Friday the 13th at the tracks not to be missed

SOME might be superstitious about Friday the 13th but, for horse racing in Nelson Mandela Bay, it is one of the most important dates of the year.

It is derby day at the Fairview track on Friday the 13th and it will be a meeting full of quality and excitement.

The highlight will be the running of the R350 000 WSB East Cape Derby for three-year-old horses over 24 000m.

After the Cape Town raiders dominated the Derby for a decade, the locals hit back by winning the last two years.

Four Cape Town trainers, Justin Snaith, Glen Kotzen, Candice Bass-Robinson and Andre Nel, have entered runners for this year’s Derby.

It will take a huge effort from the locals to keep the beautiful trophy and prize money at home but they are up for the challenge.

On the same day, the R175 000 Dahlia Plate over 1 200m will also be run and 13 two-year-olds have been entered.

Bass-Robinson, with two entries, is the only Cape Town trainer involved in this one.

The top Fairview trainers, Gavin Smith and Alan Greeff, have nine entries between them. Zietsman Oosthuizen and Jacques Strydom have one each.

Strydom’s entry is the winner of the East Cape Fillies Nursery, Chere For Me.

Cliff Top, the winner of the East Cape Nursery, tops the Greeff entries.

There is relief and excitement at Nelson Mandela Bay Racing now that Cliff Top is back to his best.

Cliff Top won the Nursery in emphatic fashion at Fairview two weeks ago after he had a very poor outing on April 1.

After Cliff Top won the Summer Juvenile Stakes in Cape Town in January, local racing fans got really excited about what this horse might do.

On April 1, Cliff Top and jockey Greg Cheyne weren’t at their best but they put the record straight in the Nursery.

Cheyne explained that Cliff Top was just too eager when he produced that under par run and there was never any doubt about his ability and condition.

Greeff was a very relieved man because a poor run in the Nursery would probably have put paid to the plans of Cliff Top participating in the upcoming KwaZulu-Natal Champions season.

Now it is exciting times at the Greeff stable to get Cliff Top ready for the Dahlia Plate race, followed by his KZN campaign.

Cliff Top would most likely take his place in the Gold Medallion race in June at Scottsville in Pietermaritzburg.

The KZN Champions Season is now under way and it will be great to see Cliff Top and hopefully also some other Fairview horses taking on the best in the country.

As always, the highlight of the Champions Season will be the R5-million Durban July, on Saturday, July 2.

Fairview in May

6 May: Polytrack

13 May: Turf – Derby & Dahlia Plate

20 May: Polytrack

27 May: Turf – Milkwood Stakes

30 May: Polytrack