Next Saturday the racing focus will be on Cape Town for the running of one of the Grand Slams of South African horseracing, the R5-million Sun Met. This is one race where every jockey hopes to get into the No 1 box.
The conditions of the race favour of the highest merit rated horses and in my opinion they will probably fight it out. Legal Eagle is the obvious choice, but now Marinaresco has a good draw he can make a race of it as he won’t be that far behind the leaders – and this 2000m will be right up his alley.
Another horse you may need to consider is Gold Standard, the only three-year-old in the field.
I’m riding It’s My Turn who has been beaten comfortably in his last couple of starts but the distances of those races were short of his optimum and they were also used to bring him to his peak for the Met. Last time he lost a shoe on the way to the start which was refitted and when I got back to the unsaddling enclosure he had lost it again. So I’m hoping he can improve, especially with a good draw.
A lot of people have asked why I’m not riding The Conglomerate but I committed to the Snaiths a while back, and as the yard has been supporting me it was important I stuck to my word.
I’m also hoping to bring owner Fred Crabbia another Grade 1 win as last year I rode the same horse to win the Investec Derby. I have ridden quite a lot for him and I’m hoping to repay him with another Grade 1 win.
Today we race at Turffontein on the Inside track and the draws are important. Let’s get off on a winning note because the best horse in Race 1 is also well drawn and that is Madam Secretary. Charter Jet finished just behind her last time but she has had many runs and is drawn a bit wide.
A bigger danger could come from Catwalk as she is lightly raced and her form is good enough. Unfortunately she also has a bad draw to overcome.
Race 2 is a small but competitive field and the horse with the best form is August Duke who could still have the beating of Empress Valley and Soldat, because he has a good draw and also has the necessary speed. But his obvious dangers are Soldat and Empress Valley as they could improve on their first starts.
Race 3 is the opening leg of the Place Accumulator and you should get through with Fantasy View and Magic Sword. Magic Sword is only having his third start so there could be some improvement while Fantasy View is drawn No 1 and wears blinkers for the first time.
Race 4 is the first leg of the Pick 6 and as none of these horses has outstanding form you need to include as many as possible. I would consider Prada Princess, Sweet Chestnut, Quintessa and Sheema. Pick any three for the Place Accumulator and include all in the Pick 6.
The only other runner to consider for the Pick 6 is Colour Vision.
In Race 5 we have many runners with similar form and over 2600m a bit of luck in running can change the result completely. You could quite easily consider the field for the Pick 6 but for the PA include Commodore Al, Ilitshe and Talbec.
Race 6 is a fillies’ handicap and they are often tricky affairs but I would consider banking First Dance in the PA. The last start was behind Shaama and according to the jockey she has a reputation that she can run. In her penultimate start she was beaten by Samarra and on that occasion Secret Star, who won on Thursday, finished behind her.
So from a good draw and the inside track she could provide a bit of value.
For the Pick 6 consider Cape Orchid, who is lightly raced and could enjoy the extra 200m, and Red Pomegranate, who is coming off a rest and has shown some ability.
Race 7 is a difficult handicap with many horses having some sort of chance. My two picks are British Royale and Pivotal Pursuit who are both drawn well.
Another horse you could consider is Champagne Haze as Andrew Fortune has taken the ride over Pivotal Pursuit. Unfortunately he has a bad draw and this 1200m could be too short.
For the Pick 6 also consider African Ruler and Morpheus.
I ride Greasepaint who arguably could be better of 1000m and also has a wide draw to overcome, which will not make his task easy.
Race 8 is another handicap and many of these runners have some short of a chance, but for the PA I would consider Nother Russia who’s got very good and consistent form. Her danger, who needs to be included in the Pick 6, is Duffi’s Call. She finished just 4.30 lengths behind Romany Prince, who has won again, beating Deo Juvente. With the apprentice claiming 1.5kg it must make her a massive runner. I would consider both for the Pick 6 and choose one of the two to banker in the PA.
I ride Zante who needed her last run. I’m hoping she’s a lot fitter and can finish in the placings.
Race 9 is a fillies’ handicap which are usually very tricky and that looks to be the case on this occasion. The problem is that the runners with the strongest form are all drawn badly. I’m leaning towards Turn Back Time, Costa Da Sol, Cape Infanta, Russian Friend, Barcelona Babe and Silken. Try to include as many of these in the PA as possible and also consider my ride, End Game. She won comfortably last time out but the opposition was not very strong.
As that was only her maiden win she is difficult to assess, but from a good draw and more improvement to come she could be more competitive.
For the Pick 6 put them all in, along with Jin-Go-Lo-Ba, Tales Of Mambo, Frozen and Inga.