In the sports arena, Absa is best known as a local football sponsor but it is probably now checking on races in which Mayfair Speculators horses are still being allowed to compete despite the bank handling the company’s liquidation.
Although Markus Jooste’s two top horses, Legal Eagle and Edict Of Nantes, have both been sold, several talented performers owned by his Mayfair Speculators are competing in big races. They include Dutch Philip, Always In Charge, Barrack Street, Brutal Force and Tevez who will all contest Saturday’s R400,000 Khaya Stables Diadem Stakes at Kenilworth.
Dutch Philip, a three-year-old co-owned by Mayfair, Bryn Ressell and Marsh Shirtliff, appears to have an outstanding chance of beating his 15 rivals and taking the R250,000 first prize. The son of What A Winter will be bidding to land another big race for trainer Candice Bass-Robinson and jockey Aldo Domeyer following their success with another of the same sire’s progeny Magical Wonderland in last weekend’s Cartier Sceptre Stakes.
A R460,000 buy as a yearling, Dutch Philip is taking on his elders in this grade2 event and they include Trip To Heaven who has won seven races. Trainer Sean Tarry has booked Richard Fourie to partner the six-year-old son of Trippi.
Tevez, stable companion of Dutch Philip, races in the same Mayfair, Ressell and Shirtliff partnership, but the gelding is now eight years old and his best days may be behind him.
A bigger threat to Dutch Philip could be Always In Charge — a son of Captain Al wholly owned by Mayfair. The four-year-old was third behind Silicone Valley in December.
Mike de Kock’s Aussie import Mujaafy comes into the picture as he is a lightly raced three-year-old who has won two of his four starts.
Anthony Delpech was in the saddle for both of the colt’s victories and will be back in the saddle on Saturday.
Trip To Paradise’s stablemate Wonderwall might be the joker in the pack with Tarry bringing the son of Querari back to sprinting after his fifth over 1,600m last time out. Greg Cheyne gets the call-up to ride owner Chris van Niekerk’s colt.
The focus of attention in the supporting Kenilworth feature — the Fairview Wines Sophomore Sprint — will be on Dennis
Drier’s three-year-old Sand And Sea who was most impressive in his two starts as a juvenile.
Anton Marcus resumes his partnership with the son of Twice Over. Marcus may find the Brett Crawford duo of Al Mariachi and Bold Respect his toughest opponents. The latter reverts to 1,200m after running unplaced in the Cape Guineas.
Turffontein hosts a nine-race programme on Saturday and Robbie Sage’s Aussie import Greenwood Drive looks the best bet on the card. Owner Colin Bird’s three-year-old was prominent for a long way in the race won by Mutrib at the end of December and can open his account by beating Captain’s Command and Artax.
Artax’s stablemate San Fermin will have his supporters in the R150,000 Swallow Stakes with the Azzie stable’s filly reverting to a sprint distance. Lyle Hewitson, who has been in hot form in recent weeks, has been booked for the ride.
A runner worth backing each-way at long odds is Varsity Girl who notched her second career win over this course and distance before Christmas.
This daughter of Var is a half-sister to Myfunnyvalentine.
Two fillies returning from rests, Winter’s Forge and Tamarina, will be worth a market check as both have shown they are speedy females.