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TRAINER Geoff Woodruff teamed up with jockey Gavin Lerena to win the Gr1 Sansui Summer Cup over 2000m at Turffontein on Saturday for the second consecutive year; Woodruff’s fourth in a row; his sixth altogether and Lerena’s third.

Master Sabina ran on from off the pace, avoided being the filling in a Mayfair Speculators sandwich with about 100m from home, and went on to record his second successive victory in this Grade 1 race, beating Durban July winner The Conglomerate by 1.30 lengths with Master Switch another 0.30-lengths back in third.

As Carol Woodruff, Geoff’s wife, commented after the race: “It’s fitting that we have a new champion, especially as we lost El Picha (Woodruff’s first Summer Cup winner in 1999) recently.”

While Master Sabina started favourite with the bookmakers, it was stable companion De Juvente who started TAB favourite but could only manage seventh spot, 7.30 lengths off the winner.

Most of the money on Saturday was for The Conglomerate and Ten Gun Salute, both of whom shortened from 16-1 to 9-1. There was a delay to the start when a couple of horses played up and Master Switch, also trained by Woodruff, came through the front of the stalls. Fortunately there was no damage done and the horse, with Anthony Delpech up, was soon under control.

Champion trainer Sean Tarry had three runners and it came as no surprise it was the roughie of the trio, Stonehenge, who went to the front ahead of stablemate Liege. Delpech managed to get Master Switch well placed from No 18 draw followed by Deo Juvente with The Conglomerate and Piere Strydom some five lengths off the pace. Lerena, meanwhile, kept Master Sabina near the rear.

Liege took over once in the straight and he was soon tackled by Master Switch, Deo Juvente and The Conglomerate, while Master Sabina seemed to take a while to get going. Eventually the horse decided it was time to go and he closed in quickly. “I had a big opening to go through but The Conglomerate started to hang in and Master Switch hung out and it suddenly got very tight,” said Lerena.

“Fortunately we were already in the gap and Master Sabina showed a lot of courage and just burst through.”

Liege stayed on for fourth, a further 3.30 lengths back, while Juxtapose, the lone filly in the race, finished fifth with Saratoga Dancer in sixth.

Commenting on the win Woodruff said: “It’s a handicap and I suppose history was against us too. We could all see that the horse was a lot better this time around than last year. But it’s a handicap, you need luck. It’s a horse race with 20 horses and you need space. He nearly got cleaned up, actually by my other horse Master Switch.”

-from Tab News.

-Photo: Master Sabina and connections in the winner’s circle.