Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

When the buyers list for Wednesday’s CTS Premier Yearling Sale is released, it will be interesting to see if top owner Chris van Niekerk has purchased the half-sister to his grade 2 Golden Slipper winner Desert Rhythm.

There must be a strong possibility, since the yearling — consigned by Klawervlei Stud as agent — is a daughter of his 2012 Durban July winner, Pomodoro.

Desert Rhythm will be the star attraction on Thursday’s eight-race programme at the Vaal with the four-year-old contesting the fifth race in which she clashes with the Azzie stable’s Australian-bred filly San Fermin.

It is probable that Desert Rhythm needed the outing when fourth behind Tamarina at Turffontein and she should go close in the hands of champion jockey Lyle Hewitson.

Although it is fair to say San Fermin has been a difficult filly to catch right, she got her act together at the Vaal and Gavin Lerena retains the ride on the daughter of Charge Forward.

She certainly boasts an eye-catching pedigree coming out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Choice Blend.

Alec Laird has his team in good order and his What A Winter filly Pretty Penny may also have needed the run in the Magnolia Handicap on Summer Cup day. She took home a cheque running fourth behind Geoff Woodruff ’s winner Schippers.

On her best form Pretty Penny would have a chance of top honours in Thursday’s 1,200m contest, but she may be too close in the handicap to both Desert Rhythm and San Fermin.

Sean Tarry and Lyle Hewitson should also go close in the seventh race with Sand Princess, who will be taking a drop in class and jumps from pole position.

The Crusade filly will have most to fear from My Dream Chaser, another of Pomodoro’s progeny. My Dream Chaser hails from the stable of David Nieuwenhuizen who has a strong hand as he also saddles Waity Katie — placed in three of her last four starts — and Work Riders winner Abelie. Another promising mount for Gavin Lerena — 30 winners adrift of Anton Marcus — is New Zealand-bred Empress Valley, who could notch the fourth win of her career in the sixth race.

The Tarry inmate Star Halo goes on the short list of possible winners and the Kahal mare may have bumped a useful sort in Seville Orange in her most recent outing at the Vaal.

John Finlayson is a stalwart supporter of racing and his sprinter Pinnacle Peak did him proud in 2018 and his close second to Legal Eagle at Turffontein in November took his earnings to more than R700,000.

Just what happened next time out when the Querari gelding ran last in the Merchants Handicap only trainer Dorrie Sham will know, but she will be expecting the four-year-old to bounce back in the fourth race.

Sham will be aware that Pinnacle Peak will not find it easy conceding 6kg to recent Vaal winner Billy Silver.

The buyer of Wednesday’s lot 156 — a daughter of Dynasty — will be interested to see how her half-sister Storm Report has fared in the second race.

The daughter of Captain Al made no show on debut and although unlikely to beat Towards The Sun as obvious scope for improvement.


1st Race: (14) Eastern Healer (4) Sunburst (2) Pearl Of Siberia (12) Chief Of State

2nd Race: (20) Towards The Sun (4) Splat The Cat (1) Great Prosperity (19) Storm Report

3rd Race: (10) Power Of Place (3) Seventh Son (13) Sweet Pleasures (7) Roman Evening

4th Race: (8) Billy Silver (1) Pinnacle Peak (4) Exquisite Touch (9) Clever Guy

5th Race: (1) Desert Rhythm (2) San Fermin (4) Pretty Penny (5) Pool Party

6th Race: (3) Empress Valley (4) Star Halo (6) Long Pond (12) Blue Sage

7th Race: (5) Sand Princess (6) My Dream Chaser (2) Waity Katie (3) Oss etra

8th Race: (5) Myrrh (9) Three Dog Night (1) The Honey Badger (8) Adolfo.