Champion apprentice Luke Ferraris — sure to be excited to have been booked to partner Rainbow Bridge for the first time on Saturday — can tune up for the Kenilworth race by winning on Imperial Master at the Vaal on Thursday.
Ferraris has got his chance on the 2019 Met winner in the Green Point Stakes at Kenilworth because champion jockey Warren Kennedy, who has ridden the gelding in his last three races, has a number of booked rides at Turffontein. It will be a thrill for the youngster to be taking on the Durban July winner Belgarion.
Imperial Master, who runs in the sixth race, is an inmate of Stuart Pettigrew’s stable, which captured last weekend’s WSB Grand Heritage race at the Vaal. The three-year-old’s four races to date have yielded a win and three placings.
Ferraris will know he’ll have to be at the top of his game as his main danger, Littlewood, will be ridden by Piere Strydom. He is the mare’s regular pilot and the last seven outings have resulted in a win and six places.
Craig Zackey was among the winners at Turffontein on Tuesday and his mount, French Leave, comes into the reckoning. Trainer Jannie Borman’s five-year-old finished only half a length behind Littlewood at the track in November.
Ferraris rides Have A Go Jo for Sean Tarry in the fifth race, but the son of Willow Magic might battle to beat his stablemate Shah Akbar and Kennedy’s mount Dr Doolittle.
After Shah Akbar’s recent maiden win at Turffontein, Lyle Hewitson revealed that the Querari colt looked like being one of Tarry’s leading three-year-olds, so it’s possible he has needed time to mature. He should run well for owners Mary Slack and Michael Javett, whose colours were carried to victory by Bold Resolve at Turffontein on Tuesday.
Paul Peter heads the national trainers log and his Ideal World colt Dr Doolittle is likely to be sent off favourite. The three-year-old has run well in each of his three outings.
Callan Murray has got the call to partner The Eighth Lord for trainer Corné Spies, and the grey is bidding to notch his third win in his last four starts. Whether he can concede 1.5kg to Shah Akbar remains to be seen.
A possible banker bet for jackpot and Pick 6 punters is Muzi Yeni’s mount Miss Elegance, who takes on seven rivals in the fourth race.
Though Miss Elegance is the youngest horse in the race, many of the three-year-old’s opponents are under a cloud. Riverstown, for example, finished last in the recent Summer Cup.
While it can be argued that the Cup distance of 2,000m was too far, the four-year-old won’t find it easy conceding 10kg to Miss Elegance.
In contrast, Ashley Fortune’s runner Invidia is trying 1,600m for the first time. Last season’s CTS 1200 winner ran unplaced in the recent Merchants Handicap at Turffontein.
Lucky Houdalakis, the trainer of Miss Elegance, looks to have a useful filly on his hands in Global View’s daughter Castle Durrow. However, the three-year-old faces no easy task in the third race against two older rivals, Dynastic Light and Leading Fast.
Dynastic Light, who cost R1m as a yearling, may battle to recoup her purchase price but she should go close on Thursday in the hands of S’manga Khumalo. Tarry’s representative, Leading Fast, is also in the mix.
Whatever his fate on Miss Elegance, Yeni has another promising mount in Muleta in the final leg of the Pick 6. Robbie Sage’s filly is a two-time winner and may still be ahead of the handicapper.
1st Race: (3) Brooklyn Bridge (1) Desert Pride (6) Miss Khalifa (12) Feather The Nest
2nd Race: (6) Crank It Up (4) What You Are (2) Golden Pheasant (9) Whipping Boy
3rd Race: (2) Dynastic Light (8) Leading Fast (7) Castle Durrow (5) Meercat
4th Race: (8) Miss Elegance (1) Riverstown (2) Invidia (5) Sidonie
5th Race: (5) Shah Akbar (1) Dr Doolittle (6) Have A Go Jo (3) The Eighth Lord
6th Race: (1) Imperial Master (2) Littlewood (4) French Leave (7) Wild Heritage
7th Race: (9) Thumbs Up (1) Before The Dawn (4) Miracle Flight (5) Spring Break
8th Race: (1) Muleta (7) Java House (2) Royal Lily (13) Samoa
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