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Similar to the Grand National, the big appeal about the 3,200m Gold Cup — to be run at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday — is that it affords punters the chance of finding a long-shot winner.
In this year’s race — sponsored for the first time by Marshalls World Of Sport — two horses, Nebraas and Silver Host, have dominated the betting market for the past fortnight.
However, it’s this column’s belief that trainer Kumaran Naidoo’s stayer Dream Destiny fits the bill in the long-shot category. The five-year-old is a 25-1 chance to win and 7-2 to place with most bookmakers.
It is predicted that the quartet pool could reach R4m and the suggestion is to double float Silver Host and Dream Destiny with Nebraas, Holy Warrior, Out Of Your League, Don’t Look Back, Bayberry and African Adventure. The bet will cost R90 for 25%.
Dream Destiny’s second behind Silver Host at Scottsville was a top performance and the gelding will be 3.5kg better off with the Snaith inmate this time. Apprentice Thabiso Gumede was in the saddle that day, but Naidoo has called up a more experienced rider in Calvin Habib who has ridden 47 winners this term.
While it’s a worry that Habib has never ridden the horse, the 23-year-old has been booting home the winners in Gauteng and will have to be at the top of his game to overcome the worst draw.
Sean Tarry’s stable hasn’t enjoyed much success in big races this term, but Nebraas could change all that and jockey Lyle Hewitson would love to sign off with a win prior to his departure for Japan in a week’s time.
Certainly, there was plenty to like about Nebraas’s Gold Vase win on July day and that run proves he will easily see out Saturday’s marathon trip. Nevertheless, the four-year-old’s five lengths defeat by Trend Master at the Vaal in May remains a concern.
Silver Host could put the cherry on top of Justin Snaith capturing another trainers title and a repeat of his Scottsville effort could see him take the R375,000 first prize.
All of Out Of Your League, Holy Warrior, Don’t Look Back and African Adventure are on the shortlist of possible winners with the first’s recent Turffontein win suggesting he has peaked at the right time.
Far and away the most interesting race on the card is the HKJC Champions Cup in which Got The Greenlight is the short-priced favourite to recoup Durban July losses.
Though the form points to Joe Soma’s charge, pundits rightly point to the fact that Do It Again had a troubled passage in the July and the Snaith camp has a second string to its bow in Queen’s Plate victor Dark Jet. Only Justin and Jonathan Snaith will know if the son of Trippi is capable of capturing another grade 1 prize after a long absence.
Catch Twentytwo has enjoyed an outstanding season and is in the mix and a first-three finish looks on the cards.
Earlier in the meeting champion jockey Warren Kennedy can end the campaign on a high by taking the Umkhomazi Stakes on Gareth van Zyl’s youngster Gallic Chief. The two-year-old had a shocking draw for his latest outing and will also appreciate reverting to 1,200m.
In the Premier Champions Stakes Corné Spies’s youngster William Robertson, who also had a bad draw last time out, now jumps from stall four. No doubt Hewitson would have liked to be in the saddle once again, but amazingly he’s without a mount in the 1,200m contest.
Spies has gone with Ryan Munger which could be a good call as he has won and been placed on the son of Rafeef.
It’s sad that Summer Pudding’s final bow won’t be in front of her legion of fans, but a happy ending is far from assured in the closing race, the Kuda Gold Bracelet.
The filly looks too short in the ante-post market and the best way to bet on the grade 2 contest could be to rove Chat Ching in the trifecta with Summer Pudding, She’s A Keeper, Victoria Paige, Scented Mistress and SentbyDestiny. The bet will cost R60.
MARSHALLS GOLD CUP
1 (15) Dream Destiny
2 (13) Silver Host
3 (14) Nebraas
4 (12) Out Of Your League
1st Race: (2) Indlamu (11) Native Tongue (12) Silver Operator (10) Cat Daddy
2nd Race: (11) No Laying Up (5) Spydas Corner (12) Valyrian King (1) Pray For Rain
3rd Race: (5) Pattyns Pride (6) Remember When (1) Twice The Trip (12) Sashay Away
4th Race: (7) Gallic Chief (4) Bon Vivant (2) Dyce (8) Isivunguvungu
5th Race: (7) Rain In Holland (1) Supreme Quest (4) Kailene (9) Bold Act
6th Race: (4) William Robertson (10) Waterberry Lane (8) Anytime Champ (6) Gaudis Masterpiece
8th Race: (3) Rio Querari (12) Al Sakeet (6) Gallic Princess (2) MK’s Pride
9th Race: (4) Got The Greenlight (5) Catch Twentytwo (9) Do It Again (6) Jet Dark
10th Race: (8) Chat Ching (2) She’s A Keeper (13) Summer Pudding (7) Victoria Paige
GOLD CUP BETTING
(Supplied by bookmaker Lance Michael)
9-2 Silver Host
7-1 African Adventure
10-1 Out Of Your League
14-1 Holy Warrior
16-1 Don’t Look Back, Chitengo, Bayberry
20-1 Dream Destiny, Sunshine Silk
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.