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

When jockey Callan Murray decided to cut short his stint in Singapore the 22 year-old cited “better opportunities back home.” 

That decision has proved the right one as he has ridden 45 winners this term and on Saturday has a bright chance of capturing the R2m Gauteng Chris Gerber Summer Cup on Irish-bred filly, Queen Supreme.

The four-year-old is one of a quintet of runners from the powerful Mike de Kock stable. The many-times champion trainer is bidding to win the Cup for the 10th time.

Queen Supreme ticks a lot of boxes as she bids to make it five wins from six starts. She is improving with every run, has a low weight of 52kg and a reasonable draw. She has been the subject of sustained support in the ante-post market.

Soqrat heads the De Kock challenge and — despite easing in the betting — will have big race specialist Anton Marcus in the saddle.

In an exclusive interview with Business Day on Thursday, Marcus said: “There’s no getting away from the fact that he’s got a furlong more to cover than in the [1,800m] Champions Cup. He’s still got to get it.

“In that race I used up a lot of petrol on Soqrat on the turn, but I made that move because they were walking. So you could say he stays 1,800m fine.

“What gives me peace of mind and helps me sleep well at night is the Mike de Kock factor. If he believes he’ll get the trip that’s the important factor.”

Asked if he could pinpoint an outsider in the race, Marcus replied: “I haven’t studied the form closely, but Queen Supreme might just be the best filly in the country. I also think Divine Odyssey could go well as he’s better off at the weights this time with Soqrat.”

Barahin is a horse Marcus knows well and he won the Jubilee Handicap on the Gimmethegreenlight colt in June.

“Of the two, I'm quite happy to be on Soqrat.”

Another Irish-bred runner is Cascapedia who is presumably in her final season before retiring to stud. The mare rates an each-way shout as she is well drawn and was noted running on at the finish of the Charity Mile.

Sean Tarry won his race in 2018 with Tilbury Fort and the six-year-old is back in a bid for a repeat win. The gelding did not run badly last time out, but the pick of Tarry’s quartet could be his low mileage runner Al Mutawakel.

In the final analysis, this column’s selection is Queen Supreme to beat home Soqrat, Al Mutawakel and Divine Odyssey.

The sixth race — the grade 2 Dingaans over 1,600m — looks an intriguing contest and the betting suggests it rests between the top yards of De Kock and Tarry. Bookmaker Lance Michael has reported an avalanche of support for Marshall, which has resulted in Tarry’s runner Eden Roc drifting to 5-1.

That looks a good price about the Var colt who should be cherryripe in his third run after a break. Another with each-way claims is Candice Dawson’s colt Promiseofamaster, who impressed with his recent win over the trip on the Turffontein inside track.

There has been a huge marketing campaign to make the Summer Cup a meeting that should not be missed and a large crowd is expected at the city track.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: (15) Sovereignty (11) Acorn Alley (4) Thandekhile (13) Aztec

2nd Race: (15) Viper Jet (10) Mohican (1) Dogliotti (5) Afraad

3rd Race: (3) Bellagio King (14) Tuscan Light (5) Magic Vision (4) Blue Flute

4th Race: (15) True To Life (5) Pool Party (1) Green Plains (6) Singforafa

5th Race: (10) Wynkelder (7) William The Silent (2) Van Halen (8) Sir Frenchie

6th Race: (1) Eden Roc (2) Frosted Gold (3) Promiseofamaster (10) Marshall

7th Race: (14) Queen Supreme (1) Soqrat (20) Al Mutawakel (7) Divine Odyssey

8th Race: (11) Wisteria Walk (10) Mill Queen (2) Vistula (5) In The Dance

9th Race: (5) Factor Fifty (3) Flichity By Farr (2) Ali Bon Dubai (1) Noble Secret

10th Race: (10) Two Of Us (2) Kings Archer (9) Sell High (8) Jagesa Jagesa

11th Race: (3) Capitiana (9) Phillydelphia (6) Moggie Brown (5) Celestial Fire

12th Race: (12) Seven Seas (7) Always Red (4) Jetorio (3) Green Dragon

SUMMER CUP BETTING

(Supplied by bookmaker Lance Michael)

33-10 Soqrat

15-4 Barahin

6-1 Queen Supreme

13-1 Cascapedia, Al Mutawakel, Roy Had Enough

16-1 Zilzaal, Tilbury Fort

18-1 Atyaab, Divine Odyssey

20-1 Dawn Assault, Green Haze

25-1 Others