The Dominic Zaki-trained runner tops the boards at 5-2 for the Grade 2 race with 6-1 on offer about Whiteline Fever, Shadow Line and Uncle Tommy.
Zaki is perhaps not so quietly confident about the chances of Jet Jamboree who has won all three starts since having been gelded earlier this year. All of those wins were on the Vaal sand and two of them were over the Emerald Cup distance.
The son of Jet Master also has the advantage of jumping from barrier No 1, a vital position over this distance as they start on the bend. He does carry top weight of 60kg along with Uncle Tommy.
“Half the battle is won with a decent draw,” said Zaki at the field announcement last week. “He’s unbeaten since he was gelded and we are expecting a very big run.”
Shadow Line got into the race with an emphatic victory over Brooks-Club in his last start and trainer Scott Kenny believes his charge will not embarrass himself come the big day.
“My first job was to make sure he got into the race but as a result he has gone up from his original weight. But he is a big, strong horse and I’m happy with his draw.
Shadow Line is drawn No 5 and will be ridden by Gunter Wrogemann.
Uncle Tommy loves this course and distance but was soundly beaten by Jet Jamboree last time and will battle to turn that result around, especially as he is 1.5kg worse off. Weichong Marwing will ride and they are carded to jump from barrier No 11.
The unknown factor is Whiteline Fever. Sean Tarry knows there are no guarantees your runner will take to the Vaal sand unless he has proven ability on the surface. It is a gamble but based on Whiteline Fever’s turf record, if the son of Tiger Ridge feels at home, he could be the horse they all have to beat.
He is beautifully drawn at No 2, has Piere Strydom up and is undoubtedly a horse that could threaten Jet Jamboree.
Tommy Gun is unbeaten in two runs at the course and scored a 10.50-lengths victory over Henry Higgins over this distance. However, he disappointed in his last start when a poor fourth at Flamingo Park and that might account for his generous price of 12-1.
“He was off for a long time so we needed to give him an extra run before the Emerald Cup,” said trainer Spies, “but he has come out of that run very well and should be spot on come the Emerald Cup.”
Current betting on the Emerald Cup as supplied by Betting World
5-2 Jet Jamboree
6-1 Shadow Line, Whiteline Fever, Uncle Tommy
10-1 Rio Carnival
12-1 Tommy Gun
14-1 Anger, Brooks-Club
18-1 Killua Castle, Storm Surf
22-1 Across The Ice, In A Rush
25-1 Taptap Makhatini