But the day also sees the running of the Asian Young Guns Challenge in which apprentices jockeys from Japan, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Mauritius and South Africa will come up against one another. There are four races on the card dedicated to the Challenge – Races 3, 5, 7, and 8.
Franklin Maleking and Craig Zackey will be the two representing South Africa while the youngster who in a couple of weeks will officially be declared South Africa’s Champion apprentice – Akash Aucharuz – will be riding for Mauritius.
Home ground knowledge is always a big advantage and the SA pair look to have decent rides in Race 3, a MR 66 Handicap over 1200m. Maleking is on Black Jaguar who has won two of his last three starts while Zackey rides Sylvan Jet, a recent maiden winner over the course and distance.
The edge could be with Macau-based apprentice Cash Wong who rides Step To Fame for the Mike de Kock yard while Noh Senari from Singapore has some chance with nine-year-old Kings Gold.
Both Wong and Senari have decent rides in the second leg, a MR 78 Handicap over 2000m, where they are on De La Danza and Auction King respectively. However, Japan’s Kazuo Yokoyama could give them both a run for their money aboard the Yogas Govender-trained French Revolution who has won his only start over this distance.
The third leg (Race 7) is a Maiden Plate over 1450m and Zackey must have been licking his lips with glee when he saw he had drawn Pioneer Spirit from the Gavin van Zyl yard. The horse has finished second in both of his starts and the last run was one length behind Grade 1 winner Afrikaburn over 1400m at Greyville. They are drawn No 1 and this son of Go Deputy is sure to go off at a very short price.
The final leg looks is a FM 75 Handicap and looks wide open. The draw is important over this distance and perhaps De Kock-trained Sugar Pie, to be ridden by South Korean Cha Lee could have an advantage jumping from barrier No 4.
The Challenge could be a real thriller and it will be fascinating to see these youngsters in action.