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

If there was a report card for the first three months of the season, the one for trainer Corné Spies would probably state “highly satisfactory”. The Vaal conditioner has sent out 12 winners from 98 runners and is in 13th place on the national log.

It suggests that Spies, who has won three grade 1 events and over 600 races since saddling his first winner in 2008, is on course to better last season’s 15th place in the trainers’ table.  

A horse who is proving a good purchase is Captain’s Run, a daughter of Captain Of All who has already recouped her R80,000 purchase price. The filly looks the likely winner of Thursday’s fifth race at the Vaal over the minimum trip of 1,000m.

Last time out, Captain’s Run finished second behind Lucy English and that winner seems above average and looks to have a big future for the Lucky Houdalakis camp.

Muzi Yeni’s mount Muleta rates the main danger to the Spies runner as Robbie Sage’s mare came close to registering her fourth win when second behind Before The Dawn at Turffontein. It was the five-year-old’s comeback run after a three-month break.

Brian Nyawo doesn’t get many rides but he has built up a good relationship with Roy Magner’s mare Seemyvision, winning twice on this daughter of Visionaire. Another success is a distinct possibility.

Spies’s eighth race runner Big City Girl can be given a place chance in the race, but this final leg of the jackpot may chiefly concern Sergei, Waqaas and Master Of Law.

Aussie import Waqaas won in good style at the Free State track last month and a six-point penalty might not prevent another visit to the winner’s enclosure. Sergei is proving costly to follow but represents the powerful Paul Peter-Warren Kennedy combination.

With their acquisition of horses previously owned by Chris van Niekerk, the Hollywood Syndicate are having increased numbers contesting races on the highveld and are double-handed in the fifth race.

It will be a surprise if the Hollywood colours do not triumph in this event as both Caralluma (Calvin Habib) and Twice The Trip (Gavin Lerena) have winning chances.

The worry about Caralluma is that the filly is returning from a 24-week break and Sean Tarry has told Winning Form that the four-year-old “may need the run”. However, her form last term — including a third behind War Of Athena in the Three Troikas Stakes — is superior to anything achieved by Twice The Trip.

La Valliere, a daughter of Louis The King trained by Lucky Houdalakis, could prove a danger as she has only raced three times and will appreciate stepping up to 1,400m.

Being number one rider for Paul Peter’s stable, Kennedy gets few rides for Mike de Kock, but the 2019/20 champion has been booked for Waya Yire in the fourth race. This R650,000 daughter of Querari drops back in distance and should go close.

Another Houdalakis inmate, Alabama Anna, also reverts to 1,000m and faced stronger opposition last time when fifth behind Freed From Desire at Turffontein.

Craig Zackey rides Alabama Anna and, earlier in the meeting, he will partner the likely favourite, Manhattan, in the second race.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: (8) Goddess Of Light (1) Moonstrike (9) Risky Business (5) Dancing Dora

2nd Race: (11) Manhattan (1) General Hancock (2) Coming In Hot (4) Castle Of Glass

3rd Race: (6) Captain’s Run (2) Muleta (3) Seemyvision (4) Slalom Queen

4th Race: (5) Waya Yire (2) Alabama Anna (1) Diamonds ’N Dust (4) Verinova

5th Race: (1) Caralluma (4) Twice The Trip (9) La Valliere (2) Gal Gadot

6th Race: (6) Balouchi (1) Majestic Mozart (2) Funky Music (3) Rock The Globe

7th Race: (4) Purple Panther (5) Ivalo’s Prince (1) Theory Of Flight (3) Nordic Rebel

8th Race: (2) Waqaas (3) Sergei (4) Master Of Law (6) Big City Girl

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