Seven runners are carded and five are trained by Zaki although he has withdrawn Shine Tiger. Which leaves Deliver The Power, Valberg, Rodeo Dandy and Sacred Ground to try and stop the Leon Erasmus-trained Jimmi Choo.
One has to add that the outsider of the pack is Bradley Maroun-trained Cohiba but he was beaten 1.50 lengths by Jimmi Choo in their run behind De Var Hyt and is now 6kg worse off.
Jimmi Choo looked to be a top sprinter in the making early in his career but he lost his way as a three-year-old and it has taken a while for the son of Bezrin to regain his form. He has been running close behind the winners in his last five starts but showed he was close to peak form last time out when running on well to finish a 1.75-length second behind De Var Hyt.
Early in his three-year-old career Jimmi Choo had a merit of 109, and even allowing for the weight-for-age adjustments, he has come down steadily and is now racing off a rating of 87. That obviously has made him more competitive and he could be hard to beat with just 52kg and champion apprentice Akash Aucharuz on his back.
On paper he is 0.5kg under sufferance but should not prove too much of a hurdle.
The interesting question is which of the Zaki runners poses the biggest threat. The jockey arrangements are interesting as Gavin Lerena, who is a frontline rider for the stable, was due to ride Valberg as opposed to Deliver The Power, on whom he won last time. There is no question that Valberg on his day is one of the top sprinters in the country. But he does not have too many of those days, these days. In any case, Lerena has been replaced by Karl Zechner, although no reason has been given.
The runner who is weighted to beat Jimmi Choo – taking a line through De Var Hyt – is Rodeo Dandy. He ran 1.30 lengths behind De Var Hyt giving Louis Goosen’s charge 2.5kg while Jimmi Choo was beaten 1.75 lengths getting 3kg. In this event Rodeo Dandy gives 3kg to Jimmi Choo which leaves him with a 2.5kg advantage on those two form lines.
Zaki has engaged champion jockey S’manga Khumalo to ride this Casey Tibbs gelding, but the problem is that now seven years old, Rodeo Dandy is not always that consistent. In fact, on the race before that when they were both beaten by Rambo, Jimmi Choo had Zaki’s charge well held. It will depend on which Rodeo Dandy and Valberg turn up on the day.