Picture: 123RF/LUKAS GOJDA
Picture: 123RF/LUKAS GOJDA

It has been a successful racing year to date for mining entrepreneur Colin Bird and the chair of Jubilee Metals looks to have unearthed another exciting equine prospect in his three-year-old colt Dewali.

Coral Fever blazed the trail for Bird and his partner, Sylvia Vrska, in 2018 with the gelding being voted Highveld Horse of the Season in May as a result of his third placing in the Sansui Summer Cup and victory in the grade1 Premier’s Champions Challenge.

Bird is renowned in racing circles for his shrewd buys and Coral Fever — whose earnings now stand at R3.4m — cost just R130,000 as a yearling. While Bird had to dig a bit deeper to acquire Dewali — a son of Var who cost R325,000 as a yearling — it looks like money well spent as the colt romped home to win his maiden by four lengths at Turffontein in August.

Trainer Robbie Sage has done an outstanding job with Bird’s horses and he is sure to have Dewali in good shape for Saturday’s sixth race at the city track, the Sophomore 1,000, which carries a stake of R135,000.

The scratching of trainer Ashley Fortune’s runner Big Blue Marble makes life easier for Dewali, who will have Muzi Yeni in the saddle. World Sports Betting are being generous quoting Sage’s runner at 13-10 in early betting. The betting firm quotes Fortune’s other runner, Dalai’s Promise, as the 15-10 second favourite, but this looks a cramped price despite her recent maiden win at the Vaal.

Trainer Dorrie Sham’s Topmast rates an each-way chance following his recent second at the Vaal.

Bird will be hoping for an improved performance from Campanella in the first race. The son of Trippi made no show on his debut in March. Perhaps the horse to be with in this opening event is Lucky Houdalakis’s runner Prix Eclips. The gelding is a half-brother to Talktothestars and did not run badly when sixth on his debut at the beginning of September.

Trainer Joey Ramsden is represented by Catkin and Professor Brian in the fifth race. Jockey bookings suggest Catkin, the mount of Piere Strydom, is the pick of the duo, although neither look likely to beat Winter’s Forge who boasts a win and two seconds in her past three outings.

Ashley Fortune runs Mount Keith, with earnings close to R400,000 from three wins in his past four starts.

Geoff Woodruff’s sprinter Schippers is sure to top the betting boards in the first leg of the Pick6. This Var filly is reunited with Gavin Lerena, who partnered her to her maiden win last December. Both Rouge Allure and My Friend Lee are six-time winners, but both finished well behind Schippers three weeks ago and Woodruff’s charge looks a banker bet.

Lerena has six rides at the meeting and should go close on Jameson Girl in the third race, but may have most to fear from Mike de Kock’s Only To Win.

Twelve Oaks was tipped as an interesting outsider in this column a week ago but had to settle for fourth place. Trainer St John Gray’s filly turns out in the seventh race with Lerena in the irons. Get Your Grove On, Kick Butt, Esploratore, Kentucky Blue and Elusive Strike are on the shortlist of possible winners.