Muzi Yeni. Picture: SUPPLIED
Muzi Yeni. Picture: SUPPLIED

Jockey Muzi Yeni made many punters happy with his victory on Coral Fever in Saturday’s Premier’s Challenge, so his sixth race mount at the Vaal on Thursday, Make Me Happy, is a topical tip to keep the 31-year-old in the winning groove.

Yeni was at his best as he steered trainer Robbie Sage’s five-year-old to a famous victory, but supporters of the favourite, Legal Eagle, were left with empty pockets as Sean Tarry’s champion trailed in eighth. Tarry considers the pace of the race was the reason for the bad run and has stated that his popular charge will now be rested before another tilt at the major Cape races.

Although Nother Russia also failed to get a blow in at Coral Fever, it should be a different story at the Vaal on Thursday with her stablemate Make Me Happy. A daughter of Philanthropist bred at Maine Chance Farms, the three-year-old has won two of her six starts and also been placed three times.

Yeni has been in the saddle for Make Me Happy’s last two outings and the filly only narrowly failed to complete her hat-trick when beaten by Insignis at Turffontein. She is likely to be well backed this afternoon to recoup those losses.

The main threat to Make Me Happy in Thursday’s 1,400m contest is likely to be Piere Strydom’s mount Inyanga. Trained by Mike and Adam Azzie, this Elusive Fort mare has more than paid her way this term although she is finding it hard to find the number one box.

Kentucky Blue, a well-bred daughter of Dynasty, also enters calculations as there was a lot to like about the way she overcame a wide draw to open her account at Turffontein. Raymond Danielson retains the ride on the three-year-old set to receive 4kg from Make Me Happy.

Believe Me, a stable companion of Kentucky Blue, also has place claims in this race as this Silvano filly was reported to be not striding out freely in her latest outing.

Yeni is an interesting booking for the Azzies’ runner Spring Breeze in the fifth race over 1,400m. Judged on her run behind San Fermin in February, there is every chance of this daughter of Querari rewarding each-way support.

The formbook suggests she may battle to beat Dame Kelly and Maple Syrup — the former reverts to a shorter trip after finishing fourth over 1,600m. The three-year-old has been ridden by many top jockeys, including Strydom, Weichong Marwing and Keagan de Melo, but Sherman Brown will be in the irons on Thursday.

Lucky Houdalakis’s runners always demand the utmost respect on his home track and he is double-handed in the seventh race in which he runs two of his three-year-olds, Ninjara and Witch Of The West. Possibly the first named will be the stable elect as she will be partnered by Karl Zechner, who has ridden a lot for Houdalakis this season.

However, it would be unwise to leave Witch Of The West out of exotic perms as this daughter of Gimmethegreenlight, bred at Varsfontein Stud, reverts to fillies handicap company after contesting two feature races. S’manga Khumalo is entrusted with the ride on Thursday.

Tarry will be out to spoil the party for Houdalakis with his Seventh Rock filly Colour Of Light. She has done well for owner Chris van Niekerk this season, winning three of her four starts.

Van Niekerk’s game performer French Nany, unplaced in Saturday’s Premier’s Challenge, has been scratched from the Vodacom Durban July with stablemates Safe Harbour, Silver God and Throng.

Mike de Kock, who trains Make Me Happy, will be looking to Aussie import Firdoas to open her account in the first race.

Punters will need to check the betting market in this race as Tarry introduces a well-bred newcomer in Collateral Beauty, who is a daughter of Captain Al out of a Jet Master mare.