Callan Murray and Mike de Kock out to strike with Aussie youngster
Imported juvenile Al Muthana runs in the Golden Horse Medallion at Scottsville
No doubt instructed by trainer Mike de Kock, jockey Callan Murray will spend July in KwaZulu-Natal and it could pay off as early as the meeting at Hollywoodbets Scotsville on Saturday.
The main mission for the De Kock-Murray combination will be the Vodacom Durban July on July 25, when the 23-year-old is likely to partner either Soqrat or Queen Supreme. First declaration for the race is next Monday.
After stints in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, Murray returned to SA in August 2019 and was quickly reunited with the powerful De Kock stable. He rode the favourite Hawwaam to victory in last weekend’s Champions Challenge at Turffontein.
The horse who could continue the yard’s good form at Scottsville is two-year-old Al Muthana, who runs in the Golden Horse Medallion. The youngster faces talented rivals including Erik The Red, Tempting Fate and Sean Tarry’s Slalom Queen, the only female in the race.
Al Muthana’s debut run in June was full of promise, with the son of Aussie stallion Deep Field stopping the clock in 66.85 sec. Stablemate Mount Pleasant won last Saturday’s SA Nursery at Turffontein in 67.52 sec.
Deep Field was a fast horse in Australia and holds the 1,100m course record at Canterbury. His 2020 fee is A$55,000 (about R650,000).
Erik The Red has been priced up ante-post favourite, understandable given his four-lengths romp at Kenilworth three weeks ago. The negative for this inmate of Justin Snaith’s stable is that the colt has made the long road haul from the Cape.
One runner who has not had to travel is Tempting Fate, with Sean Veale set to partner Dennis Drier’s two-year-old. Unbeaten in two starts, he should make a bold bid to keep his record intact.
Champion trainer Tarry has made a surprise call, preferring to run his filly Slalom Queen in the Medallion rather than against her own sex in the Allan Robertson. This suggests Tarry holds the filly in high regard and the two-year-old — the mount of Lyle Hewitson — should be included in exotic bets like the trifecta and quartet.
There are four grade 1 races on the Scottsville card, and Vaal trainer Ashley Fortune will be driving to the KwaZulu-Natal capital with strong contenders in both the Allan Robertson and Golden Horse Sprint.
Perhaps the stable’s best chance lies with Winter Smoke in the Allan Robertson. The youngster clocked 56.38 sec when posting an eight-lengths win at the Vaal.
Delta Queen (Dean Kannemeyer and Keagan De Melo) and Vernichey (Gareth van Zyl and Warren Kennedy) will both have their supporters, and another Gauteng raider Rapid Fire can earn a cheque for Adam and Mike Azzie.
Gavin Lerena, who rides Rapid Fire, will be hoping to continue his successful relationship with Celtic Sea in the SA Fillies Sprint. The bookies make this event a match race between Tarry’s filly — winner of nine of her 22 starts — and Brett Crawford’s speedster Run Fox Run, who boasts six wins from seven outings.
The Snaith-trained speed merchant Kasimir will take all the beating in the Golden Horse Sprint, but Ashley Fortune’s raider Invidia looks worth an each-way interest at 8-1.
Eden Roc and Frosted Gold are in the mix in this grade 1 contest.
The Investec Derby is off at 5.55pm (SA time) on Saturday, and Frankie Dettori will be bidding for his third success on 5-2 favourite English King. Highland Chief appeals as the best outsider and it could pay to couple the two in quartet bets.
On Sunday superstar filly Enable will be in action at Sandown as she starts her preparation for the Arc De Tromphe in Paris in October. If Art Royal is a starter on the same card, Tim Easterby’s sprinter will take some beating if reproducing his Royal Ascot form.
GOLDEN HORSE SPRINT
1 (3) Invidia
2 (9) Kasimir
3 (2) Eden Roc
4 (1) Frosted Gold
SA FILLIES SPRINT
1 (1) Celtic Sea
2 (4) Run For Fox
3 (5) True To Life
4 (2) Pretty Young Thing
GOLDEN HORSE MEDALLION
1. (14) Al Muthana
2 (10) Erik The Red
3 (12) Tempting Fate
4 (4) Slalom Queen
1 (8) Winter Smoke
2 (7) Rapid Fire
3 (10) Vernichey
4 (12) Delta Queen