With 14 wins from just 100 rides, Cole Dicken has emerged as the apprentice find of the season and is getting mounts for top stables.

Now in his second year at the Joburg Apprentice Academy, the 22-year-old has quickly grabbed the attention of trainers who realise the youngster is good value with his 4kg apprentice claim.

In April, Dicken and another apprentice, Tyrell Maharaj, jetted to the UK to participate in a four-week course at the British Racing School campus in Newmarket. That experience will have benefited them enormously.

Paul Peter, this season’s leading trainer, has booked Dicken to partner his five-year-old Rangoon in Thursday’s sixth race at the Vaal. Bought out of Alec Laird’s stable, the son of Trippi caught the eye when running third behind Silver Spectrum at Turffontein in September.

Three lengths behind Rangoon that day was stablemate Defy Gravity, who will be ridden by Peter’s stable jockey Warren Kennedy. This is sure to confuse punters, but Peter probably feels Dicken’s claim is the important factor.

Promising ride

The Azzie stable is represented by its useful four-year-old Major Return and the gelding hinted another success was close at hand when finishing just two lengths behind Sunshine Silk last time out.

Major Return’s stable companion Aztec looks a promising ride for Dicken in the last leg of the Pick Six. The daughter of What A Winter finished sixth on debut in July and has a favourable barrier draw in this 1,450m event.

Yet it is worth noting that S’manga Khumalo, who rode Aztec on her debut, now switches to the first-timer Marygold. Her price needs a check in the betting market.

Another runner with a shout in the eighth race is Stephen Moffat’s three-year-old Smiley River. Owner Tommy Shawe will be pleased his daughter of Pomodoro has been placed twice.

Champion trainer Sean Tarry saddled four winners at Turffontein on Tuesday and he looks certain to add to his seasonal tally at the Free State track on Thursday.

It is hard to see Tarry not taking top honours in the third race in which he is represented by two talented fillies in Frosted Steel and In The Dance. The former, a daughter of Captain Al, won her maiden by three lengths in August and we will see if she can remain unbeaten on Thursday afternoon.

However, In The Dance, the mount of Piere Strydom, has a 19-point higher merit rating than her stablemate after some excellent efforts last term. The filly was only beaten a neck by Oh Susanna in the Tibouchina Stakes at Greyville.

Trainer Geoff Woodruff has entered his mare Sunshine Silk for the Gauteng Summer Cup and the five-year-old takes another step towards that target when she takes on just five rivals in the fourth race.

As two of these opponents are her stablemates Secret Potion and Ali Bon Dubai, Woodruff holds a strong hand. The runner who might spoil the party for him is Muzi Yeni’s mount Dromedaris.

In the opening event, Yeni will be hoping that Corné Spies’ filly, Madame Patrice, can leave the maiden ranks. The three-year-old has had to settle for second place in each of her last three starts.


First race: (5) Madame Patrice (6) Allyouneedislove (3) Samoa (7) Secret Palace

Second race: (4) Live By Night (14) Tahitian Orana (12) Rock The Kazvar (11) Precious Stone

Third race: (2) In The Dance (8) Frosted Steel (3) Blonde Vision (7) Seemyvision

Fourth race: (5) Sunshine Silk (6) Dromedaris (2) Ali Bon Dubai (4) Secret Potion

Fifth race: (2) Master And Man (4) Slay The Dragon (8) Jive Express (3) Dickens

Sixth race: (5) Rangoon (4) Major Return (6) Defy Gravity (1) Master Magic

Seventh race: (6) Port Key (7) Matloob (5) Jagesa Jagesa (10) Rocky Path

Eighth race: (5) Aztec (8) Marygold (14) Smiley River (7) Flower Season

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