Mike Moon
Horse racing correspondent
2 minute read
23 Apr 2022
10:37 am

Sparkling Water still bubbling a week later

Mike Moon

Aside from the favourites, there are multiple runners with talent and form to force their way into consideration.

Royal Race Day will be held at Turffontein on Saturday. Picture: Lo Chun Kit / Getty Images

Royal Race Day at Turffontein was postponed for a week due to cats and dogs last weekend, and the entire race card has been transported, as if via a time machine, with remarkably few dropouts.

The major difference is a slightly more cheerful weather forecast, but there is little cause to revisit forecasts for Saturday’s on-turn action.

The field for the Grade 1 headliner, the HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes, is packed with quality. Among the fillies and mares lining up at the 1600m pole are a sprinkling of Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal raiders, adding more intrigue than usual to an event that was originally named after one of the South African turf’s greats and latterly had Benoni’s second-most famous person’s moniker attached.

Trainer Mike de Kock’s four-year-old Sparkling Water is a wonderfully versatile horse. Her biggest triumph to date was in the 2800m Western Cape Stayers (Grade 2) at Kenilworth in late January, but she has also won over 1450m – as recently as last October at Turffontein.

After her Cape Town sojourn, Sparkling Water had a couple of months out of competitive action before stepping out again in the 2000m Colorado King Stakes at the Big T. She probably needed that run, but still put in a good showing in finishing a close third behind smart Second Base.

It is alleged that De Kock might know a thing or two about winning big races at the big city course. With the magic hands of S’Manga Khumalo in assistance, the maestro could steal the thunder from a couple of better-backed opponents.

Those rivals include two erstwhile Cape Town horses recently transplanted to the Highveld: Princess Calla and Zarina. These fillies have matched strides with the very best and carry their connections’ lofty expectations of making a mark on up north.

And there are more runners with talent and form to force their way into consideration. Sprinkles, She’s A Keeper, Mount Laurel, Bold Fortune and Under Your Spell would not be outlandish winners.


1: 8 Vasilikos, 4 Mercantour, 3 Lebanese Pound, 2 Existentialist

2: 4 Blue Waters, 2 Ashanti Sword, 8 Up The Irish, 7 Trentino

3: Eye Of The Prophet, 2 Climate Control, 5 Good Council, 4 Golden Prospect

4: 1 Quest From Afar, 5 Twice A Miracle, 4 Pretty In Pearls, 2 High Flyby

5: 2 Blonde Act, 1 Jaipur Jewel, 3 Mcebisi, 8 Portfirio

6: 4 Paisley Park, 5 Imperial Master, 1 Golden Pheasant, 3 Green Haze

7: 8 Quiet Rebellion, 4 Un Deux Trois, 2 Opera Glass, 9 Aryaam

8: 4 Sparkling Water, 2 Zarina, 1 Princess Calla, 12 Sprinkles

9: 1 JP Two Thousand, 3 Written In Stone, 5 Icy Night, 2 Tiger In The Sun

10: 1 Permesso Avanti, 3 Picture Perfect, 2 Vegas Hi Rise, 4 Twice As Splendid

Pick 6: 1,4,5 x 1,2 x 1,3,4,5 x 2,4,8,9 x 1,2,4,5,6,11,12 x 1,3,5 (R2016)

PA: 2,3 x 1,5 x 2 x 4,5 x 2,4,8 x 1,2,4 x 1,3 (R144)