Liege has most appeal in the Victory Moon Stakes
The Azzie stable has made a sensational start to November, winning the Charity Mile with Hat Puntano, and it could get even better if Triple Crown hero Abashari runs well in Thursday night’s R400,000 Victory Moon Stakes at Turffontein.
Abashari is the ruling 7-1 favourite for the Sansui Summer Cup on November 25.
The five-year-old Go Deputy gelding is burdened with top-weight of 62kg and surely faces a task in conceding 8kg to last season’s Victory Moon runner-up, Liege. At his odds of 12-1, the Sean Tarry inmate makes more appeal for the Cup.
A son of Dynasty raced by Chris van Niekerk and Marcus Jooste, Liege will be sharper following his outing behind Brazuca, and S’manga Khumalo will jump from a favourable draw in Thursday’s grade3 event.
Tarry also saddles Matador Man and the booking of Anton Marcus, who rode the gelding in last season’s KwaZulu-Natal Guineas, is a plus for his chance. Nevertheless, his merit rating of 112 seems high — he received a 12-point hike for running third in a not overly strong Champions Cup in July.
Matador Man has to give lumps of weight to Liege and Fort Ember, who is arguably the best horse in Paul Peter’s stable. The mare, the mount of Gavin Lerena, beat a top performer in Nightingale in the Gold Bracelet on her penultimate start.
Anthony Delpech has been booting home the winners for Mike de Kock and resumes his partnership with the stable’s
Silvano filly Orchid Island. The four-year-old is a must inclusion in all exotic bets.
At the bottom of the weights, two runners with light masses, Coral Fever and Samurai Blade, could prove to be competitive. The former won the Jubilee Handicap over this course and distance in June and has never carried as little as 51kg.
The selection is Liege to boost his Summer Cup prospects by beating Fort Ember, Coral Fever and Orchid Island.
Tarry and Khumalo also have a good chance of capturing the other feature on the night — the Gardenia Stakes over 1,000m — with Exquisite Touch. The daughter of Var is bidding to land a four-timer and her merit rating of 106 suggests this contest should be win number six. Rivals that could give the favourite some cheek, include Wrecking Ball, Kissable and Jameson Girl.
Kissable has something to prove as she launched her career with two impressive performances but has failed to get competitive in her last two outings. It would be foolish to overlook her chance given what trainer Paul Matchett achieved last term with another speedy female, Brave Mary.
If Nother Russia is anywhere near peak fitness, the De Kock inmate will be tough to beat in the 1,400m fifth race. Even so, Secret Star has enjoyed a profitable year for Stuart Pettigrew and the filly is chasing her fourth win of the year.
Safe Harbour had some supporters in the Durban July but beat home only one rival. She is best watched on her seasonal bow and looks unlikely to beat Nother Russia and Secret Star.
Trainer Joe Soma and jockey Anton Marcus teamed up to win two races last Saturday and Full Of Attitude could be another winner for this duo in the second race. The son of Greys Inn may have most to fear from Alec Laird’s Captain Al colt, Mooney.
The final leg of the Pick 6 is a nightmare for punters, with at least half the field of 16 runners having chances. Gunter Wrogemann may be able to get a good performance from Twelve Oaks who is back in a handicap.
The Azzie yard is likely to fancy the consistent Madam Secretary and other possible winners include High Seas Beauty, Awaafy, Ice Art, Sun Sentinel and Last Girl Standing.