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

Jockey Callan Murray — back in SA following stints in Hong Kong and Singapore — has quickly found his services in demand and the 23-year-old has seven booked rides at Turffontein on Saturday.

Murray said on his return: “Nothing teaches you more about yourself than going to a foreign place. The fire is blazing stronger than ever as I go back and I know I will have to fight for rides, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

It will please Murray that three of his seven rides at the city track are for top trainer Mike de Kock. His best mounts for the stable could be Wijdaan (third race) and Ghalyoon in the final leg of the Pick 6.

Wijdaan, a daughter of What A Winter, improved in her third outing when finishing third behind Picatrix at Saturday’s track a fortnight ago.

However, the De Kock inmate faces two tough rivals in Geoff Woodruff’s runner Wild Date and Paul Peter’s representative Forever Indigo. Both are daughters of Judpot and the form of Wild Date’s debut fourth has worked out well.

Ghalyoon, who runs in the ninth race, could be Murray’s best chance of a winner as the Birch Bros-bred Querari colt found good betting support on his debut at the Vaal in July. He finished a creditable fourth behind Rooi Tom.

Gary Alexander has his team in good form and his runner Quest For Good is certain to have his backers. The son of Philanthropist also attracted support when fifth behind African Adventure on his debut.

The main race of the day, the grade 3 Spring Spree Stakes, carries the useful purse of R250,000 with a cheque of R156,250 going to the winning connections.

Although Murray’s mount Will Pays is the class horse in the field, the gelding is now eight years of age and has to shoulder top weight of 61.5kg.

Trainer Roy Magner will fancy his chances of taking top honours as he saddles two runners with sound chances on Prince Of Kahal and Valbonne. Though it was only a four-runner race, which the former won last time out, he can boast useful efforts behind top performers such as Chimichuri Run and Mardi Gras.

Warren Kennedy is in second place in the national jockeys log and he partners Valbonne for the first time. He will have to overcome a wide draw on the five-year-old.

A runner better drawn is Angel’s Power, who finished three lengths behind Valbonne when they met at the Vaal in June. The seven-year-old is 1.5kg better off at the weights.

The Azzie stable has backup in Down To Zero, who beat Prince Of Kahal earlier in 2019. Unfortunately, the gelding is drawn wide in this 1,200m contest.

Sean Tarry’s runners always demand the closest scrutiny and the champion trainer could land a jackpot double with Spiritofthegroove in the sixth race and Rockin Russian in the eighth.

Jockey Marco van Rensburg will be pleased to have got the call to partner Spiritofthegroove as the grey daughter of Visionaire ran a blinder in a feature race at Greyville at the end of July.

Rockin Russian faces a tougher task against her six rivals who include Scent Of Evening, Westwing Belter and another of Visionaire’s progeny, Gaian Glory.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: (9) Madame Patrice (11) Razna (12) Two Paths (8) Initiator

2nd Race: (7) Majestic Thunder (10) Stone Judgement (5) Al Ragnar (3) Oyster King

3rd Race: (10) Wild Date (1) Wijdaan (3) Forever Indigo (8) Stunning

4th Race: (1) Lone Survivor (5) Seventh Of June (7) Dhabyaan (3) March To Glory

5th Race: (3) Bohica (2) Archilles (4) Responsible (7) Rocky Path

6th Race: (11) Spiritofthegroove (7) Operetta (2) Rock A Roll Dancer (8) Double O Eight

7th Race: (5) Prince Of Kahal (4) Down To Zero (10) Valbonne (11) Angel's Power

8th Race: (3) Rockin Russian (4) Westwing Belter (2) Scent Of Evening (5) Gaian Glory

9th Race: (9) Ghalyoon (11) Quest For Good (1) Karakoram (8) Arnica Montana