Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

In women’s month, two female trainers are bidding for big-race glory in Saturday’s WSB Gold Cup in Durban.

Lucinda Woodruff saddles the five-year-old gelding Dharma, priced at 33-1, while Alyson Wright sends out the six-year-old mare, Flichity By Farr, who is quoted at 40-1 in early betting.

Woodruff, daughter of five-times champion trainer Geoff Woodruff, is a recent addition to the training ranks and set up shop at Milnerton in 2015.

She realises her dad has set the bar high. In an early interview she said: “When it comes to my dad, he is always been my hero. He never pushed any of us [she is the youngest of three children] to get involved in racing.”

She was asked if she had ever felt prejudice against her in racing. She replied: “I have never felt that way, no, but I am a person who gets on with the job at hand regardless of my gender.”

Pundits give Dharma little chance of upsetting the two fancied candidates, It’s My Turn and Marchingontogether, in the Gold Cup, but it would not be the first time the gelding has sprung a surprise.

Turn the clock back to June 2019 and the form book shows Dharma won the Winter Derby at odds of 50-1. Only Woodruff and the bookies were cheering.

Wright has made a success of her move from Zimbabwe to KwaZulu-Natal and her stable runners are always worth close scrutiny. Her Cup runner, Flichity By Farr, recently rejoined her yard from David Nieuwenhuizen, who won two races in succession with the Go Deputy mare in December and January.

While the six-year-old stays well and rates an each-way chance, Woodruff will know her runner has got this one beaten on the form book as Dharma finished two lengths in front of Flichity By Farr in the recent Gold Vase won by Dynasty’s Blossom.

Saturday will be the 100th running of this popular marathon race and — as was the case at York last week — it is a tragedy that racing fans will be unable to attend.

Mike Makaab, CEO of Prosport International who are the rights holders of the Gold Cup, said: “With the centenary of the Gold Cup, we had plans to attract a big crowd to Hollywoodbets Greyville. However, given the current circumstances there was only one decision we could make.

“We are pleased that Gold Circle have already navigated a major race meeting behind closed doors and together we will ensure we deliver a world-class event for broadcast so that racing fans can enjoy the festivities from the safe comfort of their homes,” said Makaab.

There are a host of feature races on Saturday’s card including the Champions Cup in which Do It Again and Rainbow Bridge — third and sixth in the Vodacom July — lock horns again.

While bookies make Do It Again the narrow favourite over Rainbow Bridge — a fair enough assessment on the July result — there has been support in the ante-post market for Sean Tarry’s runner Cirillo. His price has been clipped from 9-1 to 17-2 and he could well throw down the gauntlet to the two market fancies.

Trainer Justin Snaith, who sends out Do It Again in the Champions Cup, will be hoping for a successful meeting before his star performers return to the Cape. He saddles Kasimir — the early favourite at 28-10 — in the Mercury Sprint.


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