PE Express

IN THE SADDLE | ‘Baby’ cruises to record-breaking victory in maiden outing

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It is no surprise when a cute baby attracts the most attention in adult company.

On the Fairview race track it is usually not the case. The babies must wait for their time to shine and the focus is on the older horses with the proven track records.

The situation was different though at last Friday’s meeting on the Polytrack. The star of the show was the two-year-old baby, Cruise Control, trained by top trainer, Gavin Smith.

Cruise Control won the Maiden Juvenile Plate, the first so-called baby race of the season, in style. He was one of six two-year-olds racing for the first time, but he performed like a seasoned campaigner.

He smashed the 800m course record, clocking 43.87 secs, comfortably bettering the previous mark of 44.28.

The Smith yard clearly has an exciting prospect on their hands and we will follow Cruise Control’s career with interest.

One can’t ignore the babies (some might find the term a bit strange as these are not small animals!) that followed the record-breaker home in the race. The second-placed Alan Greeff-trained Cliff Top showed that he should win his next start and the filly Chere For Me, back in third, should provide a lot of fun for the Jacques Strydom Racing Team.

With a few year-end functions going in the HB Christian Room at Fairview, the babies got their fair share of attention.

It was good to see a lot of first-time visitors to the race course enjoying themselves, although it was not an easy meeting for punters to bolster the kitty for their Christmas shopping.

Hopefully they will return to Fairview for some more action as there are still three meetings left for the year.

The exciting battle for the lead on the Fairview trainers’ log is still in full flow and the race for the title will probably go down to the wire yet again.

The season is far from over, only ending at the end of July next year, but in the meantime we can enjoy the fight for the lead between the Smith (52 winners for the season) and Greeff (51 winners) stables.

Warren Kennedy makes no secret about the fact that he is chasing the South African jockey title this season.

He is based in KwaZulu-Natal and his Fairview visits play a huge role in his championship bid.

It is no surprise then that he is the leading Fairview jockey with 31 season wins.

To be a professional jockey comes with its risks and the Gqeberha-born Lyle Hewitson escaped with a fractured hip after being involved in a horrific fall on Sunday in the Hong Kong Sprint.

Hewitson is the current South African champion.

He will be out of action for about two months.

Upcoming Fairview meetings:

December 17, 24, 31

January 10

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