Picture: REUTERS / PAUL CHILDS
Picture: REUTERS / PAUL CHILDS

Just when punters were considering phoning their bank managers for a loan to back Oh Susanna in Saturday’s Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes at Turffontein, a statement from the Snaith stable has demanded a rethink.

To their credit — and without prompting from the media — the Snaith team are very transparent about their horses to racing fans.

Regarding Equus Horse of the Year Oh Susanna, Jonathan Snaith said: “Punters need to caution and tread lightly. The factors against her are the altitude and the fact [that] she is coming off a rest and a mile is short of her best.”

This statement has not swayed bookies to lengthen the price of the favourite with 13-10 the general price on Thursday. However, what it has done is to make this column look elsewhere in this prestigious grade 1 contest in which Benoni-bred Princess Charlene of Monaco, who arrived here earlier this week, will present the trophies.

Sean Tarry is blazing the trail at the top of the trainers log and his runner, Celtic Sea, appeals as an each-way bet at her current odds of 7-1.

A daughter of Captain Al, Celtic Sea has won her past three starts and her third behind Najaayes in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas is proof she can compete with the best females in the country.

Although Nafaayes has done this column proud this term, Mike de Kock’s Aussie-bred filly now has a wide draw to overcome. She has been drawn favourably in both her starts in 2019.

In contrast, Nafaayes’ stablemate, Cascapedia, has drawn in barrier two and should go well in the hands of her regular pilot, Gavin Lerena. The one concern is that the Irish-bred mare invariably finds one or two to beat her in big races.

Fresnaye looks held by Oh Susanna on their running in the Paddock Stakes in January, but blinkers are fitted on Thursday, which could sharpen up the daughter of Western Winter.

Whatever his fate on Oh Susanna, Richard Fourie should not return home empty-handed as he has a number of promising rides including Comaneci (fifth race), My Dream Chaser (sixth) and Powered Beauty in the final leg of the Pick 6.

Comaneci, a daughter of Gimmethegreenlight trained by Joe Soma, is likely to be well backed to register her second win and the three-year-old may have most to fear from Paul Peter’s facile maiden winner, Algebra.

There are two maiden races carrying stakes of R250,000 and owner Michael Javett has a strong chance of picking up the winner’s cheque in the fourth race courtesy of his well-bred juvenile, Tree Tumbo.

While the Silvano colt is taking on his elders and not well in at weight-for-age, there was a lot to like about his recent debut run. He will hopefully fare better than his brother, Carbon Atom, who failed to shape at Greyville last weekend.

Others to consider in this first leg of the Pick 6 are Setablaze, Captain Flynt and De Kock’s trio of Stockbridge, Lasair and Glacier Girl.

Weiho Marwing’s stable is on a high following their SA Derby triumph and Aussie-bred four-year-old, Powered Beauty, has strong form claims in the ninth race. Nonetheless — as this writer owns a leg — the hope is that Fire And Rescue will notch his third win from his past four starts.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: (4) True To Life (6) Blessed Rain (1) League Of Her Own (7) Dark Duchess

2nd Race: (3) Zilzaal (4) Epic Dream (2) Chariot Of Gold (1) Master Magic

3rd Race: (3) Josi De Nero (1) Eskimo Kisses (2) Urban Oasis (4) Varquera

4th Race: (16) Tree Turbo (9) Stockbridge (1) Lasair (2) Setablaze

5th Race: (5) Comaneci (6) Algebra (1) Basilius (2) Naafer

6th Race: (1) My Dream Chaser (6) Rockin Russian (2) Captain's Princess (7) Miss Sabina

7th Race: (11) Celtic Sea (1) Oh Susanna (10) Najaayes (3) Cascapedia

8th Race: (4) Emily Hobhouse (3) Jetorio (2) Seeking Gold (7) Satin Slipper

9th Race: (3) Fire And Rescue (4) Powered Beauty (2) Popsicle Toes (6) Major Return

10th Race: (12) Tierra Del Fuego (4) Chijmes (3) Regal Graduation (6) Soldier On