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

With a poor turnout for the Colorado King Stakes, the best betting race on Saturday’s card at Turffontein should be the Protea Stakes with 10 runners, nine of whom have won at least one race.

The top stables of Sean Tarry and Paul Peter look likely to dominate the finish with two fillies each representing the two yards in the grade 3 event.

The two Tarry runners are Under Your Spell and Social Image with the booking of Lyle Hewitson for the former suggesting the daughter of CapeTown Noir is the stable elect.

However, it is possible that Calvin Habib, who has been in good form in recent weeks, could spoil the party for Hewitson on stablemate Social Image.

When the nominations for the race were made, this column spotted the name of Sheela, who stopped the clock at 56,69 sec when making a winning debut at the Vaal in February.

For whatever reason, the Azzie team did not accept with Sheela, but Social Image filled the runner-up spot which was a promising run. Habib was in the saddle that day and retains the ride on Saturday.

The Peter duo are Cold Fact (Gavin Lerena) and Heavens Girl (Warren Kennedy). Though Cold Fact has won both her starts, it is surely a sign that Kennedy will be aboard Heavens Girl as he partners most of the plum rides for the Peter stable.

Kennedy has won on both fillies scoring on Cold Fact last December and Heavens Girl at the Vaal at the end of January. Cold Fact will be returning from an 11-week break.

Of the other runners, Under Your Spell holds Dorrie Sham’s filly Naarah on their running in the Ruffian Stakes, while Gin And Tonic has each-way claims for the Marwing brothers.

The fact that Peter runs Heart Stwings and Portico in the Colorado King Stakes prevents the grade 2 event from having a four-horse field.

Of course, the return of horse-of-the-year Summer Pudding would have been a big drawcard if racing fans were allowed on course, but sadly they are not. Still, fans will be glued to their TV sets hoping to see the Silvano filly notch her 10th win and make her defeat in the Paddock Stakes just a bad memory.

If Summer Pudding, who has the grade 1 Champions Challenge and Durban July as her objectives, is 75% fit it should be enough to land the R150,000 first prize.

Her only danger is Youcanthurrylove, but not only was Fabian Habib's four-year-old beaten 18 lengths in the Summer Cup, her merit-rating is 17 points inferior to that of Summer Pudding. Zilzaal did win his last start, but finished way back in the Cup.

Trainer Lucky Houdalakis has sent out 31 winners this term and should add to that tally when Wisteria Walk takes on six rivals in the first leg of the Pick Six. There was lots to like about the filly's second in the Acacia Handicap.

Though Ashley Fortune’s runner Duchess Of Now, also to be ridden by Habib, could be anything after an impressive debut win in January, another Houdalakis runner, Capitiana, could go well at big odds in the eighth race.

Selections: 

1st Race: (9) Two Fools Collide (7) Last Song (3) Sudden Break (6) It's Raining Men

2nd Race: (7) South Boy (4) Katzenthal (1) Eyes On Tiger (9) Belle Of Belize

3rd Race: (1) Ra’ed (2) Enigma Code (3) Soldiers Song (13) Understated

4th Race: (2) Wisteria Walk (5) Cordillera (1) Magic School (4) Rouge Allure

5th Race: (4) Freedom Seeker (6) Ulla (2) Mind Reader (1) Greens

6th Race: (8) Social Image (7) Heavens Girl (4) Under Your Spell (2) Cold Fact

7th Race: (4) Summer Pudding (2) Youcanthurrylove (1) Zillzaal (3) Divine Odyssey

8th Race: (3) Capitiana (2) Duchess Of Now (9) Afternoon Tea (10) Lagertha

9th Race: (11) Senescence (14) Flying First Class (5) Manitoba (2) Blue Spark

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