The performances of four Sansui Summer Cup hopefuls — Abashiri, Brazuca, Liege and Master Switch — will be closely monitored in the eighth race at Turffontein on Saturday.
The quartet all feature in the ante-post market on the Cup with book maker Lance Michael quoting Abashiri at 16-1, Liege at 20-1 and both Master Switch and Brazuca on offer at 25-1.
Unquestionably, the most interesting of this quartet is Triple Crown winner Abashiri, who returns to racing after an absence of 40 weeks.
The Azzie stable inmate has not raced since trailing in last in the Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth in January. Mike and Adam Azzie have kept faith with jockey Karl Zechner, who has ridden the son of Go Deputy in the majority of his races.
It is probable we have not yet seen the best of Liege and the Dynasty gelding — runner-up in last season’s Victory Moon Stakes — will have his odds trimmed for the Cup if he turns in a good effort on Saturday.
Although his third placing in the 2016 Summer Cup is proof of his ability, Master Switch is a moody individual and was never a factor when Anton Marcus rode the Jet Master gelding in the Cup Trial at Greyville in June. Callan Murray has been booked for Saturday’s ride.
Brazuca, an Aussie-bred son of Teofilio, is one of the best horses in Johan Janse van Vuuren’s stable and has earned close to R2m in stakes. It appears his regular pilot, Gavin Lerena, may have lost confidence in the five-year-old as he partners Master Switch’s stablemate Banner Hill.
So the 1,600m race looks a teaser for punters and the safest route may be to side with a horse who has had two outings this term, Shukamisa. Ormond Ferraris’s Silvano gelding has fewer miles on the clock than many of his rivals and has the services of Anthony Delpech.
Best Kept Secret could provide Delpech with another winner in the final leg of the Pick 6. The filly ran a creditable fourth in her post maiden race and can take advantage of a favourable draw to beat Diamond Noir and Sun Sentinel.
Mike de Kock, who trains Best Kept Secret, could also capture the seventh race with his Var filly Only To Win. This is a competitive progress plate in which a number of three-year-olds boast good form, including Let It Flow, Aurelia Cotta, Dame Kelly and Only To Win’s stable companion Silver Thursday.
Another De Kock inmate who will also be ridden by Delpech is Hakeem, who shaped with considerable promise in his three starts as a juvenile. The son of Redoubte’s Choice will be tough to beat if anywhere near his peak.
Flying Free looks the one most likely to take advantage if Hakeem is in need of the run.
Lucky Houdalakis’s filly Annie The Great will appreciate reverting to the minimum trip in the third race. Flowersfromabrookwill be worth a check in the betting market.