Jockey Anthony Delpech, who turned 49 three weeks ago, will hope for a belated birthday present by winning one, or both, of the two Guineas races at Turffontein on Saturday.
His best chance may be with Mike de Kock’s Fish River in the Wilgerbosdrift Fillies Guineas.
In the Gauteng Guineas, Delpech teams up with Alistair Gordon’s KwaZulu-Natal raider Monks Hood, 6-1 behind Majestic Mambo and Surcharge.
It is a big day for Paul Peter, who saddles Majestic Mambo (Gunter Wrogemann) in the Gauteng Guineas and Folk Dance (Gavin Lerena) in the Fillies Guineas.
Folk Dance has earned her position as co-favourite but this is not a two-horse affair as there has been sustained interest in Aussie import Radiant Splendour, who has shortened to 11-2 from twice those odds.
Now owned by Barry Irwin’s Team Valor, Radiant Splendour won cosily at Turffontein at the end of January and Gary Alexander’s filly seems to be improving with every run.
For the unbeaten Majestic Mambo, this is the big test and waiting to end his run are three talented sorts in Surcharge, Monks Hood and Greek Fire.
Surcharge has a wide draw but Piere Strydom can nullify this disadvantage. The colt’s trainer, Stuart Pettigrew, rates him highly, so a big run is likely.
Michael Azzie knows all about winning the Triple Crown — Abashiri was the darling of punters two years ago — and there is a suspicion he has a horse on the upgrade in Dynasty colt Greek Fire. This R3m buy’s latest effort suggested he might be peaking at the right time.
Some pundits feel that Sean Tarry’s Big Bear is overpriced at 14-1 and it might be unwise to leave him out of trifectas.
In the Guineas this column is going to side with Greek Fire ahead of Surcharge and Majestic Mambo and in the Fillies Guineas Delpech can delight Highlands Stud by taking top honours on Fish River.
There are several intriguing races on the 12-race card and Cape jockey Grant van Niekerk — hero of the Sun Met — has attractive mounts in the Hawaii Stakes (race 6), Acacia Handicap (race 7) and Aquanaut Handicap (race 10). In the grade2 Hawaii, Van Niekerk will ride Matador Man for Tarry and the son of Toreador could serve it up to this column’s top choices, She’s A Giver (Randall Simons) and Kangaroo Jack (Strydom).
In the 1,600m Acacia Handicap Van Niekerk can take a hand in the finish on the lightly weighted Sylvan On Fire. Her rivals include Redberry Lane (Lyle Hewitson) and Sabina’s Dynasty (Muzi Yeni).
In the 2,400m Aquanaut Handicap (race 10), Tarry has booked Van Niekerk to ride his stayer Witchcraft, who looks ready for another win.
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