Hat Pitano aims to relive glory of Charity Mile
If SA had an honours list — similar to the Queen’s awards in the UK at New Year — Bob Yearham would probably already be a recipient.
The COO of Peermont Emperors Palace, Yearham has been at the forefront of raising money for charities for many years. Not only through his hotel functions, but also through his involvement with one of his passions horse racing.
Yearham, who began his career with Ladbrokes in the UK in 1979, can now boast close to four decades of working in the gaming industry.
On Wednesday Yearham oversaw the draw for one of SA’s most popular races - the Peermont Emperors Charity Mile — scheduled for Turffontein on November 3.
"This has become a foundation event for us, we put our heart and soul into this race. The money goes to great causes," said Yearham.
The Charity Mile pares 16 horses with a celebrity with 16 charities all benefiting. The charity drawn with the winning horse receives R150,000 and the runner-up R100,000.
Several top trainers — including Sean Tarry and Mike Azzie — were present at the draw at the Emperors Palace complex and both were reasonably happy with their barrier positions.
Argentinian-bred Hat Pitano — winner of this race 12 months ago — drew stall nine and Mike Azzie said there was a
possibility that his charge would be ridden by one of SA’s top jockeys Gavin Lerena.
"I've got to be pretty happy with his [barrier] position - he could come in a place or two," said Azzie.
While trainer Sean Tarry has yet to finalise jockey arrangements, he said his runners, who include Tilbury Fort and Social Order, would "all be competiitve". Social Order has drawn in pole position.
"In my opinion Noble Secret may be the horse to beat," said Tarry. Matthew de Kock, assistant to his famous father Mike, was ecstatic when owner Costa Livanos’s horse drew stall four.
There was no luck in the draw for Champions Challenge victor Coral Fever, who drew gate 17 nor the improving Infamous Fox who was allotted barrier 16.
The Vaal hosts its second meeting of the week on Thurday and it is worth noting Piere Strydom is booked for three rides for trainer Coenie de Beer.
Now in the twilight of his career, Strydom can pick his rides. This is evident by the fact that in the first 10 weeks of the season he has ridden in only 73 races. However, he has notched up 14 winners and could add to that total on his five mounts on Thurday.