Houdalakis hopes for birthday winner at Turffontein
Trainer is closing in on half century of winners for the season, having already bettered last term’s tally of 31
In a 2014 interview, trainer Lucky Houdalakis quipped: “What you see is what you get.” Seven years down the line his patrons — now including Drakenstein and Wilgerbosdrift studs — clearly like what they see.
Despite a health scare last year, a double at the Vaal on Tuesday saw Houdalakis closing in on his half century of winners for the season. He has already bettered last term’s tally of 31.
Though there are no JJ The Jet Planes in the Vaal stable at present, he will be hopeful of a birthday winner at Turffontein on Saturday. He turns 58 on Sunday.
Four runners from the yard do duty at the city track and the two with the best chances are Trend Master (seventh race) and Now You See Me in the final leg of the Pick Six.
Trend Master, a R275,000 son of Master Of My Fate, beat Reunion at the Vaal in May and the runner-up franked that form with a win at his next start.
Tyrus Express has played his part in a successful campaign for Paul Matchett and Muzi Yeni and the five-year-old won over Saturday’s course and distance in February. However, the gelding has to concede 4kg to Trend Master.
Lord Melbourne, stablemate of Trend Master, gives the stable backup with Raymond Danielson booked for the ride on the son of Duke Of Marmalade.
Not surprisingly, Paul Peter’s unbeaten filly Beyond The Runway has been priced up second favourite for the ninth race with Now You See Me on offer at 9-2. That looks an attractive price in view of the mare’s consistent form and the fact she is 2kg better off with Galaxy Raiders compared to their clash on the Turffontein inside track last month.
Muzi Yeni could also mount a challenge in this race on Aflame as he has partnered Robbie Sage’s filly in the majority of her races.
Another attractive price is the 15-2 about Aussie-bred Freedom Seeker who carries the colours of Hassan Adams in the eighth race. This is the filly’s fifth outing for trainer Weiho Marwing and it looks significant that Gavin Lerena retains the ride on the four-year-old.
Lerena will be aware that his mount faces no easy task in conceding 3kg to Mike de Kock’s runner Chloris. While the Flower Alley filly is taking a rise in class, she turned in a pleasing effort last time out when third behind Lee Express.
Lee Express is also in the line-up and as she is a two-time winner with the best draw, her chance has to be respected. Yeni is the seventh different jockey engaged for the daughter of Vercingetorix.
Champion jockey Warren Kennedy must believe he has a shout on She’s A Keeper in the Durban July despite bookies rating his mount as a 25-1 chance for the big race.
Kennedy has seven booked rides at Turffontein — five of them for trainer Paul Peter. Mufasa could kick-start his day in the first race provided the What A Winter colt can beat another impressive recent winner Cartel Boss.
Freed From Desire faces a far tougher task against Bold Act and Bon Vivant in the second race, but it is surely a pointer he rides the daughter of Jackson instead of stablemate Bathing Beauty. Jackson is now standing locally at Heversham Park Farm.
Only six runners will face the starter in the sixth race in which the Peter-Kennedy partnership team up with two-time winner Sound Of Summer. A daughter of the unraced American mare Peace Bell, the Silvano filly faces her toughest test against Kingsley's Heart, Gee For Go and Nartjie. The latter nearly ended up in Rosettenville when failing to corner on his latest visit to the track.
1st Race: (2) Mufasa (1) Cartel Boss (4) Green Taffety (3) Arctic Skyline
2nd Race: (2) Bold Act (5) Freed From Desire (1) Bathing Beauty (3) Bon Vivant
3rd Race: (5) Mitch Got His Wish (8) Top Wesselton (7) Platinum Sky (3) Gandalf The Bay
4th Race: (6) Bureau De Legende (5) Abalus (2) Zulu War Cry (3) Lil Wahoo
5th Race: (4) Indlamu (5) Rock The Globe (6) Dark Tide (1) Astrix
6th Race: (4) Sound Of Summer (2) Kingsley's Heart (5) Gee For Go (6) Nartjie
7th Race: (5) Trend Master (1) Tyrus Express (4) Zeal And Zest (6) Lord Melbourne
8th Race: (4) Freedom Seeker (8) Chloris (9) Lee Express (2) Spice Market
9th Race: (4) Now You See Me (1) Beyond The Runway (2) Galaxy Raiders (5) Aflame
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.