Gavin Lerena to get Sharapova into winner’s enclosure
De Kock's charge has not finished outside the first three.
It must be frustrating to have a runner who is clearly not short on talent yet battles to get into the winner’s box.
Sharapova is one of those. Beautifully bred, ultra-consistent, does not run a bad race yet just struggles to get her nose down where it matters most.
Mike de Kock’s charge has run eight times for one win, five seconds and two thirds so if you have repeatedly been waiting for the elusive second victory and been placing a Win bet on the four-year-old daughter of Querari, you would be heading towards the poorhouse.
However, if you’ve been backing her to place or taking Swingers, Exactas and Trifectas with her, while you might not be collecting large amounts, you would have been spending a lot of time in the payout queue. She returns to Turffontein on Tuesday to contest Race 6, a MR 78 Handicap for fillies and mares over 1600m on the Standside track, and hopefully she can provide the connections with a second victory.
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Looking at her form, the Turffontein Standside track has seen some of her best performances because although she has not won on the course, she has run second on all three occasions. Unfortunately, as a result of her consistency, her merit rating has remained unchanged, and she will once again have to give weight to all her rivals.
She gets a new jockey this time and hopefully Gavin Lerena will be able to get the job done.
Interestingly, her three-year-old half-sister, Gimme A Nother, is unbeaten in three starts and last week scored her first feature-race success when she captured the Grade 3 Betway Fillies Mile over the same course and distance that Sharapova competes on Tuesday.
The obvious danger looks to be Radu. Sean Tarry has his yard in good nick at the moment and this four-year-old daughter of Rabada comes off a win over this course and distance. She is a two-time winner, both of which had Piere Strydom in the irons, and he is back to ride her once again.
Sweet Basil could be anything. The Stuart Pettigrew-trained filly has only run twice, winning on debut as a juvenile in a Maiden Plate for fillies and mares over 1400m in May and then coming back following a six-month break to finish a 1.20-length second behind Back To The Future. Hopefully she will come on for the run but the engagement of Richard Fourie for the ride speaks volume and she needs to be included in bets.
One Religion only won her maiden last time, but she was the talk of the day and duly arrived. That race was over this course and distance and the result was never in doubt. That race was her first over 1600m and clearly, she has been looking for the extra distance.
She will get 6kg from Sharapova and has Muzi Yeni, who just comes off his triumph in the Grade 1 Betway Summer Cup aboard Royal Victory, in the irons.