Today is our big raceday on the Highveld with the running of the G-Bets Gauteng Summer Cup over 2000m. There’s a good vibe at Turffontein and because it is a race we all want to win, it adds to the tension and produces butterflies in the tummy
The Summer Cup is wide open this year, mainly because Coral Fever has performed exceptionally well and as he is top weight, a lot of the horses at the bottom of the scale are under sufferance. A lot of us jockeys will have to diet to get our weights down. I am one of them so if we’re a bit grumpy on the day, please forgive us.
I’m leaning towards the younger, lightly raced horses who can show some improvement and both of mine come from the Mike de Kock yard and they are Noble Secret and Like A Panther. Unfortunately, neither has the best of draws.
Coral Fever has done nothing wrong. He has had wide draws in the past and won. This time, with a favourable draw, he needs to be respected.
A horse who could is easily win on handicapping is Social Order but he landed the worst of the draws. Tilbury Fort also has to have a chance on form but some people are sceptical he will see out the distance.
I would try to include at least Noble Secret, Like A Panther and Coral Fever in the Place Accumulator and for the Pick 6 put in as many as possible.
I’m riding Sabina’s Dynasty who has performed unbelievably well in the last year. She’s held on form but hopefully if she’s fit and well she can finish in the places.
Going back to Race 1.
It is not a strong field of maidens but the two I like are Eskimo Kisses and Comaneci. I make Kimberley Green and Miss Samurai the dangers. Watch the betting on first-timers.
Race 2 is another Maiden Plate and here Mythical Bolt looks hard to beat and you can start off the BiPot with a banker.
Race 3 is over 1000m and the main selections are Great Shaka, Alpine Glacier, Greasepaint and Battle Creek. Even though it’s a small field it is competitive so include Great Shaka, Alpine Glacier and one of the other two mentioned in the PA.
Race 4 is the Secretariat Stakes which is a handicap and all are young horses who can still improve at this stage of their careers. My first selections are Gimme A Wave and Royal Italian.
Royal Italian has found some betting support and I make him a PA banker. For the Pick 6 those two should be sufficient but if you like anything, else include them.
I’m riding Bold Eagle who is held on numerous runs by Royal Italian, but will be having his second run since having been gelded and hopefully he has made some improvement because he has proven he is very capable.
Race 5 is the Magnolia Handicap for fillies, which is always tricky. My first choice is Pretty Penny who unfortunately bled last time. Her form prior to that obstacle was quite impressive.
Winter’s Forge has dropped in the merit rating quite nicely and others with decent chances are Captain’s Princess, Ouro and Image Award. For the PA choose four of these and put all into the Pick 6.
I ride Wrecking Ball who is currently in good form but unfortunately picked up a penalty last time for running second. That means she is now held on form but the stable is in top form and hopefully she can produce the goods.
Race 6 is the Merchants and once again it is difficult race. My first choice is Clever Guy who ran a cracker last time out but he seems to produce his best form when we’ve had a little bit of rain and therefore you need to include a couple of others. They are African Rising, Procal Harum, Down To Zero, Pinnacle Peak and Champagne Haze in the Pick 6. For the PA pick four of those as it is a tough race.
I’m riding Captain And Master. He is likely to find this too short and he has yet to produce his best form.
Race 8 is the Ipi Tombe Challenge which is a fillies’ plate race where your best-handicapped horses should come out on top and this time I agree with the handicapper. My selections are Al Danza, Redberry Lane and Fiorella. For the PA go with the first two and for the Pick 6 add Fiorella and Nafaayes.
Race 9 is a Maiden Plate where Epic Dream has a very high rating for a maiden. He should be a banker in all bets but if you don’t want to banker him then look at Zillzaal who had a very good first run and could improve.
I ride Indy Ice who could place in a competitive field.
Race 10 is over the marathon trip of 3200m. My first selection is Ali Bon Dubai who won easily last time but he got a big penalty and his dangers are Walter Smoothie and Horseplay. I ride Arte who has been very consistent and must have a chance.
Race 11 is another handicap and Lone Survivor with draw No 1 is hard to beat. Lone Survivor beat Nordic Rebel who franked the form at the Vaal on Thursday. The dangers are D’ Arivee and Morning Catch.
Race 12 is another difficult handicap and there are many horses with chances. My first selection is Full Of Attitude from Come The Day and Malinga.
There are many others with chances in open race. I ride Bankable Teddy and I’m hoping to place as his merit rating is starting to drop.