Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Breeders based in KwaZulu-Natal will be staging their annual black-and-white-themed race day at Greyville on Saturday, a curtain-raiser to next week’s Vodacom Durban July.

The day is being held exclusively for horses registered with the KZN Breeders Premium Scheme and incorporates the KZN Breeders Series of eight races for a stake of R200,000 each, and the KZN Breeders Million Mile, worth R1m. The supporting races, all run on Greyville’s polytrack, are open to horses countrywide whose credentials meet the criteria of "KZN-bred", as prescribed by the rules of the scheme.

The result has been quite fascinating as colts, fillies, mares and geldings of all racing ages and merit ratings have been assembled in every contest on the programme to present one of the most challenging form conundrums in 2018.

The smart Matador Man had been carded to run in the Million Mile and was going to start a short-priced favourite, but he was scratched after being confirmed as a July runner, which leaves the race up for the taking.

Trainer Paul Lafferty was excited on Thursday about the chances of his runner, The Bayou, quoted at 25-1.

"This is a good horse, we’ve always liked him and we’re throwing him in the deep end, in the Million Mile. We brought him back in a barrier trial recently and he ran well, then he raced in a 1,400m contest at Scottsville, where he finished fourth despite being all at sea," he said.

"We had two options going into this race: gelding him or racing him with blinkers fitted. We’ll be trying the latter, he has been showing good work with blinkers on, he seems to be focusing better."

Another highly regarded runner is Wendy Whitehead’s sprinter, Hard To Play (race 4), who also inspires a good measure of confidence.