Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP
Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP

While Paul Matchett and Muzi Yeni will be gutted War Of Athena failed to win the horse-of-the-year title, they will put that setback behind them and concentrate on a bright start to the new season.

A former champion trainer in Zimbabwe, Matchett will be more than happy with his seventh place finish on the national trainers log last term. He finished in 16th place in the 2019/20 season.

Matchett and Yeni team up with the four-year-old Lady Of The Flame in the sixth race at the Vaal on Tuesday and the daughter of Act of War — the sire of War Of Athena — can take advantage of a drop in class to post her second win.

Yeni — a 3-1 chance to secure his first jockey’s title — will be expecting a challenge from S’manga Khumalo on Fanie Bronkhorst’s runner Tinder Dry. The Futura filly followed up her maiden win with a respectable third behind Rabia The Rebel on her handicap debut.

Sean Tarry saddles Senescence but the mare is proving costly to follow and started favourite when finishing behind Tinder Dry in the race won by Rabia The Rebel. Lyle Hewitson is booked for the ride, but he missed Sunday's meeting at Turffontein.

Code Zero, who makes the fourth appearance of his career in the third race, has a chance of giving Matchett and Yeni the first leg of a double when the Master Of My Fate filly runs in the third race. Not many horses bred at Varsfontein Stud are sold for R15,000, but that was the price paid for her as a yearling.

Perhaps unfortunately for Code Zero backers, Mike de Kock has chosen this race for his R320,000 Vercingetorix filly Lilliana. The three-year-old finished second when taking on winners in her second start at Turffontein in July.

Another filly bred at Varsfontein, Cap Estel, also only cost R15,000 and she can improve with blinkers fitted for the first time.

Warren Kennedy has been quick out of the blocks in the first three weeks of the season and he has six booked rides on Tuesday — four for trainer Paul Peter. In the fourth race Kennedy and Peter team up with Burmese Tiara who looks ready to leave the maiden ranks after a recent third behind Willow Lane. The filly’s half-sister (by Soft Falling Rain) sold for R65,000 at last week’s August Two-Year-Old Sale.

Yeni has another fancied mount in this 1,450m contest as Weiho Marwing's filly Time Request has each-way claims judged on her fourth behind Lady Shamrock. Kissed By Fire is another who warrants inclusion in exotic perms.

The big question about the Kennedy-Peter runner, Ideal Jet, is whether the Ideal World filly can give 9.5kg to Yeni's mount Splash Of Green. The daughter of Gimmethegreenlight is back home after running behind Rain In Holland in a feature race at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Champions Cup day.

Steve Moffatt’s filly Opera Glass should not be far away after her recent run in which she produced the best finish to beat Southern Song. Khumalo rides the four-year-old for the first time.

Following five consecutive visits to the second box, it will take a brave punter to place a large bet on Abalus in the second race but the Jackson filly might finally get it right. Nevertheless, the vote goes to Alula's Star who turned in a fine effort on her debut earlier this month.

Selections

1st Race: No Selection

2nd Race: (3) Alula's Star (1) Abalus (9) Iphiko (5) Rosenwind

3rd Race: (4) Lilliana (1) Code Zero (5) Cap Estel (3) Gilda Gray

4th Race: (1) Burmese Tiara (2) Kissed By Fire (5) Time Request (4) Rapid Charge

5th Race: (6) Splash Of Green (1) Ideal Jet (3) Opera Glass (2) Rock You

6th Race: (1) Lady Of The Flame (7) Tinder Dry (4) Senescence (3) Rabia The Rebel

7th Race: (4) Qunetra (2) Funky Music (1) Suited Connector (7) Waqaas

8th Race: (7) Capetown Affair (4) Signals (2) Elusive Swann (8) Theroseofbecharre

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