Horses jump a fence during a hurdle race at the Cheltenham Festival in Gloucestershire, western England. Picture: REUTERS
Horses jump a fence during a hurdle race at the Cheltenham Festival in Gloucestershire, western England. Picture: REUTERS

Hollywoodbets was the quickest of the betting firms to price up on what is being termed “The Race Of The Year” at Turffontein on May 1.

Not long after Summer Pudding won the Empress Club Stakes last Saturday, Durban-based Hollywoodbets issued a market on the grade 1 Champions Challenge which could feature three of the country’s top horses — Malmoos, Got The Greenlight and Summer Pudding.

Hollywoodbets made Paul Peter’s superstar mare the 2-1 favourite followed by Malmoos and Got The Greenlight. World Sports Betting has now also priced up on the 2,000m race and the only difference is that it offers slightly longer odds about Got The Greenlight with 5-2 available for 2020’s Durban July runner-up.

Of course, the huge sadness about this clash of champions is that it will be run behind closed doors. At present only owners are allowed to attend race meetings.

Another fascinating aspect of the Champions Challenge is that it will bring together three top jockeys — Warren Kennedy, Muzi Yeni and Luke Ferraris.

After Summer Pudding had notched the 11th win of her career in the Empress Club Stakes, Kennedy enthused: “She’s captured the hearts of everyone in racing and even out of racing. She just keeps delivering.”

However, Malmoos, trained by eight-times champion Mike de Kock, has also delivered since his return from the Cape, capturing the Triple Crown and the R2m bonus which went with it. His regular jockey is Ferraris and he has earned more than any other rider in the first four months of 2021.

Yeni is the regular pilot of Running Brave — a creditable second in the Empress Club Stakes — but he looks certain to switch to Got The Greenlight for the Champions Challenge.

De Kock and Ferraris team up with the three-year-old filly Moments Like This, and the daughter of Kingbarns will be a warm order for the third race. The only concern is that the De Kock inmate hasn’t raced since last October, but if anywhere near her peak she should prove too smart for Miss Elegance and Querari Ferrari.

Kennedy has six mounts at the meeting and the pick of his sextet should be Sound Of Summer. He will bid to keep his unbeaten record by beating nine rivals in the fifth race.

A R370,000 buy as a yearling, Sound Of Summer justified favouritism on his debut at the city track in March and trainer Paul Peter will be hoping the gelding builds on his promising first run. A half-brother (by Gold Standard) to Sound Of Summer — consigned by Drakenstein Stud — was bought by Team G Racing for R100,000 at last week’s National Yearling Sales.

Sergei, a son of Soft Falling Rain, looks another good ride for Kennedy in the final event on the card. The three-year-old is certain to start favourite to leave the maidens at the sixth attempt.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: (11) Wokonda (3) Flashy Apache (5) Flower’s Ridge (1) Aragosta

2nd Race: (7) Look Yourself (4) Gilda Gray (3) Freedom Of Choice (1) Canary Walk

3rd Race: (6) Moments Like This (1) Miss Elegance (3) Querari Ferrari (2) Ecstatic Green

4th Race: (2) Indlamu (7) Run April Run (4) Bowie (3) Bartholdi

5th Race: (2) Sound Of Summer (5) Double Martini (1) Starflash (6) Governors Glory

6th Race: (6) Master And Man (2) Cash Time (1) Our Coys (3) Have A Go Jo

7th Race: (10) Humble Tune (1) Romeo’s Magic (4) Bold Resolve (6) Kool Baikal

8th Race: (1) Sergei (3) Masaaken (2) Waltzing Al (5) White Fang

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