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

The title of the 1994 hit movie Clear And Present Danger perfectly sums up trainer Mike de Kock’s feelings on Saturday’s grade 1 WSB SA Classic at Turffontein.              

Talking to Business Day on Thursday, De Kock said: “I rate Catch TwentyTwo a huge danger against my runner.” His runner is the ruling 14-10 favourite Malmoos.

However, the eight-times champion trainer remained bullish. “My fellow is 100% fit and if he wins on Saturday,  I believe he’ll go on and take the Triple Crown.”

Turffontein trainer Paul Peter and jockey Gavin Lerena will fancy their chances of turning the tables on Malmoos as Catch TwentyTwo was closing in throughout the final 200m of the Gauteng Guineas. The slight concern is the Elusive Fort gelding’s wide draw.

If a punter is in the De Kock camp, the quandary is when to back Malmoos. Last Friday The Gatekeeper was quoted at 15-10 for the Cape Derby, but bookies freely offered 4-1 close to the race. It might be prudent to leave a wager closer to “off” time.

Stablemates Copper Mountain and Second Base are again in the line-up, but there seems no reason they can upset the two fancied candidates. Nevertheless, it must be said both geldings have done their connections proud this term.

Malmoos’s stablemate Al Muthana has been a disappointment since winning his maiden and the Aussie import now gets the blinkers fitted. He looks unlikely to cause an upset, a remark which also applies to the Sean Tarry duo of Shah Akbar and Flying Carpet.

With the defection of Anything Goes, the Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic should be little more than a lap of honour for Paul Matchett’s star War Of Athena. Victory will take the Act Of War filly’s earnings to more than R1m.

Sparkling Water carries the colours of the sponsors and De Kock’s comment was: “It’s a rise in class but I’m hopeful she’ll make the first three.”

Despite her habit of forfeiting valuable ground at the start, Piere Strydom’s mount, Miss Elegance, goes to post in good order and should earn another place cheque.

A much better betting race is the Aquanaut Handicap which sees 12 runners compete over 2,400m. The principals are likely to be Don’t Look Back, Tyrus Express, Odd Rob, Smoking Hot and African Adventure.

Warren Kennedy is a realist and will know his Classic mounts have little chance, but it could be a different story on Candice Dawson’s runner Smoking Hot. While the filly always loses ground when the gates open, this may not matter too much over this marathon trip and she makes plenty of appeal with just 52kg on her back.

The handicapper must be wondering when he’s going to catch up with Don’t Look Back, with St John Gray’s five-year-old given a six-point penalty for his latest win. Still, he is carrying only 53.5kg compared with 58kg last time out.

African Adventure is weighted to turn the tables on Chitengo, and Muzi Yeni should not be far away on the Matchett inmate Tyrus Express.

Got The Greenlight, stablemate of African Adventure, returns to action in the Hawaii Stakes with his first appearance since his gallant second in the 2020 Durban July. It might be unwise to back the colt after such a long absence, but the market will be the best guide.

Expressfromtheus is weighted to get the better of Lady Of Steel this time, but there are plenty with chances including Paul Peter’s three-year-old MK’s Pride and Clinton Binda’s consistent six-year-old Whorly Whorly.

Pack Leader cost this writer dearly with his poor run in the Summer Cup, yet he seems to have come right in his past two outings and gets the vote for a fourth career win.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: No Selection

2nd Race: No Selection

3rd Race: (4) Golden Spoon (1) Lucy Belle (2) Belle Of Belize (6) Gal Gadot

4th Race: (1) Veld Flower (6) All Aglow (2) Lady Amherst (4) Making A Scene

5th Race: (10) Smoking Hot (8) Tyrus Express (4) African Adventure (9) Don’t Look Back

6th Race: (1) War Of Athena (6) Sparkling Water (3) Miss Elegance (8) Netta

7th Race: (1) Malmoos (2) Catch TwentyTwo (3) Copper Mountain (4) Second Base

8th Race: (6) Pack Leader (7) Whorly Whorly (1) Got The Green Light (11) MK’s Pride

9th Race: (4) Forever Mine (6) Double ‘O’ Eight (10) BattleofTrafalgar (3) Down To Zero

10th Race: (4) Bowie (6) Battle Force (11) Namaqualand (3) Holy Man

SA CLASSIC BETTING

(Supplied by bookmaker Lance Michael)

14-10 Malmoos

18-10 Catch TwentyTwo

5-1 Second Base

8-1 Copper Mountain

20-1 Others

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