Picture: SUPPLIED
Picture: SUPPLIED

For 17 year-old apprentice Luke Ferraris these are both worrying and exciting times: worry about his parents’ safety in Hong Kong and excitement about the possibility of a big-race win at Turffontein on Saturday.

Ferraris’s father David has been a successful trainer in Hong Kong since moving to the former British colony in 2004 and will be delighted his son is getting good mounts for champion trainer Sean Tarry.

In Saturday’s grade 2 Joburg Spring Fillies & Mares Challenge, Ferraris teams up with three-year-old filly Sidonie who slaughtered her opposition on her debut at the city track 12 days ago.

That performance has persuaded Tarry to take on talented older horses such as Vistula and Cascapedia, yet this 1,450m race is run at weight-for-age so Sidonie — a girl’s name of French and Latin origin — will carry only 51kg.

It is possible that Sidonie’s stablemate Spiritofthegroove could emerge as a big threat as the Visionaire filly enjoyed a successful first season and will have benefited from her recent outing over 1,200m.

Paul Peter has been a thorn in bookies’ sides for some months, which is probably why they have marked up his runner Vistula as the ante-post favourite. With four wins in her past five starts, it is a position the four-year-old has earned.

Peter is sure to be a little concerned that Vistula has a wide draw — in contrast Sidonie will jump from pole position — but the filly looks sure to go well in the hands of this season's leading jockey Warren Kennedy.

Cascapedia, who won this race in 2018, cannot be discounted despite the steadier of 60kg and the worst draw, but it is likely to prove tough conceding 9kg to the three-year-olds.

Mike de Kock also runs Gin Fizz, who competed in some top juvenile races last term. The daughter of Soft Falling Rain is trying 1,450m for the first time.

Ferraris has another attractive ride for Tarry when he partners another three-year-old Putontheredlight in the grade 2 Joburg Spring Challenge. The son of Pomodoro ran unplaced in the Premier’s Challenge at the end of last season, but it was Tarry’s opinion that he would flourish into a top performer as a three-year-old.

Putontheredlight has a tough task on his hands to earn the R218,750 winner’s cheque as waiting to take him on is De Kock’s highly rated import Buffalo Bill Cody. The son of Redoute’s Choice was heavily backed to win the Champions Cup at Greyville at the end of July, but had to settle for fifth behind Sun Met victor Rainbow Bridge.

A good performance in Saturday’s grade 2 contest will result in Buffalo Bill Cody cementing his position as a leading contender for the Gauteng Summer Cup on November 30.

Leading owner Chris van Niekerk has another string to his bow in Putontheredlight’s stablemate Chimichuri Run. The Trippi colt has already earned back his purchase price of R1.1m.

S’manga Khumalo is gradually moving up in the jockeys’ log and he can add to his seasonal tally when he rides Thunderjet for trainer Alec Laird in the second race. Though a wide draw complicates matters for the son of Marchfield, there was plenty to like about the gelding’s debut run in August when he was beaten in a photo-finish.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: (14) Wallaa (2) God Of Thunder (3) Gunner Runner (4) Rock Manor

2nd Race: (14) Thunderjet (13) Spero Optima (2) Left Hook (11) Master Daniel

3rd Race: (5) Emily Hobhouse (8) Jacko Boy (7) Circle Of Latitude (2) Pretty Border

4th Race: (5) Itsmydarlin (4) Big Myth (9) Laat Lammetjie (6) Perfect Light

5th Race: (2) Baron Rodney (4) Brigtnumberten (5) Pidgeon Rock (6) Ssnoop

6th Race: (14) Sidonie (12) Spiritofthegroove (8) Vistula (1) Cascapedia

7th Race: (4) Buffalo Bill Cody (12) Putontheredlight (2) Chimichuri Run (3) Zouaves

8th Race: (9) Oceania (4) Jetorio (5) Just Kidding (6) Kirkconnel Lass

9th Race: (5) Black Ferrari (10) Ufo (4) Annatjie (2) Golden Spiral