Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

SA’s version of the Grand National — the R750,000 World Sports Betting Grand Heritage scheduled for the Vaal for September 30 — gives punters a rare opportunity to back their fancy at big odds with a field of 28 horses set to face the starter.

With the Durban season over, August and September are reasonably quiet months on the racing front so the decision to introduce a race that excites racing fans has to be applauded.

The final field for this year’s race has been announced and the openness of the 1,450m charge is evidenced by the fact that only one horse is quoted in single figures in the opening show of betting.

That horse is Elevated — on offer at 7-1 — and it is no surprise he heads the market as he hails from the powerful stable of Mike de Kock and will be ridden by former champion apprentice Callan Murray.

While the majority of the field are horses based on the Highveld, top KwaZulu-Natal trainer Duncan Howells feels it is worth a shot at the rich prize and will send up Secret Captain who is quoted joint second-favourite at 12-1. Keagan De Melo has been booked for the ride.

A runner who makes plenty of appeal is the other second favourite Zouaves, who represents Geoff Woodruff’s stable and has the low weight of 52.5kg. He put his hat firmly in the ring for top honours in the Grand Heritage with a recent facile win at Turffontein.

Howells is not the only raider from another province as Dorrie Sham — a leading trainer in Port Elizabeth — has entered Classify. He is one of eight horses quoted at 14-1, which also includes the top-weight Amazing Strike.

Champion trainer Sean Tarry has a strong hand with Count Tassilo, Donny G, Yankee
Captain and Social Order all possible winners. S’manga Khumalo will ride Count Tassilo and Lyle Hewitson has been booked for Donny G.

The Azzie stable have snapped up Piere Strydom for Arctica. He is another runner quoted at 14-1.

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