Mike Moon
Horse racing correspondent
3 minute read
6 Nov 2021
8:00 am

Second Base has the class to shine in Victory Moon

Mike Moon

Living up to his name, he was the 'almost' horse of the Highveld autumn season.

Hooves, legs and grass flying, there will be plenty of horse racing action at the Highveld Work Riders Challenge at the Vaal on Thursday. Picture: iStock

The Victory Moon Stakes celebrates one of the horses that turned Joburg trainer Mike de Kock into an international star.

On Saturday at Turffontein, the 1800m Grade 3 contest serves as a key preparation for the Gauteng Summer Cup – and, for some horses, a last chance at qualifying for the Highveld’s premier race at the end of the month.

All but one of the Victory Moon runners are entered for the big one so form-watchers will be seeking guidance from the outcome, though the “odd man out” – Paul Peter’s gelding Astrix – is among the favourites to win and sprinkle confusion among us hapless punters.

Saturday’s outright favourite is De Kock-trained four-year-old filly Sparkling Water, who is weighted to win.

She is currently 12th on the Top 20 Summer Cup log, so is a certainty for that engagement. However, given the competition there, the Victory Moon is surely the stable’s primary target.

Having said that, Sparkling Water is a young horse whose true ability is probably yet to be fathomed. She has won three of her eight starts and has placed behind the likes of War Of Athena, Seehan and Netta, so there is much to like.

Her 50kg impost is her ticket on Saturday and De Kock’s lightweight rider Kabelo Matsunyane gets a nice opportunity for a graded stakes win.

Stamina limitations have kept Astrix out of the 2000m Summer Cup and this 1800m is at the very top of his range. However, from No 1 gate and with recent front-running tactics paying dividends, jockey Warren Kennedy will be trying to steal away from his rivals.

The class horse of the race is Second Base. Living up to his name, he was the “almost” horse of the Highveld autumn season. A well-deserved three-month break followed, and he returned to the track with two encouraging warm-up efforts over 1800m. He appears to have matured a tad more while navel-gazing in the paddock.

This is his third run after that rest and he might be ready to confirm the peak-run adage for trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren – despite the weighty matter of 60kgs. Raymond Danielson deputises for regular rider Gavin Lerena.

Lerena will be in Cape Town renewing acquaintance with his winning Vodacom Durban July partner Kommetdieding, who returns to action after a well-deserved break following the heroics at Greyville.

The gelding lines up in the Cape Mile, one of three feature races at Saturday’s meeting at Kenilworth. He might be a bit unfit after his holiday but has always shown fighting spirit and could reward his legion of devoted supporters.

Much-improved stayer Silver Host appears to have the 2400m Woolavington Stakes (Listed) at his mercy in Kenilworth’s Race 6, while the second Listed race on the programme, the Laisserfaire Stakes, has a field that is difficult to read.

SELECTIONS

Turffontein Saturday

1: 7 Red Carpet Girl, 1 Track Commander, 2 Quality Joker, 4 Integrate

2: 4 Coral Dawn, 3 Dame Of Flames, 5 Run For Isla, 2 Oceans Pride

3: 4 Fromheretoeternity, 3 Elusive Woman, 1 Golden Spoon, 2 Sultanah

4: 4 Rain In Holland, 1 War Of Athena, 5 Magical Flight, 6 Only The Brave

5: 5 Bard Of Avon, 6 Sound Of Warning, 7 Sheldon, 1 Winter Stories

6: 9 Bella Chica, 5 Mind Reader, 2 True To Life, 12 Lucy English

7: 5 Astrix, 1 Second Base, 12 Sparkling Water, 11 Matterhorn

8: 2 Al Sakeet, 7 Celestial Love, 8 Mardi Gras, 9 Riverstown

9: Irfaans Boy, 5 Valiente, 6 Love Lies, 1 Kings Road

Pick 6: 1,4 x 1,4,5,6,7 x 2,5,9,12 x 1,5,6,7,11,12 x 2,7 x 1,2,5,6,10 (R1920)

PA: 1 x 4 x 5,6 x 2,5,9 x 1,5 x 2 x 2,5,6 (R36)

Kenilworth Saturday

Best bet: Race 6 No 2 Silver Host

Value bet: Race 4 No 6 Van Hunks

Greyville Sunday

Best bet: Race 2 No 3 Gaudis Masterpiece

Value bet: Race 4 No 2 Allaroundtheworld