Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Bernard Fayd’Herbe, who has ridden in more countries than most people have visited, makes a rare appearance at the Vaal on Thursday to partner two favourites for the powerful stable of Mike De Kock.

The 36-year-old Fayd’Herbe, best known for his partnership with Pocket Power whom he rode 33 times, is the grandson of Tiger Wright and has kept the family flag flying with numerous big-race successes.

His most recent major win came on Marinaresco in the 2017 Vodacom Durban July, but his CV also includes a victory on JJ The Jet Plane in the 2011 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai and a third placing on Neil Bruss’s runner Paris Perfect in the Dubai World Cup in 2009.

Fayd’Herbe is no stranger to riding for the De Kock team and he was in Dubai in 2017 when he was booked for Fawree — a difficult customer at the starting gate — in the UAE Derby.

If bookies have got their sums right, Fayd’Herbe should win Thursday’s opening event on De Kock’s two-year-old colt Barahin. The youngster made a pleasing debut and is a hot favourite at 9-20.

The second favourite in early betting is the Azzie stable newcomer Whitehaven, so punters will need to check if there is any sustained support for this debutante.

The other horse whom Fayd’Herbe is riding for De Kock is the four-year-old filly Fragrant Miss, who carries top-weight in the sixth race.

This event will be harder to win as the opposition includes Virginia Moon, Sweet Pleasures and Ficticious.

In the betting market, Fragrant Miss tops the boards at 15-4 ahead of Virginia Moon (5-1) and Sweet Pleasures who is on offer at 6-1.

Seven Lives, a stablemate of Virginia Moon, makes some each-way appeal in the seventh race although narrow preference is for Brightnumberten who finished second over 1,000m at the Vaal in her most recent outing.

Others with claims in this final leg of the jackpot are Queen Laurie and evergreen Greasepaint who is still paying his way and has picked up a place cheque in each of his last three appearances.

Perhaps the next best bet at the meeting after Barahin is Tia who represents the stable of Johan Janse van Vuuren in the fifth race. Lyle Hewitson’s mount won her maiden race in good style and may be up to beating seasoned campaigners such as Gold Shades, Ossetra and Melinda’s Garden.

Young Dylan Lerena looks good value for his 4kg apprentice claim and trainer Coenie De Beer was impressed with the way he delivered Gold Shades with a sustained run to gain the advantage in the closing stages.

Not surprisingly, Lerena has retained the ride but Gold Shades faces a tougher task this time and might have to settle for a minor placing behind Hewitson who is long odds-on to win his first jockeys’ championship.

Trainer Leon Erasmus has booked Lerena to partner one of his runners He’s Great in the final race on the card. While the form book puts this one on the shortlist of possible winners it looks significant that Sherman Brown prefers stable companion Supanova.

Keyboogie, whom Randall Simons rides for the Van Vuuren yard, and Western Shamrock are two other runners that warrant inclusion in Pick6 perms although the Erasmus coupling may suffice in the place accumulator.

Meanwhile, on the Durban July front there have been three withdrawals from the original 69 entries with Silvan Star scratched by Glen Kotzen, Dean Kannemeyer taking out Silva’s Bullet and Dennis Drier withdrawing his filly Lady In Black.

Three supplementary entries for the big race on July 7 are Fiorella (Duncan Howells), Flichity By Farr (Alyson Wright) and Rocket Countdown (Candice Bass-Robinson).