Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS
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Former champion Gavin Lerena said on Monday it had come as “a helluva shock” to be jocked-off the fancied runner Rainbow Bridge in the Sun Met on February 1 with UK-based Ryan Moore his replacement.

“I really didn’t expect this as I felt I did nothing wrong in the Queen’s Plate. In fact I thought he [Rainbow Bridge] ran a great race as he probably wasn’t 100% fit. It was very pleasing and there’s sure to be improvement in the Met,” said Lerena.

Moore will jet out from the UK to ride in the big Kenilworth race and — while there will be sympathy for Lerena — one can understand the viewpoint of owner Mike Rattray, with Moore regarded in many quarters as the world’s top jockey.

The prize money will be considerably inferior to what Moore has picked up in races around the globe, with his percentage if he wins likely to be less than £10,000. One can speculate that a trip to the Mala Mala Game Reserve might be on the agenda for the Moore family.

Rainbow Bridge is now a firm 9-2 second favourite for the Met with dual Vodacom July victor Do It Again friendless in the market with 9-1 available with one leading bookmaker firm.

Justin Snaith always puts punters in the picture with his comments to the media and — despite saying last week he was not completely happy with Do It Again — the horse was declared to run at Monday’s final acceptance stage.

The Vaal hosts a nine-race programme on Tuesday and the all-conquering partnership of trainer Paul Peter and jockey Warren Kennedy are expected to be among the winners again.

Peter and Kennedy team up with Jet Start in the sixth race and a hat-trick is on the cards after two good wins at Turffontein.

Nevertheless, no jockey is riding with greater confidence at the moment than Craig Zackey and he is likely to provide tough opposition on Lucky Houdalakis’s filly Seville Orange.

This 1,800m might be on the sharp side for Seville Orange so it would be no surprise if Zackey tries to slip the field by establishing a big lead.

Return Flight, an inmate of the powerful Sean Tarry stable, will be no pushover if the champion trainer has got the filly back to her best. Lerena’s mount Flichity By Farr looks the pick of the remainder.

The exacta might be the best way to play this race, with Seville Orange suggested as a floating banker with Jet Start, Return Flight and Flichity By Farr.

• Irish auctioneer John O’Kelly accurately summed up last week's CTS Premier Yearling Sale in Cape Town when saying “it was a tough sale”.

The aggregate plunged from R83.5m in 2019 to R56.4m, with the average declining from R435.218 12 months ago to R326.531.

CTS CEO Wehann Smith said overseas buyers had “seized the opportunity” to secure some shrewd purchases with exports predicted to open up shortly. UK-based bloodstock consultant Amanda Skiffington is a regular visitor to this sale and she spent R2.2m on a colt for Jersey-based owner Fiona Carmichael.

SA owner Nic Jonsson paid top price of R3m, but Smith may have got it right with his belief that buyers are not yet ready to splash out big money on new stallions Gimmethegreenlight, Querari and What A Winter. With no Captain Als on the sale and six by Dynasty, there is a changing of the guard in the sires ranks.

VAAL SELECTIONS

1st Race: (1) Jackpot Jewel (16) Twice The Surge (12) Gold Rock (7) Curious

2nd Race: (6) Peaceontherocks (16) Theatre Of Dreams (15) Maculate (14) Ella Bean

3rd Race: (6) Emerald Crest (7) Cotopaxi (15) Loralei (5) Belle View

4th Race: (9) Trapiche (4) Your Pace Or Mine (3) Stormy Winter (10) August Rain

5th Race: (9) Sullenberger (5) Illusion (6) Prince Of Venice (7) Galactic Warrior

6th Race: (3) Seville Orange (2) Jet Start (1) Return Flight (4) Flichity By Farr

7th Race: (15) Top Rank (8) African Adventure (9) Theravada (13) Our Man In Havana

8th Race: (6) Rio’s Winter (5) Flying High (9) Gallic Princess (4) Scent Of Evening

9th Race: (8) Lady Lexington (7) Colour Of Light (3) Kapama (4) Tahitian Orana

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