Woodruff has three runners in the R3.5 million race to be run over 2 200m at Greyville Racecourse in Durban on Saturday, including 7/2 favourite Louis The King and fourth favourite Rake’s Chestnut, at 8/1. Tellina, however, sits in second-last place on the bookmakers’ boards at 40/1.
Considering this horse ran just three-quarters of a length behind Capetown Noir in the Grade 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1 600m at Turffontein earlier this year, that looks a most attractive each-way bet, especially as the tote will be paying out five places.
The reason for this attractive offer is that Tellina ran very poorly in his last start in the Grade 3 Jubilee Handicap at Turffontein. However, Woodruff and his staff quickly worked out the problem.
“It was a horrible run but we had a virus scare on the Highveld and he pulled up showing viral signs,” said Woodruff. “We’ve given him a quick-fire course of antibiotics and I’m hoping to goodness it has done the job.”
Tellina arrived in Durban on Monday night and Woodruff was very happy with what he saw.
“He is looking good. My only worry is the handicapper has been a little unfair.”
Tellina also has drawn poorly at No 18 but will come into No 15 when the reserve runners come out. Tellina, however, likes to come from off the pace and that could be a concern in the short Greyville straight.
“The course will be an issue, no doubt,” said Woodruff. “He’s going to have to sit back and we’ll only find out on the day if you can come from off them. Our tactics for the race will be guided by that.”
Tellina does have a top jockey on board in the form of Gavin Lerena, so he will have every bit of assistance from the saddle.