The Gold Cup Festival Of Racing, which is the final major meetings of the season, is run at Greyville on Saturday and Sunday, after which we will know all of the champions and Equus Award contenders.
Some of the winners have already been determined and among them is that of Champion Trainer which for the third successive year goes to record-breaking Sean Tarry who is just going from strength to strength.
Also well done to Anthony Delpech who has also wrapped up his third Champion Jockeys’ title. One must remember these championships are not decided by just one meeting but for consistency throughout the year. There were some hard-luck stories which affected the outcome of the jockeys’ championships but Anthony Delpech was also off for a while with a broken collar bone.
Gavin Lerena led the championship a couple of months back but then made a sacrifice in the interest of his career and headed off to the UK for a couple of months. Greg Cheyne was another who was in contention but suffered an injury.
For myself I’ve been off during the season and I am just happy there was nothing major going wrong, just niggling injuries that have come to bug me while I’m riding.
I have not ridden since the Durban July meeting but I am back at the Vaal on Thursday, getting ready for the big weekend, when I will be riding at both meetings.
There are some feature races for which the fields have been declared already. There look to be some outstanding bets on the cards so keep an eye on this column next week.
Racing is on the Inside track at Turffontein today and we kick off with a Juvenile Plate. My first selection is Full Mast, who won his only start, and he has some form to back him up. His danger is probably the Devin Little coupling of Mambo Symphony and Franco.
Race 2 is a Maiden Plate for fillies and mares and the right horse looks to be Queen Anne. She’s drawn well, has lots of speed and is ideally suited to this track. In saying that she has had many chances so for the BiPot include Beautiful Emmilee.
Race 3 is for maidens and is over 2600m. These horses have had many opportunities to win a race and form shows they are very close to one another in ability. Therefore, include as many as you possibly can in the BiPot and Place Accumulator.
The ones I suggest are Sunset Boy, Phumaphambili, Miesque’s Rumba, Discoveror and one of the two fillies in the race, Island Legend.
Race 4 is another maiden for fillies and mares and none of them has form to write home about. For the PA put in Kings Creek, Wild Lady and The Gardner Girl and for the Pick 6 if you look past them then consider the field.
Race 5 is another race for fillies and mares but this time it’s a handicap. These races can be quite tricky but this time I’ve managed to cut it down to two horse. However, as we need to go light somewhere you could consider banking September Bloom.
Silken is the obvious danger but the reason I’m leading to September Bloom, even though Silken has beaten her, is because this time she has a good draw and when I rode Silken she took a while to get going and therefore the short straight may not be in her favour.
As a result, banker September Bloom in all bets.
Race 6 is a handicap over 1000m and having a lower draw has to be an advantage on this course. Many of these horses have similar form so consider, by taking the draws into account, Chief Sioux, Manx Park and Le Tigre.
The unknown horse is Duke Nukem who unfortunately has a bad draw. But he has been running against a better quality of opposition and therefore needs to be included in the PA along with the other two.
For the Pick 6 also consider Magic, Gun Fighter and Roman Evening.
Race 7 is another handicap and only three horse can possibly win this race – Dan The Lad, Hieronymus and Pilou. My first choice is Dan The Lad who finished second last time out behind Sporting Monarch who just happened to win again during the week. Hieronymus has decent form with his only two bad runs coming when he was reported to be coughing. Pilou has improved with gelding and may have been unlucky last time when baulked at a vital stage of the race.
So for the PA go with Dan The Lad and Pilou and put all three for into the Pick 6.
Race 8 is another fillies’ handicap but my first choice is Penny Serenade. She has run against stronger opposition than this but has yet to win over this distance. Therefore, include The Smell Of Rain and Shatoosh. They should be good enough for the PA but for the Pick 6 consider Seattle Tango, All Over The World and Knysna Rose.
Race 9 is yet another fillies handicap and that makes the card very difficult today. For the Place Accumulator and Pick 6 include all of Dalaal, Blueberry Pie, Silvery Dream and Sammi Moosa.