The scratching of the favourite, Buffalo Bill Cody, has thrown Saturday’s R1m Emperors Palace Charity Mile at Turffontein wide open, but could have opened the door for another big win for champion trainer Sean Tarry.
Tarry has a quartet of runners in the grade 2 race and his four-year-old, Zilzaal, has been promoted to the new market leader. However, it is stablemate In The Dance who is fancied by this column to make a bold bid for the R625,000 first prize.
Zilzaal, the mount of Piere Strydom who is getting some plum rides for the Tarry stable, won comfortably over 1,600m on his seasonal bow and has the Summer Cup on November 30 as his principal target.
On Saturday he should be competitive from a favourable draw though In The Dance, a well-related daughter of Gimmethegreenlight, has hardly put a hoof wrong in her five starts. Her close second to Oh Susanna at Greyville in June was an outstanding effort.
Mauritian-born rider Nooresh Juglall has got the call from Tarry to partner the filly who is drawn a little wide in barrier 11 of the 16-runner field.
Mike de Kock’s main hope is Barahin, now to be ridden by Callan Murray, and the colt enjoyed an excellent three-year-old campaign and now boasts career earnings of R1.24m.
Nevertheless, Barahin finished five lengths adrift of stablemate Soqrat on his comeback run and will have to step up on that performance on Saturday.
Infamous Fox is the best horse in Candice Dawson’s stable and the five-year-old is reunited with her regular pilot MJ Byleveld. The question here is whether the gelding can beat Barahin at level weights as well as concede 5.5kg to In The Dance.
Geoff Woodruff’s big race runners always demand close scrutiny and his consistent six-year-old Zouaves has to be on the shortlist of possible winners. Unfortunately the gelding is drawn close to the nearby Rand Stadium.
In contrast, Divine Odyssey will jump from pole position and is preferred to the raiding KwaZulu-Natal trio of Camphoratus, Marchingontogether and Tristful.
In the supporting R1m feature — the Emperors Palace Ready-To-Run Cup — jockeys S’manga Khumalo and Marco Van Rensburg will have one thought on their minds as they travel to the city track — how to overcome shocking draws.
Khumalo will have to navigate his way from stall 18 on Bohica whereas Van Rensburg is not much better off jumping from stall 15 on the favourite Spiritofthegroove.
Gaian Glory, winner of two of her four starts, is also drawn wide so this brings Seemyvision — positioned in stall two — into the picture. If the daughter of Visionaire takes first prize, it will be a boost for In The Dance in the Charity Mile.
Legendary former champion jockey Michael “Muis” Roberts sends up his three-year-old Enjoy The View and the son of Capetown Noir is worth including in quartet bets.
Piere Strydom has nine booked rides at the meeting and it could pay to risk a few rand on his mount Russian Prince in the 10th race, the Golden Loom Handicap over 1,000m.
The son of Potala Palace looks overpriced at 20-1 as this Azzie stable inmate is set to receive plenty of weight from two fancied runners, Rebel’s Champ and Prince Of Kahal.
Presumably, this season’s leading rider, Warren Kennedy, had the pick of Paul Peter’s speedsters so it is a pointer that he has opted to partner the lightly weighted filly Operetta.
1st Race: (17) Storm Commander (9) Flycatcher (1) Inside Politics (7) Crank It Up
2nd Race: (7) Alameery (1) Endangered (5) Titelist (20) Saving Grace
3rd Race: (9) Bella Rosa (15) Trapiche (2) Varquera (10) Fireworks
4th Race: (1) Ideal Day (6) Tunneloflove (15) Seven Patriots (12) Hellofaride
5th Race: (7) Sidonie (5) Mill Queen (1) Cockney Pride (9) Wisteria Walk
6th Race: (2) Bohica (7) Spiritofthegroove (8) Gaian (9) Seemyvision
7th Race: (13) In The Dance (12) Zilzaal (3) Infamous Fox (4) Zouaves
8th Race: (3) Putontheredlight (13) Tallinn (1) Eden Roc (9) Steak And Ale
9th Race: (11) Queen Supreme (7) Bize (4) Perfect Tigress (1) Insignis
10th Race: (10) Russian Prince (15) Operetta (2) Rebel’s Champ (7) Attenborough
11th Race: (2) Cordillera (10) Keep Smiling (8) Rockin Russian (6) Florida Quays
12th Race: (4) Sunshine Silk (5) Flichity By Farr (8) Dromedaris (9) Factor Fifty
13th Race: (7) Always Red (8) Pomander (4) Animal Lover (9) Ballet Shoes