Picture: RUSSEL ROBERTS
Picture: RUSSEL ROBERTS

It was not a good start to the new season for two jockeys who have fallen foul of the National Horseracing Authority (NHRA), with Xolane Ndlovu and Gavin Lerena being slapped with suspensions of 60 and 14 days respectively.

At an inquiry held in Port Elizabeth, Ndlovu was charged regarding his ride on Rose A Veldt in the first race at Fairview racecourse on July 6.

The stipendiary stewards (known as stipes in the horseracing industry) reported that “Ndlovu failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures from approximately the 300m to the 100m to ensure that his horse was given a full opportunity to win or obtain the best possible placing”.

The inquiry board added that Ndlovu had the right of appeal against his 60-day ban.

In Lerena’s case, the Gauteng-based jockey, one of the fancies for this season’s riders’ championship, was in trouble for his riding of In Tune ’n Time at Greyville on July 15.

The stipes reported that “Lerena failed to ride Tune ’n Time out to the end of the race thereby prejudicing his chances of obtaining third position”.

Presumably, Lerena has not appealed against his suspension as he will not be in action at Thursday’s meeting at the Vaal.

Paul Peter — fifth in last season’s trainers log — sends 13 runners from his Turffontein base to the Free State track and will be disappointed if he doesn’t take top honours in the sixth race in which he saddles Heart Stwings, Pilgrim’s Progress and Crime Scene.

Heart Stwings, the mount of champion apprentice Luke Ferraris, hinted another success was close at hand when second at Turffontein last time out, but she is not certain to beat stablemate Pilgrim’s Progress.

Piere Strydom is an eye-catching booking for the six-year-old mare who seems likely to mount a strong late challenge. Four-year-old Franklin should also be in the mix for trainer Erico Verdonese and jockey Craig Zackey.

In the eighth race, Peter’s four-year-old Bold Ransom has been priced up favourite to beat Mike de Kock’s Aussie-bred import Naafer. Considering he won his penultimate race by five lengths, the betting looks correct with another Peter inmate Arapaho giving the stable strong backup.

Earlier in the meeting, two De Kock debutantes, Nafoorah in the second race and Al Qaqaa in the third, will need to be closely monitored in the betting market.

Nafoorah is a son of De Kock’s ill-fated champion Soft Falling Rain while Al Qaqaa was bred in Australia and is a gelded son of Medaglia D’Oro.

Trainer Alec Laird must be frustrated that his four-year-old GI Joe is still in the maiden ranks, but the fourth race is surely his best opportunity to make it to the No 1 box. Barak won at Turffontein on Sunday so will not be in the line-up.

The right horse for the swinger with GI Joe could be Paul Matchett’s runner Master Mariner. The three-year-old showed improvement last time out and is a son of Master Of My Fate, whose progeny averaged R190,000 at last week’s National Yearling Sales.

Though the final leg of the Pick 6 is a competitive handicap over the minimum trip of 1,000m, many punters are sure to row in with another Peter runner, Garden Party. However, the three-year-old is not well in at weight-for-age and Blow Me Down is preferred.

VAAL SELECTIONS

1st Race: (1) Olivia (12) Miss Venezuela (2) St Joseph’s Lily (14) Sabrina Fairchild

2nd Race: (9) Nafoorah (7) Accomplished (4) Ball Rolling (1) Quattro Passi

3rd Race: (7) Al Qaqaa (4) Nussply (6) Harrys Secret (5) Wild Heritage

4th Race: (1) GI Joe (12) Master Mariner (7) Smart Deal (4) Royal Tiger

5th Race: (3) Miss Cap Mala (1) Wonderful Rock (12) Euphoriant (14) Closely Watched

6th Race: (3) Pilgrim’s Progress (1) Heart Stwings (10) Franklin (11) Crime Scene

7th Race: (2) Plum Field (4) Passion Peach (5) Ideal Cut (3) Sammi Moosa

8th Race: (5) Bold Ransom (1) Naafer (3) Arapaho (9) Ring Of Fire

9th Race: (7) Blow Me Down (3) Garden Party (13) Saviour (9) Captains Fort

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