Trainer Ashley Fortune may hold the key to up-and-coming riders Philasande Mxoli and Kyle Strydom getting among the winners in the three races confined to apprentices at the Vaal on Thursday.

Fortune, riding high in seventh place in the trainers log, will saddle three runners at the Free State track and all have strong chances based on form.

In the third race, Mxoli will partner Fortune’s three-year-old filly Silvery Blue, who has finished runner-up in her last two starts. The grey steps up to 1,700m for the first time but should have no trouble in staying the distance.

Strydom has a famous uncle in Piere Strydom and he partners Fasinada for the in-form stable of Brett Webber. The four-year-old has an each-way chance but won’t find it easy conceding 5.5kg to Silvery Blue.

Rachel Venneker had a double at last Saturday’s Turffontein meeting and she will be able to claim her full 4kg allowance on David Nieuwenhuizen’s What A Winter filly Maboneng. The three-year-old started her career with Fortune.

Mike de Kock is riding the crest of a wave and there is likely to be solid support for his runner Monashada. The daughter of Silvano should go well from a favourable draw.

In the fifth race — the second of the three apprentice events — Kyle Strydom will be on Fortune’s Dynasty gelding Secret Is Ours who failed to justify being favourite on her debut for the stable at Turffontein last month.

Secret Is Ours cost Kestorm Investments R800,000 as a yearling and to date the gelding has recouped only 10% of that outlay. The grey should make a bold bid for his second win but won’t find it easy against Venniker’s mount Flying Grace.

Trainer Clinton Binda will be happy the young female rider can claim her 4kg allowance and the Master Of My Fate gelding could be another winner for the Hollywood Syndicate.

Blue Moon City (Xola Jacobs) and Tinder Dry (Kaidan Brewer) enter calculations in this 1,800m event along with Dorrie Sham’s representative League Of Her Own (Jeffrey Syster).

Another horse who cost R800,000 and is battling for a second win is Candice Dawson’s filly Miracle And Wonder. Mxoli rides the Captain Al filly for the first time in the sixth race and will be hoping his mount can contest the finish.

This is the most competitive of the three apprentice races as half the field can be given chances including Strydom’s mount Flinders Range, The Makwakkers (Syster), McKenna Skye (Joshwin Solomons) and Venneker’s ride Dark Travel.

The outcome of the eighth race — not an apprentice event — hinges on whether Roy Magner’s filly Hollywoodbound is in need of a run after a four-month break. It’s encouraging that her trainer told Winning Form “rested, now fit and well”.

Consequently, Hollywoodbound — third in the Golden Slipper at Greyville in July — has to be included in all exotic bets along with Meet The Captain and Paul Peter’s lightly raced three-year-old Sprinkles.

Though Meet The Captain received an eight-point hike for her recent win, she should still go close in the hands of S’manga Khumalo. The swinger coupling her with Hollywoodbound makes plenty of appeal.


1st Race: (8) Definitely Maybe (1) Montbleu (2) Kiss To Dream (4) Twice A Miracle

2nd Race: (4) Magnum P I (3) Admiral Dooley (1) Quality Joker (7) With Pleasure

3rd Race: (6) Silvery Blue (8) Monashada (2) Willow Lane (1) Fasinada

4th Race: (6) Safe Passage (3) Back To Black (2) Willow’s Wish (1) Infinite Wonder

5th Race: (5) Secret Is Ours (1) Flying Grace (4) Blue Moon City (6) League Of Her Own

6th Race: (4) Miracle And Wonder (2) The Makwakkers (6) Dark Travel (1) Flinders Range

7th Race: (2) May Queen (8) Phoenix (4) Now You See Me (5) Sweet And Spicy

8th Race: (6) Meet The Captain (1) Hollywoodbound (3) Sprinkles (2) Tallinn


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