Charles Dickens rewrites the script
Hollywoodbets Kenilworth emptied out like a burst dam after Charles Dickens was beaten by Al Muthana in the Gr1 L’ Ormarins King’s Plate back in January, but the crowd lined the rails at Hollywoodbets Greyville yesterday as the colt was led into the winner’s circle. The striking chestnut produced what was expected in the King’s Plate, showing a devastating turn of foot and turning the tables on Al Muthana in emphatic fashion.
There were butterflies for all in the paddock, rider Aldo Domeyer admitting that he was not certain about what lay ahead, but once aboard Charles Dickens, the butterflies were gone.
“There’s something about him. I can’t explain it. We’ve got this connection; we’ve got this bond. He seems to calm down and everything comes into play.
“I get a little nervous too before the time because I’m not sure what’s going to happen but the minute I get on him, all those emotions subside and I’ve got all the confidence in the world.
“He glided to the start and he slept coming out of the pens. I didn’t really want to be on the fence, it wasn’t the plan, but he wanted to be there and I always trust him wherever he wants to be.
“As you can see all the emotion because he’s such a special horse to me,” Domeyer confessed.
“It’s more than racing, it’s more than anything else. I was ready to throw in the towel when this horse came around. He just changed everything for me. He gave me a kick up the backside and another chance at life,” concluded an emotional Domeyer.
Trainer Candice Bass Robinson was in agreement. “We’ve never had a horse quite like this who can turn it on like he does. He’s phenomenal to watch,” she said.
Grant Van Niekerk always had Charles Dickens in his sights, sitting two off on his outside, and that’s the way it stayed. He gave Al Muthana every chance but the two lengths stayed two lengths at the line with Zapatillas staying on gamely for third.
Earlier Winchester Mansion gave the Hollywoodbets Durban July selection panel plenty to think about when storming to a convincing victory in the Gr3 Hollywoodbets Dolphins Cup Trial.
The winner of this contest does not gain automatic entry into the big race but Winchester Mansion most certainly laid claims.
It took Brett Crawford a little soul-searching before taking the decision to geld his charge but as he mentioned, it was the right decision.
First run after gelding he was touched off by Pacaya in the World Sports Betting Greyville 1900 but according to Crawford he did a few things wrong and cost himself the race. Fitted with sheepskin cheek-pieces, he gave Kabelo Matsunyane a tremendous kick at the top of the straight and he left eight other July hopefuls bobbing in his wake.
If he does make the July field it will be with bottom weight for a four-year-old and no doubt Matsunyane will have the ride.
The Gr2 East Coast Radio Tibouchina Stakes was something of a messy affair as a pedestrian pace saw a lot of scrimmaging early on leaving a wall of horses in contention crossing the subway. Eventually Humdinger and Marigold Hotel emerged from the pack with Humdinger clinging desperately to a narrow lead for Mike de Kock and jockey JP Van der Merwe.