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Best field yet for R1 million Emerald Cup

The lure of the R1-million stake money on offer has enticed the connections of In A Rush to return to the Vaal in an attempt to complete an Emerald Cup double.

The lure of the R1-million stake money on offer has enticed the connections of In A Rush to return to the Vaal in an attempt to complete an Emerald Cup double. The Grade 2 race will be run on the Vaal sand over 1 450m on Saturday September 27.

The Port Elizabeth-based runner held off top-weight Pylon by 0.75 lengths in his only run at the course, and trainer Gavin Smith decided it could be worth bringing him up to the Highveld once again.

However, he will have his work cut out to beat one of the strongest fields ever assembled for the richest race on sand on the African continent. Last year In A Rush’s jockey, Francois Herholdt, carrying 57kg, was able to make the most of No 1 draw, but on this occasion he will carry 1kg more and will have to contend with barrier No 12.

No 1 draw has gone the way of joint top weight Jet Jamboree, who is likely to go off as the race favourite. The Dominic Zaki-trained runner has won his last three races at the track in facile Fashion. He might be saddled with 60kg but in his last start, beat Uncle Tommy by 1.25 lengths and will be 1.5kg better off when they meet in the Emerald Cup.

Uncle Tommy is joint top weight but trainer Weiho Marwing has another string to his bow in the form of Isobar, narrowly beaten in the Grade 3 August Stakes over 1 200m. Unfortunately he has a wide draw, which is a concern over this course and distance, but Isobar will have the services of Champion Jockey S’manga Khumalo.

Anger, winner of the August Stakes, is one of three runners from the Corne Spies yard, the others being Tommy Gun and All The Bids, who is the second reserve runner. Anger jumps from barrier No 4 with Tommy Gun drawn on his inside. Both have chances on their best form, but Anger needs to prove he stays 1 450m while Tommy Gunn, unbeaten in two runs on the Vaal sand was disappointing when fourth behind Code Red at Flamingo Park last time out.

One of the most interesting runners is the Sean Tarry-trained Whiteline Fever, who has yet to run on the surface, but has performed well against some of the best horses in the country.

The son of Right Approach has contested 18 Grade 1 races and is the winner of two Grade 2 events. Pierre Strydom has the ride and from draw No 2, if Whiteline Fever takes to the sand, he would have to be considered a serious contender.

Charles Laird has Rio Carnival in the line-up, and the Australian-bred gelding is also an unknown quantity on the surface. Like Whiteline Fever, he will have to race off his turf merit rating so the six-time winner could be anything. He jumps from a No 7 draw and has Anton Marcus in the irons.

It’s a great day out for the whole family, super entertainment is on offer and entrance to the event is free. Picnic sites are still available and you can secure your spot by calling 011 681 1702.

One of the highlights on the day is the Emerald Grooms Challenge, which is likely to once again get the strong crowd of 10 000 plus cheering as the brave contestants cross the line. Emerald Resort and Casino have increased the prize money for this exciting challenge to R15 000.00 which shall be shared among the first five past the post.

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