Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Ahead of last Sunday’s $2.3m Hong Kong Derby at Sha-Tin, the news former champion South African trainer Tony Millard did not want to hear was that the world’s best jockey, Ryan Moore, was flying from the UK to ride in the race.

Singapore Sling, a horse formerly trained in SA by Millard’s brother-in-law Geoff Woodruff, has excelled in the former British colony and was the choice of many pundits to win the grade1 race.

Unfortunately for Millard and Singapore Sling’s backers, Moore was once again at the top of his game, bringing 4-1 chance Ping Hai Star from last to first to give trainer John Size his third Derby success.

"He’s a very talented horse. I had fun riding him today," Moore said after the race.

Singapore Sling, winner of the Investec Dingaans in SA before being sold to Hong Kong, still earned a large cheque by running second and Drakenstein Stud, which bred the son of Philanthropist, will be happy with his performance.

In a few months’ time, Millard will have another South African star in his care as recent Gauteng Guineas winner Monks Hood has been bought by one of his patrons. Trainer Alistair Gordon did an excellent job with the three-year-old, who raided Gauteng twice to win the Dingaans and Guineas.

Champion jockey Anthony Delpech, who rode Monks Hood to his two big wins, travels to the Vaal on Tuesday for just three rides. The pick of the trio could be Our Shining Star, who runs in the sixth race over 2,000m.

This Silvano filly from Stanley Ferreira’s stable ran fourth over 1,500m last time out and will appreciate this longer trip. Her main rivals are likely to be Angelic and Piere Strydom’s mount Gottalottaluv.

Gavin Lerena, who rides Angelic, has six booked rides at the meeting and he should win the third race on the favourite, That’s Life.

Johan Janse van Vuuren has his team in good form and he will be expecting the son of Var to leave the maiden ranks.

Mike de Kock’s Western Winter filly Oh My Darling looks like another promising ride for Delpech in the seventh race, but preference is for Woodruff’s well-bred filly Red Ridge.

Due to knee problems, the four-year-old has only contested five races, but she is a two-time winner and is set to receive 2kg from Oh My Darling on Tuesday.

Another Van Vuuren runner Regal Graduation has to be included on the shortlist of possible winners as she is chasing a hat-trick. The three-year-old is out of a Fort Wood mare so this longer distance should hold no fears for her.

Sean Tarry’s three-year-old Helios is the likely favourite in the eighth race, but an each-way bet on Lucky Houdalakis’s Aussie import Huyssteen could reward punters. He was out of his depth in the recent Tony Ruffel Stakes and should go well back in handicap company.

Stuart Pettigrew saddles Post Grad in this 1,500m contest and the six-year-old has hinted that another win is close with two second placings at Turffontein. The gelding should go well in the hands of his regular jockey, Gunter Wrogemann.

The market will be the best guide to De Kock’s newcomer Nawaasi in the second race. Bourbon Bouquet and Jaunita boast the best form.