Those punters who fancy Saturday is going to be “Favourites Day” at Turffontein with wins by Malmoos, War Of Athena and Got the Greenlight can be accommodated by bookmaker Lance Michael. He is offering 5-1 for the treble.

“Studying form, one has to say all three look seriously hard to beat, but time and again it’s been proved there are no certainties in racing,” Michael said on Tuesday.

So who have the bookies got batting for them in these three feature races?

SA Derby: Malmoos and Luke Ferraris never put a foot wrong in the SA Classic, and the Triple Crown looks there for the taking for the Captain Al colt owned by the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum.

The bookies’ only chance of upsetting the favourite lies with Second Base, but Johan Janse van Vuuren’s charge somehow has to turn around two lengths on his SA Classic run.

SA Oaks: Pretty much the same story. War Of Athena’s pedigree suggests she will have no problem with the step up to 2,450m and Netta rates as the only danger. Muzi Yeni is sure to travel to the city track full of confidence.

Horse Chestnut Stakes: Got the Greenlight’s starting price of 13-2 suggested the layers felt they could beat the Durban July runner-up on his comeback run after a long absence. They were right as the four-year-old did get beaten in the Hawaii Stakes, but only narrowly by MK’s Pride.

However, this might be the weakest link of the three with Muzi’s mount having the possibility of going flat in his second run back. 

While Lyle Hewitson looks to have little chance of winning any of the big three races at the weekend, this season’s leading jockey should add to his total at the Vaal on Thursday. Both Magic Choice (third race) and Cornish Pomodoro (fourth) look hard to beat.

Cornish Pomodoro — backed down to 17-2 for the Summer Cup in November — has failed to win in his past six outings, but this presents the perfect opportunity to end that losing run.

Judged on merit-ratings, the only runner with any chance of beating the Tarry inmate is Paul Peter’s three-year-old Dr Doolittle. His supporters will point to the fact that the colt is unbeaten at the Free State track.

Magic Choice, a daughter of Willow Magic, will be sent off favourite for the third race unless there is support for the two well-bred newcomers, Miss Costa Rica and Quest From Afar.

Mike de Kock’s three-year-old filly Florentine could be a banker bet in Thursday’s seventh race as she was bred in the purple, being out of the talented mare Franny. She turned in a pleasing post-maiden effort and clearly is on the upgrade.

One of her most interesting rivals is Snow Symphony. The filly made a winning debut at Turffontein in December but has not been seen out since.

Moffatt’s game mare Rouge Allure makes the 75th appearance of her career in the sixth race. She has had a lot of racing this term and is likely to find another De Kock inmate, Due Diligence, too smart in this 1,400m contest.

De Kock thought enough of the daughter of Silvano to run her in the Fillies Guineas at Kenilworth in December in which she turned in a pleasing performance, finishing five lengths behind Captain’s Ransom.

Selections for the Vaal on Thursday

1st Race: (9) Gold Storm (1) Nussply (10) Only Him (2) Star Effect

2nd Race: (1) Gilboa (7) Global Vision (3) Watch Your Mouth (2) Fort Commander

3rd Race: (1) Magic Choice (2) Meet The Captain (10) Miss Costa Rica (12) Quest From Afar

4th Race: (2) Cornish Pomodoro (1) Dr Doolittle (3) Fred (4) French Leave

5th Race: (6) Imperial Duke (10) Atomic Blonde (9) Earl (7) Countfonic Legacy

6th Race: (2) Due Diligence (7) Laetitia’s Angel (8) All Of Me (9) Sheer Talent

7th Race: (3) Florentine (10) Snow Symphony (4) Rock You (6) Bebop

8th Race: (2) Golden Spoon (3) Un Deux Trois (12) Tika Taka (5) Grazinginthegrass


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