Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Bargain-buy Cirillo of champion trainer Sean Tarry, who will saddle four runners in the R2m Gauteng Chris Gerber Summer Cup at Turffontein on November 30, could hit the R5m mark in earnings at the Vaal on Thursday.

Bought by leading owner Chris van Niekerk for just R60,000 at the 2017 CTS Ready-To-Run Sale, the son of Pomodoro has won four races and has earned R4.93m.

The four-year-old is the perfect advert for Friday’s CTS Ready-To-Run Sale at Durbanville racecourse (4pm start) when Tarry is sure to be searching for another champion for his chief patron.

Surprisingly, there is only one of Pomodoro’s progeny on the sale — a filly out of the Trippi mare Airbound. This is the family of Fort Eagle who won this writer and partners three races.

Tarry’s quartet in the Summer Cup are 2018 winner Tilbury Fort, Zilzaal, Shenanigans and his progressive four-year-old, Al Mutawakel.

Raymond Danielson will partner Tilbury Fort, but Tarry has not declared jockeys for his three other runners.


Mike de Kock will have five representatives in the Summer Cup. He has engaged Anton Marcus for Soqrat and top heavyweight rider Bernard Fayd’Herbe for Barahin.

With Hawwaam declared a nonrunner by the De Kock stable for Thursday’s seventh race at the Vaal, Cirillo, to be ridden for the first time by Piere Strydom, is opposed by a field of 10 rivals.

Given his form, which includes a third behind Rainbow Bridge in the Champions Cup, one would have expected the colt to be an odds-on shot for Thursday’s 1,400m contest. However he was freely available at 11-10 on Wednesday.

The second favourite is Geoff Woodruff’s six-year-old Zouaves, who has also proved a shrewd buy. He cost R225,000 as a yearling and has earned more than R1m.

The Woodruff stable is going through a lean patch and a bigger danger to Cirillo could be his stablemate Tierra Del Fuego. Also owned by Van Niekerk, the son of Skitt Skizzle is bidding to complete a hat-trick after two successes at Turffontein.

Another Tarry inmate, Social Order, has an each-way shout if he reproduces his best form, though the gelding has only managed one placing in his last four outings.

Callan Murray — booked for Queen Supreme in the Summer Cup — will be expecting the three-year-old filly Masaaqaat to leave the maiden ranks by defeating 15 rivals in the first leg of the jackpot.

Considering Masaaqaat is a son of Snitzel, it is a shock that this import has not managed to open her account in five starts, but she can put matters right on Thursday provided she can beat Piere Strydom’s mount Cosmic Ray.

S’manga Khumalo is riding at the top of his game — he booted home two winners in last Saturday’s International Challenge — and he should be in the mix on Golden Spiral in the eighth race.

Nevertheless, preference in this 1,400m handicap is for Tobie Spies’ filly All Of Me, a versatile performer who acts on turf and the sand in Kimberley.

Vaal selections

First race: (6) Shane (1) Turf Master (8) Deal Me In (2) Brave Detail

Second race: (5) Duke Of York (15) Vaseem (7) Electra Flying (11) Orphelin Noir

Third race: (14) Different Light (15) Lady Scarletina (11) Nebraas (5) Magnificus

Fourth race: (3) Single Red Rose (12) Gypsy Woman (5) Clifton Cougar (8) Great Glory

Fifth race: (3) Masaaqaat (9) Cosmic Ray (14) Rock You (1) Super Fine

Sixth race: (2) Tokyo Drift (5) Movie Magic (10) Category Four (11) Norland

Seventh race: (2) Cirillo (9) Tierra Del Fuego (8) Social Order (3) Zouaves

Eighth race: (2) All Of Me (1) Scent Of Evening (6) Lily Starlette (9) Golden Spiral

Ninth race: (2) Nimcha (12) Set The Standard (4) At Hand (3) Hidden Agenda