A year after being shot on Durban beachfront in 1966, legendary racehorse Sea Cottage was involved in more drama when the judge could not separate him and Jollify in the Durban July.
It might be the same story after Saturday’s race at Turffontein — named after Syd Laird’s champion — as there are many with chances in the grade 3 contest.
The two principals in the 1,800m race could be Sean Tarry’s Shah Akbar and Mike de Kock’s Aussie import Al Muthana.
After being beaten nearly nine lengths on his second start, owners Mary Slack and Michael Javett must have questioned their decision to fork out R1.3m for the Querari colt.
However, it has been a different story since then with Shah Akbar winning two races and — being out of a Galileo mare — he could be a force in the SA Derby.
In an almost aside after Shah Akbar won his maiden at Turffontein in November, Lyle Hewitson quipped: “You know, early on we thought he would be one of our leading three-year-olds.”
Al Muthana and Nartjie represent the De Kock stable and the former’s pedigree is hugely in fashion. In the middle of 2020, Deep Field, sire of Al Muthana, was described in Australia as the new “boom” sire. After 15 individual stakes winners, his fee shot up from A$15,000 to A$55,000.
At one of the 2020 Aussie yearling sales, a filly by Deep Field who is half-sister to 2011 July hero Igugu, was bought by Dynamic Syndicates. A bit of a surprise that our bloodstock agents did not spot her.
The one worry about Saturday’s race is whether Al Muthana — to be ridden for the first time by Piere Strydom — will see out 1,800m as his sire was a record-breaking sprinter.
In the circumstances, the trifecta looks the way to go, floating Shah Akbar with Al Muthana, Nartjie, Second Base and Bold Jazz. The bet will cost R36.
Jockey Callan Murray is probably happy to be partnering Nartjie as his mount is 5kg better off with Shah Akbar at the end of December.
With four wins from five starts, Second Base has earned the 60kg he will carry. He is a smart son of Gimmethegreenlight, but might battle to concede weight from the widest draw.
Bold Jazz, who races for World Sports Betting, has Muzi Yeni in the saddle which is why he is a must inclusion in the trifecta bet.
Tarry sends a team of nine runners to the city track and the champion trainer — 5-1 to retain his title — will be disappointed if he does not return home with at least two winners.
Tight Five, second in his last two outings, has a chance of going one better in the second race and stablemates Against The Grain (third race) Magical Flight (fourth) are two form horses.
The interesting runner taking on Magical Flight in the first leg of the Pick 6 is Alec Laird’s filly Phoenix. The three-year-old may have been inconvenienced by the soft ground last time out and looks poised for a big effort from pole position.
1st Race: (2) Captain Chorus (6) Port Key (5) Gold Griffin (4) Our Coys
2nd Race: (4) Tight Five (5) Namib Desert (2) Bartholdi (6) Solace
3rd Race: (3) Crank It Up (2) Against The Grain (6) Oscar Wilde (5) Diorama
4th Race: (6) Phoenix (1) Magical Flight (5) Perfect Angel (4) Swiss Bank
5th Race: (3) Thumbs Up (2) Spring Break (1) Portico (5) Informative
6th Race: (1) Double O Eight (4) Risk Taker (2) BattleofTrafalgar (9) Rock The Globe
7th Race: (3) Shah Akbar (7) Al Muthana (8) Nartjie (1) Second Base
8th Race: (3) Illuminate (5) Virocana (10) Twice The Act (1) Pin Up
9th Race: (4) Fitzwilliam (5) The Contractor (3) Trend Master (2) Rock Of Africa
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