Lady Amherst and Khumalo best on moderate Turffontein card
Illuminate, a six-year-old mare trained by Brett Webber, is the second favourite and may pose the main threat to the fancied winner
If Saturday’s Turffontein meeting could be rated on the Richter Scale, it would be lucky to register as 1. A fortnight on from the excitement of the Gold Cup in Durban, the fare at the city track can be described only as moderate.
However, there does look to be one horse who can put money in punters’ pockets. It is S’manga Khumalo’s mount Lady Amherst in the fifth race.
Yes, Alec Laird’s filly — named after a pheasant bird whose first specimen was sent to London by Sarah Amherst in 1828 — has just won a maiden, but she does not face a strong field on her handicap debut.
Illuminate, a six-year-old mare trained by Brett Webber, has been marked up second favourite and may pose the main threat to Lady Amherst.
Though South African racing might not set the pulses racing on Saturday, it is a different story overseas with the Grade 1 Irish Champion Stakes in Ireland and the last classic of the UK season, the St Leger, taking place at Doncaster.
The star attraction at the Curragh will be Charlie Appleby’s Juddmonte Stakes winner Ghaiyyath, who is expected to take this race en route to the Arc De Triomphe in Paris on October 4.
It might not be a stroll in the park for Ghaiyyath as French trainer Jean Claude Rouget sends over 2019’s Arc third Sottsaas. The four-year-old might be the right one for the exacta.
Past winners of the Irish Champion Stakes include such big names as Sadler’s Wells, Giant’s Causeway and Sea The Stars. Then there was the epic finish between Galileo and Fantastic Light in 2001.
At Doncaster where the action will once again be behind closed doors, trainer Willie Muir is hoping for St Leger glory with his three-year-old Pyledriver. Bookies quote his stayer as the 11-4 co-favourite with Aidan O’Brien’s runner Santiago.
It might be worth taking on the two market leaders with the third favourite Hukum. A son of Sea The Stars trained by Owen Burrows, the colt boasts three wins from four starts and has won the two races he has contested this term.
Just six runners go to post in the third race at Turffontein, and this event looks like a three-cornered contest between Rouge Allure, Risk Taker and Tahitian Orana.
Trainer Stephen Moffatt has done an outstanding job with Rouge Allure, a mare who is looking for her 11th career win. Nevertheless, Khumalo rode her last time and, presuming he was offered the ride again, prefers to stick with Ashley Fortune’s runner Tahitian Orana.
In the fourth race — the first leg of the Pick 6 — Flower Season deserves her position at the top of the betting boards and the Azzie stable runner deserves a visit to the No 1 box. It will be interesting to see if there is any support for Candice Dawson’s debutante War Worthy.
The well named and bred Oscar Wilde failed to win for this column last time out, but he should be ripe for the seventh race in his third run following a lengthy break. Sell High, second in each of his last three outings, should give Callan Murray’s mount a run for his money.
1st Race: (1) Showdown Kid (5) Emerald Floe (3) Karin B (9) Dubawi Magic
2nd Race: (5) Back To Black (6) Enrico Cecchetti (10) Bingwa (3) Custom Made
3rd Race: (4) Tahitian Orana (2) Rouge Allure (3) Risk Taker (5) Kayla’s Champ
4th Race: (1) Flower Season (2) Winning Queen (6) War Worthy (3) Cotopaxi
5th Race: (4) Lady Amherst (5) Illuminate (2) League Of Her Own (8) Sammi Moosa
6th Race: (7) Seven Patriots (2) Dawn Assault (6) Shenanigans (5) Orpheus
7th Race: (9) Oscar Wilde (7) Sell High (2) Rooi Tom (6) Category Four
8th Race: (3) Madame Patrice (1) Royal Lily (8) Oceania (6) Over The Limit
9th Race: (5) Putins Promise (8) Written In Stone (4) Precious Stone (1) Battle Creek
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