Whispers are part of this wonderful sport we call racing. Stories grow legs and before you know it fact becomes stranger than fiction, writes Gary Lemke for GGGaming.bet
Anyone who has had a bet will be familiar with that old chestnut, “they say”. Who is “they”? Often it’s someone who has spoken to someone who knows someone who is best friends with someone involved with a racing stable, be it the trainer, jockey, groom or owner. “They say it can’t lose this weekend.” And that’s how we end up “investing” our money, a lot of the time based on, well, someone’s hunch and spread like wildfire.
So, I tend to not listen to whispers. When punting I try to find where the handicappers have got it wrong – as was the case with Bingwa at Turffontein last weekend, and Ma Black at Kenilworth on Wednesday. For that, you have to become your own handicapper in a sense, and look for the value.
However, there was a huge whisper doing the rounds in recent months which was true, although it’s difficult to know how true. The word was that the Vodacom Durban July hero, Kommetdieding, was being sold to a Saudi Arabian owner for R10-million. While it would have been foolish for owner Ashwin Reynolds to turn down such an offer for his star four-year-old, it fell through. That part is fact, the R10m offer though is unverified.
Still, Reynolds has had the ride of his life with Kommetdieding. He was offered the yearling for R55 000 and Ashwin gave the horse his name after being challenged to do so by a friend one day over a couple of drinks.
“It is Afrikaans slang among the Cape Flats coloured community and it means ‘Bring it on’ as in ‘I’m not scared, bring it on.’”
To date, in only seven races, of which Kommetdieding has won five and finished third twice, he has pocketed R1.6m in stake money, but money can’t buy the joy and excitement that he has found. Reynolds is the salt of the earth and one of racing’s truly beautiful people.
Now, with the Saudi Arabia offer having fallen through, he’s ready to watch Kommetdieding strut his stuff in the Cape season, starting with Saturday’s Cape Mile. Gavin Lerena, who rode him to victory in the July in his last start, is in the saddle and despite carrying top weight of 62kg Kommetdieding has been marked up as favourite.
He won’t be anywhere near peak fitness but might be good enough to put away a field of seasoned triers, although fellow four-year-old Rascallion, like Kommetdieding, will be pointed at the season’s upcoming bigger features.
Given the weakness of the rand it’s understandable when overseas buyers come in for some of our stars – and R10m, if true, is a life-changing amount that Reynolds will have missed out on. But, one senses that the racing gods are on his side and his story with Kommetdieding is far from over.
Kenilworth’s card on Saturday sees some competitive racing. The second race, for instance, is a Graduation Plate over 1400m, but there are two top promising three-year-olds in Symphony Of Light and Stiptelik, who take on quality older fillies in Rain In Newmarket, Chat Ching and Really Royal.
The final race of the day sees Dean Kannemeyer’s highly-regarded Waterberry Lane line up, probably as favourite, and observers will watch him closely as he is considered a live candidate for the Cape Guineas, which Kannemeyer won last year with the 100-1 outsider Russian Rock.
The GGGaming.bet-sponsored Bass Racing stable has been enjoying a grand season and are already up to 30 winners so far this season.
They again have winning chances on Saturday, with Chat Ching (race 2) and Golden Dah (race 3) seemingly their best prospects, with preference probably for the latter.