The weather is set to play a major role in the outcome of the R2 million Gauteng Sansui Summer Cup at Turffontein Racecourse on Saturday. Late on Friday evening it was all systems go for Joburg’s premier horseracing event.
At that point, some 40mm of rain had been recorded at Turffontein in the last week and the grass surface was in good shape and just edging into the officially soft zone.
But with thundershowers predicted overnight and at about 8am on Saturday, it’s on the cards that the track surface will be truly soft when racing gets under way.
Officials are confident that the race meeting will go ahead. “At the end of the day it obviously depends on how much rain there is before the meeting, but right now it’s looking good. Even with overnight and early-morning rain, the going should be no worse than soft if there’s sunshine mid-morning,” said Phumelela Horseracing Executive Clyde Basel Friday evening.
The track will be inspected on Saturday and officials will decide by 8am whether it’s necessary to change the starting times of races in order to sidestep the weather.
Go to Tellytrack (channel 239 DStv) or visit www.tabonline.co.za to get the latest information.
The betting on the Cup is virtually unchanged.
Trainer Geoff Woodruff ’s stablemates Master Sabina and Deo Juvente, first and second in last year’s Cup, remain 6/1 joint favourites with Samurai Blade, one of three runners from the yard of champion trainer Sean Tarry.
Liege is at 7/1 with Saratoga Dancer (9/1) and The Conglomerate (10/1) next in the betting.
Both Saratoga Dancer and The Conglomerate were backed on Friday and corporate bookmaker Betting World also reported significant support for eight-year-old Punta Arenas, the oldest horse in the field.
Runner-up in the 2015 Vodacom Durban July, his odds have been trimmed from 18s to 16/1. Of the top six horses in the betting, Liege and Master Sabina have won in soft conditions while Samurai Blade, The Conglomerate and Saratoga Dancer have placed on a soft track.
Deo Juvente, one of four horses bidding to give Woodruff a record fourth consecutive victory in the Cup today, is the only one of the top contenders who has not encountered a wet track before.
It’s anybody’s guess how he will fare on a such a surface but if he runs to his best form we may well be treated to an action replay of last year’s race, except this time Deo Juvente may take his revenge on his stable companion. As things stand, racing will get underway at 1.05pm. The admission fee is R75.