24 Avril 2014
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Tellina prevails in Guineas thriller

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The Gr 2 Gauteng Guineas was widely expected to be a thriller, and those who made the trip to Turffontein on Saturday were not disappointed as the first leg of the Sascoc Triple Crown produced a frenetic finish. It was Tellina (SAF), superbly handled by Robbie Fradd, who got up close home to deny a resurgent War Horse (SAF), with Killua Castle (AUS) and  No Worries (SAF) both turning in cracking efforts to secure the minor placings.

The betting had a bizarre look to it, with no less than three runners sharing favouritism on the bookmakers' boards at 6/1. Tellina was one of them and he was handled with supreme confidence by Fradd, who left him alone at the back end of the field as Donnie Brasco went out to lead from Rock Of Arts and Swift And Strong, with Zestful, Lovestruck and Gitiano next best. Alexandra Palace sat just behind this group with No Worries and War Horse racing more-or-less with him, the latter unable to beat his draw and racing four wide at one stage. Killua Castle was also held back in the pack.

Donnie Brasco kept going in the straight but War Horse started to make inroads up the centre of the track. Tellina started to make up ground even wider out while Killua Castle suddenly materialised hard up against the inside rail.

Chaotic scenes ensued in the final furlong. War Horse seemed to hold the slightest of advantages over Tellina but Killua Castle was running the race of his life, as were rank outsiders No Worries and Gitiano, both of whom gave plenty of cheek. Tellina dug deep when it mattered, though, forging ahead a few strides from the line for a famous victory.

Tellina was facing by far the biggest test of his career, but he had given notice of his ability with a runaway victory against older horses in handicap company last time out and came in for plenty of support (relatively speaking, anyway, in the  context of one of the most open betting races we've seen at this level for some time now). He's now won three from six and, as a son of Silvano, should relish the step up to 1800m in the SA Classic, which would be the logical next step. He's struck up a great partnership with Fradd and provided a welcome return to the big-race winner's box for popular trainer Geoff Woodruff (pictured), who enjoyed a great day overall as he also managed to place in the three other feature races in which he had runners.

War Horse's connections will no doubt be disappointed at going down so narrowly, but they can also take heart that Corne Spies's stable star now looks to be back on track. He had to take the long way around due to his poor draw and was being scrubbed at in the early stages just to hold a position. In the circumstances, this was a fine effort, especially considering he's endured a recent battle against biliary, and he is another one who should relish the step up in trip if he takes his place in the SA Classic.

Killua Castle had served notice of his ability when flying up for third in the Dingaans but had then flopped in two subsequent efforts. However, he was not suited to the course and distance on both those occasions and clearly enjoyed the return to a mile at this galloping track. He is yet another one with SA Classic pretensions after this effort.

No Worries looked outclassed in this line-up but he raised his game here and was in contention for a long way. This was a top effort, but also a cut above his previous form, and his challenge will be now be to maintain this level of performance in this type of class going forward. Gitiano also deserves an honourable mention for a very respectable effort here, beaten by a nose into fifth.

source : sahorseracing.com

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