CTS buy has classics in sight

CTS buy has classics in sight

February 05, 2018 / 8 months ago

CTS buy has classics in sight cover image

Three-year-old Surcharge, a R550,000 buy from the CTS Johannesburg Ready To Run Sale in 2016, posted his fifth win from only seven starts in Saturday’s Gr3 Tony Ruffel Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein.

Trainer Stuart Pettigrew laughed off a suggestion on Sunday morning that his Surcharge was a “1400m specialist”, with four of his five wins having come over the extended sprint.

The colt Pettigrew last year described as one that “walks like a leopard and runs like a cheetah” unleashed an astonishing finishing run under Piere Strydom. They made up the best part of 15 lengths in the last 400m for a going-away win over the useful Sir David Baird and Wonderwall.

Pettigrew said: “Surcharge is a miler plus, he’ll be at his best over 1800-2000m. He’s been winning over 1400m on class alone, it’s actually far too short for him.  To have won from where he came from in the Tony Ruffel was quite amazing and shows what a good horse he is.”

Pettigrew noted that the SA Classic, the second leg of the Triple Crown, is the race he and owner Ian van Schalkwyk has always earmarked for Surcharge.  “We planned the Ruffel Stakes and Gauteng Guineas into the Classic. The Guineas might still be too short at top level, but so far so good.”

Pettigrew has raced Surcharge as lightly as possible, having had previous experience with champions like Tyson.  “We  left him in the Ready To Run which is just impossible to win from a wide draw and he ran fifth, drawn 15-16. We then left him out of the Dingaans because he drew wide again and we bypassed races in Durban in Cape Town just simply not to let him travel. If all goes well we will go for a race like the Daily News, he won’t take on older horses in his three-year-old career. For now, however, it’s step by step. (Leopard step by leopard step?)

Pettigrew’s feats with Tyson back 2004/5 are well documented and  the prediction is that Surcharge, similarly, is a horse destined to become a public favourite.  Tyson came into his own as a four-year-old, beating Gang Related and Ilha Da Vitoria in the 2004 then Gommagomma Summer Cup and race caller Clyde Basel remarked at the time that in all his years of commentating, he’d never heard such a roar for a horse.

Perhaps one should not think too far ahead, but Pettigrew has done it before with a similar type of horse.  His belief that Surcharge is ultimately a 2000m horse bodes well for his summer 2018 prospects with the big race at the end of November. Surcharge is a Varsfontein-bred by Gimmethegreenlight, who himself was arguably suspect beyond a mile, but Pettigrew assessed: “Gimmethegreenlight has already thrown a few good stayers and Surcharge has stamina in his damline.”