Robert Garner
3 minute read
28 Nov 2015
12:01 pm

Summer Cup sizzler

Robert Garner

Most pundits agree today’s is the most competitive Summer Cup field in years.

The support for Master Sabina to win today’s R2-million Gauteng Sansui Summer Cup over 2 000 metres at Turffontein is gathering momentum and the gelding is now outright fourth favourite at 8/1.

The Cup is not only Joburg’s premier horseracing event, it’s also one of the biggest betting days on the continent. Nearly R50 million will be wagered on the tote (TAB) and even more with fixed-operators, who will be miserable for days if Master Sabina wins.

A likely TAB Pick 6 pool of over R5 million on the meeting and a R2-million Quartet pool on the Cup are driving excitement around the day to amazing highs. Both pools start with massive carryovers, which guarantee good-value payouts.

Master Sabina was freely available at 14/1 little more than a week ago, but his odds have dropped steadily as horseplayers have plunged more and more cash onto him.

Long-time favourite French Navy is continuing to attract steady support, but is being pushed out in the betting as a result of the money for Master Sabina. He is now at 4/1 and looking likely to drift further, with this year’s Durban July winner Power King second favourite at 6/1 and Cape challenger St Tropez at 7/1.

It’s going to be a fairytale come to life for owner Michael de Broglio and trainer Geoff Woodruff if Master Sabina does score. He was strongly fancied to win last year’s Cup, but hopes disintegrated into ashes in a split second when he injured a tendon in a workout days before the race.

He didn’t race for 11 months after that as Woodruff patiently nursed him back to racing fitness, and then made a promising comeback in a minor race last month.

Woodruff will also saddle promising four-year-old Deo Juvente and The Captain’s Tune in his bid to win the Cup for the third year in a row. And while he says “I’m happy with my guys” and won’t nominate a stable elect, his preference is clearly for Master Sabina.

“I’m certain he’s 100% his old self – the tendon is cool and straight. He’s certainly got the class,” says Woodruff. Win or lose, Master Sabina will know he has been in a race when the battle is done.

It’s a fiercely competitive line-up, with most pundits agreeing that the field is the best and most competitive for the Cup in years. Cape challenger St Tropez and Turffontein-trained Diesel Jet, who’s taking a steep rise in class, are the others runners attracting significant support, according to corporate bookmaking chain Betting World.

It’s set to be a blockbuster day with a feast of top-drawer racing action that comprises 12 races, of which seven are feature events. And whether you’re into racing or not, you can have the time of your life at the track. Fashion shows, competitions and a celebrity race in aid of SOS Children’s Villages South Africa, which will benefit by over R800 000, will add colour and excitement.

There’s also the Mo-Kini Sprint for men and music from artists such as Cassper Nyovest, Mi Casa and Goodluck, who will continue to play until late into the night at the afterparty. A general admission ticket costs R75 – and it’s going to be a blast!