Picture: JEFF GRIFFITH/UNSPLASH
Picture: JEFF GRIFFITH/UNSPLASH

A lean or profitable festive season for bookmakers — that rests on the outcome of Saturday’s R1m WSB Summer Cup at Turffontein.                       

Gauteng bookmaker Lance Michael makes no bones about his view on what is called “The People’s Race”. Fairly ironic when no spectators will be allowed at the city track.

“I’m 100% against the favourite [Summer Pudding]. I’ll be laying her as I think she’s got a stiff task in a handicap,” said Michael.

“My fancy is Cornish Pomodoro to win from Divine Odyssey and Youcanthurrylove. Sean [Tarry] has a wonderful record in this race,” he added.

The son of Pomodoro is trained by Sean Tarry, and Michael sponsors the stable of the champion trainer.

Has he got inside information? “Let’s just say it’s like lawyers and their clients, it’s a privilege between the two and doesn’t have to be divulged!” he replied.

Cornish Pomodoro is very much the unknown quantity in the 2,000m event, yet there are persistent whispers from Randjesfontein that the four-year-old can provide owner Chris van Niekerk with another big race victory.

The gelding started 4-1 favourite for the Charity Mile at the end of October but never got competitive and finished more than three lengths behind the winner, Hudoo Magic. Judged on that form, he has two lengths to make up on stablemate Tree Tumbo, and they meet again at level weights.

Tree Tumbo is lightly raced — this will be the four-year-old’s 13th outing — and the worry is that his dam, Welwitschia, only won up to 1,600m.

Michael’s second and third choices are interesting as Divine Odyssey has turned in three average efforts since winning the Jubilee Handicap in July. However, the six-year-old’s supporters can point to the fact that he stayed on to finish a creditable seventh in the Vodacom Durban July.

Victory for Youcanthurrylove, trained by Fabian Habib, would have bookmakers doing cartwheels, but he is well drawn and belied his 20-1 odds when third in the Charity Mile. The four-year-old is worth including in quartet bets.

“Personally, I don’t like him, but Pack Leader would be a rough result for us,” is Michael’s view on the ruling 9-2 second favourite from the Randjesfontein yard of Alec Laird. The six-year-old has been the subject of sustained support over the past few weeks.

Michael is taking into account that Pack Leader finished four lengths behind Cornish Pomodoro when they clashed in October, but Laird’s runner was badly impeded at the start.

It is 10 years since Mike de Kock won a Summer Cup and his runner Charles is firm third favourite at 15-2. This will be his third run since relocating to the highveld and, unlike some other runners, he goes to post with what looks like an ideal preparation.

Punters searching for a long-shot winner need to consider the Gary Player-bred five-year-old Tristful. The Trippi gelding has been in the care of Randjesfontein trainer Stuart Pettigrew since running unplaced in the Charity Mile. Another plus factor is that he will jump from pole position.

Tierra del Fuego was fancied in this column to run a place in the Durban July, but he was never a serious factor and was beaten by six lengths by Belgarion. On Saturday, the Tarry inmate is burdened with joint top-weight of 60kg and will not find it easy conceding 5kg to Charles and 8kg to Cornish Pomodoro.

Summer Cup betting
(Supplied by bookmaker Lance Michael)

5-2 Summer Pudding
7-2 Pack Leader
6-1 Charles
17-2 Cornish Pomodoro
16-1 Crown Tower, Youcanthurrylove, Zillzall
20-1 Tree Tumbo
22-1 Christopher Robin, Dance Class
25-1 Others

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