Today sees the running of the R2-million Gauteng Sansui Summer Cup at Turffontein and is one of our most important days of the year. We hope to have a big crowd as that makes the day a little more special and you feel you have to up your game as there are a lot of eyes on you.
Having a R2-million race always adds to the occasion and the race sometimes turns into a mad scramble as everybody chases the big prize money.
My early choices are two Johan Janse van Vuuren horses in Crowd Pleaser and Brazuca but the race does not end there. There are a lot of horses who are not well drawn but you need to have something of a good draw because in a big field like this if you’re drawn badly you either get caught out wide, or you have to go handier that you wish, which will tell at the end, or you have to drop further back than you want to be.
One of the reasons why I selected those two as they have gate speed and have the ability to get themselves well placed.
There are others who need to be mentioned with decent form. They are Liege, Social Order and New Predator. Some of the horses are having their second run after a break which could turn the form around completely and then there are other with decent form but wide draws who, with a bit of luck, could pop up.
I’m riding Master Switch, who has his issues at the start and often does not jump away very well so the bad draw does not help him.
In the Place Accumulator go wide and include Brazuca, Crowd Pleaser, Liege and Social Order. For the Pick 6 add in New Predator, Orchid Island, Pagoda and Girl On The Run.
We start the day off with a sprint for fillies with two horses looking to fight it out. They are Ensemble, who has a very high merit rating for a maiden, and Balustrade, who is coming back in distance which is not always the right recipe for a winner.
I ride Amajory who I hope will place in a strong field. I feel she would have a better chance over 1000m.
Race 2 is another Maiden Plate with a couple horses having some decent form. They are Square The Circle, Schippers and Bright Blessed Day. My first choice is Square The Circle but there are a number of unraced horses so keep an eye on the betting.
Race 3 is a handicap for fillies and there are some with established form and some lightly raced improvers. I’m going to lean towards the lightly raced horses and they are Varsity Girl and Alileo. Their dangers are Wrecking Ball and Queen Laurie.
Go with those four for the PA. If you don’t like them there are others to include and they are Spring Wonder, Favour’s Pride and Myfunnyvalentine.
Race 4 is the first leg of the carryover Pick 6 and as this is a very difficult Pick 6 to catch you could possibly have a banker in this event. That honour goes to Folk Dance. She is the highest rated horse and also has a good draw.
She had to deal with shocking draws in her last two runs and on those occasions she was beaten just over a length. She is definitely a PA banker but there are lightly raced horses if you want to look further for the Pick 6. The dangers could be Cashel Palace and San Fermin who won her only start with ease.
I ride Roy’s Riviera who will need to improve to beat these at level weights.
Race 5 is the WSB Merchants and we have some of the best sprinters in the country running on handicap terms, which theoretically gives everyone an equal chance.
Here we have another possible banker in Naafer. He beat Bull Valley last time and yet he is better off at the weights and being a young horse has more scope for improvement. He is a PA banker but if you don’t banker him in the Pick 6 then almost every horse has a winning chance. Others to consider are Kangaroo Jack and Bull Valley but if you look further you will need the field.
I ride Rivarine who last time had his first run after gelding. He was better behaved and could possibly beat the rest of the field, except for Naafer.
Race 6 is the Dingaans for three-year-olds and some of these horses could improve by many lengths but the horse who has been most impressive is Big Bear. He has a wide draw but can race handy and has a chance to overcome the draw.
For the PA consider Big Bear, Ideal Secret and Like A Panther, who has a big reputation.
For the Pick 6 add in Alshibaa, Silver God, Vacquero and Pietro Mascagni. Vacquero has a good draw and beat a decent field of older horses last time
I ride Puget Sound whose been well beaten in his last couple of starts and I would be happy to earn a stake cheque.
Race 8 is the Ipi Tombe Challenge which is a conditions race and that makes Nother Russia a hard horse to beat. Not only should she improve on her last run but the fact she will be better off over the extra distance makes her a banker in all bets.
Her obvious dangers are She’s A Giver and Bella Sonata but both fluffed their lines in their last starts so that further points to Nother Russia.
I ride Secret Star who sometimes can pull quite hard so in this race we will have to drop her to the back of the field. Hopefully she sees out the distance and which the race will tell.
Race 9 is over the marathon trip of 3200m and often the pace can get a bit muddling. Therefore you need to go as wide as possible. My main selections are Gone Baby Gone, Bankable Teddy, Royal Honour and Save The Rhino. I would put all four in the PA and for the Pick 6 the field.
Race 10 is another difficult handicap and my first selection goes to Irish Pride. He has been running in strong company and his merit rating is dropping all the time. He also has had some bad draws and this time he jumps from barrier No 6. His dangers are Doosra and Maximizer.
The threats to them could be Count Tassilo, Hidden Agenda and my ride, Kings Archer. Last time he was drawn No 1 over his favourite distance so he will battle over further.
Race 11 is another difficult handicap but my first choice is Edisson who won easily by seven lengths last time and is drawn No 3.
The dangers are Bold Coast from a good draw, Shogun and Chepardo, who ran on from a long way back last time.
Race 12 is a Maiden Plate where you often find one or two standing out on form. However, this time the number of horses with form is quite big but my main selections are Ezieza and La Linea.