Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

As he was born in Zimbabwe, trainer Paul Matchett will be delighted that the owners of the country’s top racehorse, Lily Blue, have sent the all-conquering filly to his Randjesfontein stable to continue her career.

Lily Blue, a daughter of Black Minnaloushe, arrived here with seven consecutive victories to her name including the Oaks in July where she started at the prohibitive odds of 1-12.

Matchett, whose first experience of racing was as a standing stall handler while still at school, relocated to SA in 2002 and he has started the new season in hot form. Statistics to October 14 put him in fourth place on the national trainers log with 21 winners from 200 runners.

He will be hoping to move even higher on the log if another of his talented fillies, War Of Athena, wins the R900,000 Emperors Palace Ready-To-Run Cup on October 31.

However, it is the performance of Lily Blue in Thursday’s sixth race at the Vaal that will be demanding his full attention this week.

The four-year-old made her SA debut at Turffontein 12 days ago when, despite running into traffic problems in the closing stages, the filly finished a close fourth behind Elusive Force.

Muzi Yeni was in the irons that day and the popular KZN-based rider will again be in the saddle. He is likely to consider Fort Anne and Toto as his chief rivals.

Fort Anne, the mount of Piere Strydom, also got close to Elusive Force last time out, while Toto looks an above average filly from the stable of Mike and Adam Azzie.

St John Gray sends out Ululate, who has been in sparkling form this term, racking up three wins from her last four outings. She has risen in the ratings so might battle to post another win in this 1,600m contest.

Matchett sends a team of 11 runners to the Free State track and his first race representative, Lady Of The Flame, should earn a cheque though Mike de Kock’s Frankel filly Lagertha will be fancied to open her account.

Another well-bred newcomer from the De Kock yard, Al Asay, stands in Matchett’s way in the third race where his runner, Master Uletide, should go well in the hands of S’manga Khumalo. This R15,000 purchase from Hemel n Aarde Stud has shaped with promise in his two starts.

Tipsters love to find long shots and one which falls into this category is Smiley River, who looks overpriced at 16-1 in the final leg of the jackpot.

The daughter of Pomodoro is well named, being drawn practically in the nearby Vaal River, but this should not pose too much of a problem for apprentice Jeffrey Syster as the distance of the race is 2,000m.

Smiley River takes a significant drop in class yet the young Syster will know he’ll have to be at the top of his game to beat Kokeshi, the mount of champion apprentice Luke Ferraris.

Others with each-way claims are Jacko Boy, the mount of Kyle Strydom, as well as The Sash and Plum Field who both finished close-up on their most recent outings.

The outcome of the final leg of the Pick 6 may hinge on whether or not St John Gray’s runner Perfect Light needs the run after a 44-week break. In the circumstances, it might prove safer to row in with Lucky Houdalakis’s four-year-old Lord Melbourne.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: (5) Lagertha (6) Lady Of The Flame (9) Divine Isadora (10) Jamaheery

2nd Race: (11) Voyeur (2) Gilboa (3) Harry’s Secret (4) Marrakech

3rd Race: (6) Al Aasy (9) Master Uletide (2) Jet Cat (11) Emerald Floe

4th Race: (1) Pin Up (2) Bitter Wind (10) Suntrax (4) Amberglo Star

5th Race: (3) Fire Flower (6) Fresh From The US (2) Secrets Of Maya (9) Fly North

6th Race: (1) Lily Blue (8) Fort Anne (9) Toto (7) Ululate

7th Race: (1) Western Front (6) Sworder Street (7) Imperial Master (4) Snow Palace

8th Race: (2) Smiley River (9) Kokeshi (7) The Sash (1) Jacko Boy

9th Race: (1) Lord Melbourne (13) Perfect Light (2) Gold Rock (6) Kurt’s Approval

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