When Queen Supreme failed to justify favouritism at the Met meeting at Kenilworth in February, some of her supporters must have felt like jumping off Table Mountain.
Mike de Kock’s filly looked the banker bet at the meeting in the Majorca Stakes. Something went amiss and she beat just two home.
Four months later — back on home ground — Queen Supreme made that flop a distant memory as she found the best finish to run second to stablemate Hawwaam in Saturday’s HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes at Turffontein.
It was a performance that put her hat firmly in the ring for the spectatorless Vodacom Durban July scheduled for July 25. The daughter of Exceed and Excel was a 33-1 chance for the July on Saturday morning but those odds are likely to be halved when a new market is formed this week.
Another plus factor for Queen Supreme is that trainer De Kock has already saddled two female winners of SA’s most famous race — Ipi Tombe in 2002 and Igugu in 2011.
Hawwaam turned in a workmanlike — rather than dominant — performance to win his fourth grade 1 on Saturday, but there was a word of warning from De Kock as to his July participation, for which he is the 9-2 favourite. With an overseas campaign planned, he said it was possible the four-year-old would go into quarantine before the Greyville race.
Though Cirillo did take third place in the Horse Chestnut Stakes, Saturday was a rare winnerless meeting for champion trainer Sean Tarry. He will be looking to get back among the winners at the Vaal on Monday.
Tarry could score as early as the second race in which he saddles the choicely bred two-year-old Dark Vision. The colt is a son of Vercingetorix — Equus champion three-year-old in 2012/2013 — out of the outstanding mare Bardot.
The youngster has been priced up as the 2-1 favourite and those might be good odds in a shallow race in which Forbe’s Quarry may pose the main threat.
Maiden winner Latin Opus ventures into handicap company in the fifth race and — in these difficult financial times — the gelding will hopefully earn a cheque as this writer owns a leg in the son of Pomodoro.
Geoff Woodruff’s runner Top Rank rates a strong each-way chance as the five-times champion trainer must have told owner Des Scott it was worth persevering with his horse.
The field for the eighth race is something special for the Vaal on a Monday with Tarry saddling his top sprinter Chimichuri Run and Lucky Houdalakis represented by his exciting speedster, Mr Flood.
Chimichuri Run’s second behind Kasimir in the Diomed Stakes at Kenilworth is top form and he may be capable of conceding 2kg to Mr Flood. His merit rating is six points superior to Mr Flood.
Nevertheless, Mr Flood, winner of five of his last six starts, looks set to give his supporters a good run for their money and he is quoted 3-1 co-favourite with Tarry’s sprinter.
It might be unwise to think this is a two-horse contest as lurking at the bottom of the weights is De Kock’s filly Gin Fizz. She will carry just 52.5kg with jockey Callan Murray — fresh from his success on Hawwaam — putting up half a kilo overweight.
Houdalakis has prospects of landing a double as his seventh-race runner Pink is a useful sort on her day. Her rivals include Poppycock, a member of Tyrone Zackey’s stable, as well as Hit for Six and Alicante.
1st Race: (7) Royal Escapade (1) Fists Of Fire (9) Al Haamy (6) Holy Man
2nd Race: (10) Dark Vision (2) Forbe’s Quarry (9) Zodiac Princess (1) Majestic Thunder
3rd Race: (2) St Joseph’s Lily (10) Florida Keys (12) Twice The Act (1) Afriel
4th Race: (3) Super Duper (1) Dance Class (7) Cotopaxi (9) Can Can
5th Race: (1) Latin Opus (5) Top Rank (3) Bellagrio King (10) Bold Ellie
6th Race: (3) Nimcha (6) Our Man In Havana (5) Christopher Robin (8) Before Noon
7th Race: (3) Poppycock (5) Pink (4) Hit For Six (6) Alicante
8th Race: (1) Chimichuri Run (2) Mr Flood (11) Gin Fizz (6) Singforafa
9th Race: (4) Gemcutter (1) Blow Me Down (3) Written In Stone (6) Hartleyfour
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.