Jackson was given a light canter on the beach sand at Summerveld on Monday and is looking a picture ahead of the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 at Greyville on Saturday, while Ilha Bela, who will be one of the favourites for the Woolavington 2000, will only arrive at Summerveld from Johannesburg sometime during this week.
Brett Crawford said he had been very happy with Jackson’s Champions Season debut run in the KRA Guineas.
“He was beaten by a better horse (Variety Club) and was well clear of the third horse. His 400m to finish time was good, which showed he will have no problem with the course. The race has brought him on, so he is much fitter now and looks outstanding. He is drawn perfectly and is eight points higher than any other horse in the merit ratings. It is a horse race, but eight pounds is a lot to turn around.”
Jackson, who won the Grade 1 Investec Cape Derby over 2000m at Kenilworth on J&B Met day, will also appreciate the step up in trip from 1600m to 2000m.
He is currently the favourite for the Vodacom Durban July, but Crawford said that the Daily News had always been his main mission.
Crawford runs the Grade 1 TBAQ Paddock Stakes winner Thunder Dance in the Woolavington 2000.
She suffered a minor setback before her last intended start and had to be scratched so hasn’t enjoyed an ideal preparation.
Crawford said, “She takes a lot of work and a lot of racing so we had planned to run her at least twice before the Woolavington, so the prep hasn’t been ideal. But she has responded very well and came out of her last race well so I am a lot happier than I was two weeks ago. She was only 4,5 lengths off them in that last race when needing it badly. But it’s still going to be a hard task as she will be up against horses that are match fit. Her prep was not as good as it was in Cape Town and to win Grade 1s you need good preps.”
Mike de Kock said that he had decided to prepare Ilha Bela out of Randjesfontein for the Woolavington as she had been doing well on the polytrack in her work.
Ilha Bela was an impressive 6,25 length winner of her last start, the Grade 2 SA Oaks over 2450m at Turffontein, and de Kock reckoned afterwards she was a pleasure to work with and was improving all the time.
He also made her a “big July runner” after her performance that day.
She has quite a tough draw on Saturday in a competitive field.
However, she will have no problem with Greyville as she won there impressively over 1400m towards the end of her two-year-old season when up against older horses.
She did subsequently disappoint when a well beaten favourite in the Grade 1 Thekwini over 1600m, but she has come on in leaps and bounds in her last few starts and looks set to follow in the footsteps of her mother, Ilha Da Vitoria, who had famous wins in the Grade 1 Summer Cup and Horse Chestnut Stakes, as well as the GommaGomma Challenge, in her last season.
De Kock said that his other Woolavington runner Viva Maria would “be stretched by the 2000m trip, but it was a Grade 1 so they had to try.”
He reckoned that his Daily News contender, Vettel, would prefer further.
“He’s a Derby, Gold Cup type of a horse.”
However, Vettel is an impressive specimen and caught the eye when slamming a good field in a Non-Black Type feature over 2500m at Clairwood recently.
It is interesting to note that the Gavin van Zyl-trained Shogunnar, a horse he beat by 2,5 lengths that day, was subsequently supplemented for the Daily News.
Vettel should definitely not be written off for Saturday’s big race.