It is a jockey booking that will raise eyebrows — Piere Strydom engaged to ride a horse for champion trainer Sean Tarry.
That is the scenario at Tuesday’s holiday meeting at Turffontein when two of the biggest names in the sport team up in the fourth race.
Tarry has engaged Strydom, recently back from Mauritius after a controversial stint on the holiday island, to partner his lightly raced four-year-old Captain’s Reward.
The son of Captain Al won his only start last term in fine style and in August, with Kabelo Matsunyane in the saddle, finished a close third behind The Fifth Wave.
Bookies’ reaction to the booking has been to price up Captain’s Reward at 19-10 with Mike de Kock’s filly Gin Fizz quoted at the same price.
A big future was predicted for Gin Fizz when she skated home by seven lengths on her debut in February, but the daughter of Soft Falling Rain has failed to add to that success. Tuesday will be her first appearance since early May.
Trainer Gary Alexander will be delighted that Mount Laurel kept her unbeaten record at the city track on Saturday, and he relies on another useful filly, Gaian Glory.
Though this daughter of Visionaire will have the Emperors Palace Ready-To-Run Cup on November 2 as her main objective, Alexander will be happy to collect Tuesday’s R65,000 first prize. Gaian Glory is quoted at 3-1 in early betting.
Another runner who should be involved in the finish is Joe Soma’s representative Comaneci. The four-year-old finished fractionally behind Captain’s Reward when the two met in August.
Muzi Yeni was seen at his best on Abelie last Saturday and Varnica (third race) and Scent Of Evening (fifth) look two promising rides for the title-chasing jockey at Tuesday’s meeting.
Varnica, a daughter of Var trained by Robbie Sage, has the advantage of pole position in the third race. In contrast, Strydom, who rides Single Red Rose, will have to overcome a wide barrier.
In the fifth race, Yeni once again teams up with Scent Of Evening whom punters have burnt their fingers on in 2019. Perhaps a drop back to 1,200m will do the trick for Lucky Houdalakis’s runner.
Paul Peter’s useful filly Sarah is likely to top the betting boards after four successes in 2019. However, the What A Winter filly is not well in at weight-for-age and will have an inexperienced apprentice in the saddle.
S’manga Khumalo is riding at the top of his game — he had a double last Saturday — and he should go close on Bohica in the seventh race. It is a worry that the three-year-old is taking on older rivals, but none of them look headed for stardom.
Punters are likely to look no further than De Kock’s runner Ghalyoon for the winner of the opening event on the card. The colt has been placed in each of his two outings and will have accomplished work rider Chamu Mabaya at the controls.
Turffontein selections for Tuesday
First race: (8) Ghalyoon (1) Maroon Bells (2) Turf Master (12) Sworder Street
Second race: (14) Shadow Creek (5) Red Admiral (4) Eightintheeighth (9) Master Of Masada
Third race: (12) Varnica (10) Single Red Rose (7) Golden Belle (9) Paschals Samore
Fourth race: (3) Captain’s Reward (6) Gin Fizz (7) Gaian Glory (2) Comaneci
Fifth race: (5) Scent Of Evening (1) Sarah (2) Double O Eight (4) Cals Crush
Sixth race: (4) King Of The Delta (1) Strikeitlikeamatch (7) Queen Of War (8) Phillydelphia
Seventh race: (7) Bohica (8) Crimson God (3) African Rock (2) Arapaho
Eighth race: (9) Pelican Bay (6) Miss Khalifa (3) Etched In Blue (5) Sweet Trial
Ninth race: (2) Ficticious (1) Colour Of Light (8) Swept Off My Feet (6) Oceania