straight into the July. The back issue he had is almost completely clear now and the fact he had it might have turned out to be a blessing in disguise. He was hardly blowing after his exceptional 1900 victory, so the yard have learnt he does not have to be given a lot of work to be at his peak.