Picture: GETTY IMAGES/IAN FORSYTH
Picture: GETTY IMAGES/IAN FORSYTH

In what has already been a turbulent year for racing, Peermont Emperors Palace COO Bob Yearham has again given the sport a fillip with the stake for the Ready-To-Run Cup at Turffontein on November 2 increased to R1m.

It is great news for owners who bought at the 2018 Ready-to-Run Sale and an incentive to get involved in the sale on November 3.

Yearham, who began his gaming career with Ladbrokes in the UK in 1979 and joined Peermont in 1997, has never flinched in coupling the name of Emperors Palace with top races. A casino backing horse racing might confuse some people, but Yearham is awake to the fact that many big racing punters are also major players at casinos.

Yearham — who co-owns Mount Laurel, who runs in Saturday’s eighth race at Turffontein — said of the prize-money increase, “I have become very familiar with the benefits of the Ready-To-Run concept in our well-established association with the auction and the associated race.”

The race is now on for a place in the final field for the Cup in the first week of November and the latest log is headed by Sean Tarry’s three-year-old Spirit Of The Groove with Roy Magner’s filly Seemyvision in second place.

Magner runs the daughter of Visionaire in Saturday’s seventh race at Turffontein, but the Randjesfontein trainer will be aware his runner faces a tough task with 62kg on her back. She is 7kg out at weight-for-age with Tarry's four-year-old Three Stars.

With the Paul Peter stable on the crest of a wave, their representative, Cattitude, is likely to be sent off favourite. The filly opened her account in August and will receive 6kg from Seemyvision on Saturday.

Trainer Ashley Fortune also sends out a fancied runner in Before The Dawn, and the daughter of Oratorio is chasing a hat-trick after two wins at the Vaal.

Another inmate of the Fortune stable, Black Ferrari, looks to have a good chance of making a winning handicap debut in the eighth race. She won her maiden at the city track at the beginning of September and Muzi Yeni retains the ride.

Trainer Mike de Kock will be disappointed his choicely bred filly Queen Supreme failed to justify favouritism last weekend. Chatting about the race, jockey Callan Murray said: “Nothing went right from the jump — I knew I was in trouble some way from home.”

Punters can recoup those losses in the fourth race where the import is well in at weight-for-age against two talented three-year-olds, Keep Smiling and Way Of The World.

Alec Laird’s mare Green Top is the highest-rated runner in the race, but the five-year-old has not raced since last December and may need the run. Laird has always rated another of his females, Virginia, highly and the four-year-old bids to complete a hat-trick when she takes on eight rivals in the first leg of the jackpot.

This looks a competitive 1,600m handicap with Geoff Woodruff’s runner Emily Hobhouse and Yeni’s mount Abelie both certain to have their supporters.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: No selection

2nd Race: (6) Dancewithadragon (1) Pilgrim’s Progress (5) Jacko Boy (3) Illuminate

3rd Race: (13) Sidonie (10) Flower Season (12) Little Rain (1) Queen Of Soul

4th Race: (4) Queen Supreme (6) Keep Smiling (5) Way Of The World (1) Cordillera

5th Race: (5) Virginia (8) Emily Hobhouse (7) Abelie (1) My Dream Chaser

6th Race: (1) Puget Sound (7) Diamond Dancer (2) Shenanigans (4) Seville Orange

7th Race: (7) Cattitude (2) Three Stars (1) Seemyvision (4) Before The Dawn

8th Race: (2) Black Ferrari (7) Mount Laurel (9) Lady Lucinda (6) Seneca Falls

9th Race: (5) Succession (10) Fitzwilliam (1) The Sands (6) Urban Rock