Highveld raiders out to upstage Sommerlied in Kenilworth race
Highveld trainers Mike de Kock, Sean Tarry and Grant Maroun are to raid the Cape on Saturday for the SW Security Systems Southern Cross Stakes at Kenilworth hoping to upset Dennis Drier’s speedster Sommerlied.
Unbeaten in her past three outings, it is no surprise that bookmakers have the Drier inmate as the 33-10 favourite, but they may be taking a chance offering De Kock’s Aussie-bred filly Shufoog at 15-2. De Kock has never rated his geese as swans and he predicted a big future for the daughter of Star Witness after she had come home lonely in a maiden event at Turffontein. Anthony Delpech rode the filly, but Callan Murray will be in the saddle on Saturday.
Sean Tarry, successful with Legal Eagle last weekend, relies on Green Plains in this grade2 contest with MJ Byleveld, who does not ride many horses for the trainer, in the irons.
Grant Maroun’s duo of Wrecking Ball and Queen Laurie complete the highveld contingent and the first-named could earn a place cheque if producing her best form.
Just Sensual, quoted at the same odds as Shufoog, is a strong runner for the home side although most pundits expect her to have to play second fiddle to Sommerlied.
The Vaal hosts a 10-race card on Saturday and trainer Geoff Woodruff has a chance of saddling a treble with Miss Bulsara (sixth race), Ali Bon Dubai (seventh) and Secret Potion in the final race of the day. Africa’s Sky could be a winner for Piere Strydom in the fourth and De Kock’s Royal Crusade should go close in the first leg of the jackpot.
While Ali Bon Dubai is not one to risk the rent money on, Gavin Lerena fans could be in the payout queue if taking the double of Miss Bulsara and Secret Potion.
Some of the world’s best horses will be in action at Sha-Tin racecourse on Sunday with the $2.3m Hong Kong Vase (off at 8am SA time) of particular interest for local racing fans as Met heroine Smart Call is one of the runners. However, Smart Call will do well to find a place, with one of her opponents being a stalwart of Aidan O’Brien’s stable, Highland Reel. He is now Europe’s all-time leading money earner and his trainer has hinted it may be his final race.
If it is jockey Seamie Heffernan — one of the international team who rode in SA in November — expect the winner of the 2016 Breeders Cup Turf to be tough to beat.
"He’s an iron horse, it’s great to be around him. He’s uncomplicated, genuine and has a great will to win," Heffernan said.
Even so, it would be no surprise to see France take top honours in the Vase — possibly with Andre Fabre’s recent Breeders Cup Turf winner, Talismanic. His chance has been enhanced by drawing pole position whereas Smart Call will jump from stall 11 in the 12-runner field. The ante-post favourite is the Japanese St Leger winner Kiseki but he will have to undergo a vet check on Saturday after it emerged he had shown signs of ringworm.