Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Jockey Craig Zackey, 23, is sure to be dreaming of big race glory following his call-up by the powerful Mike de Kock stable to ride Like A Panther in Thursday’s R400,000 Victory Moon Stakes at Turffontein.

Zackey’s engagement for the talented Captain Al colt suggests he may be given the ride on the four-year-old in the G-Bets Summer Cup on December 1.

On Thursday evening Zackey finds himself drawn close to the nearby Rand Stadium so he will have to overcome this disadvantage if he is to take top honours in this grade 3 contest.

However, Like A Panther, third in last season’s SA Classic, was most impressive on his recent seasonal bow at the Vaal and looks an attractive antepost wager for the Cup at his current odds of 12-1.

With Randall Simons likely to partner Noble Secret in the Cup, De Kock has also had to find a new pilot for Takingthepeace and has settled on Warren Kennedy, who will be on the Visionaire filly for the first time.

One of the leading fancies on Thursday will be Dawn Assault, who represents the yard of St John Gray. Ironically, Kennedy rode the five-year-old to victory last time out and Simons will be in the saddle this time.

Trainer Sean Tarry has three representatives and — despite the fact Anton Marcus will be on Bulleting Home — the pick of his trio should be the top-weight Leige. Last season’s Summer Cup winner will be sharper following his recent run behind Fort Ember.

Paul Peter, who trains Fort Ember, sends out the Dynasty mare Sabina’s Dynasty, who has more than paid her way this year. The five-year-old is better off at the weights with Dawn Assault compared with their clash in September.

Gambado is being whispered in some quarters as a possible Summer Cup winner. If the four-year-old is to be considered a serious candidate for that race, he will have to run well on Thursday. It is in his favour that he has a low mass and in-form Muzi Yeni in the irons. Perhaps the best way to bet on this 1,800m race is to float Sabina’s Dynasty in the trifecta with Like A Panther, Liege, Gambado, Takingthepeace, Bulleting Home and Dawn Assault. The bet will cost R90.

The supporting feature, the Gardenia Stakes over 1,000m, will find Tarry’s filly Green Plains at the top of bookmakers boards. Her win at this track in October suggests the daughter of Gimmethegreenlight is on course for a successful season.

One runner who could make Green Plains pick up her feet is Dianne Stenger’s filly Covered In Snow. The daughter of Crusade will be at her peak in her third outing this term.

Earlier in the evening, there is a fascinating clash between the top stables of Tarry and De Kock in the second race.

Tarry sends out Redberry Lane, who is chasing a fourtimer, while De Kock runs his Irish-bred mare Cascapedia.

Although Cascapedia probably prefers a longer trip than this 1,600m, Gavin Lerena is sure to get the best out of his mount and punters could be treated to a thrilling finish.

Selections:

1st Race: (5) Byron Bay (4) Fort Carol (1) Master And Man (2) Tommy The Builder

2nd Race: (1) Redberry Lane (2) Cascapedia (3) Safe Harbour (4) Folk Dance

3rd Race: (7) Diamond Dancer (2) Flying Winger (1) Silver God (4) Secret Captain

4th Race: (2) Copper Jay (3) Donny G (5) Pillaroftheearth (6) Great Shaka

5th Race: (7) Ilha Da Varlette (5) Palace Chapel (4) Big Blue Marble (1) Mawsoof

6th Race: (1) Green Plains (6) Covered In Snow (2) Hashtag Strat (8) Wrecking Ball

7th Race: (8) Sabina’s Dynasty (3) Like A Panther (11) Takingthepeace (1) Liege

8th Race: (10) Clever Guy (3) Will Pays (2) Pinnacle Peak (5) Captain’s Causeway.