Cape-based jockey Keagan De Melo, 28, has a problem with his ninth race mount, Zoffany’s Girl, at the Vaal on Thursday. The French-bred filly is drawn in the nearby river.
The scratchings of Global Approach and Ra’ed will reduce the field to 15 runners, but De Melo will know he’s got to be on top of his game. He will, however, have been impressed by the excellent debut South African run from Zoffany’s Girl at Turffontein last month.
Mike de Kock is the trainer of the four-year-old import and he will be hoping the filly fares better than Clafoutis last weekend. Sent off 5-2 favourite at Turffontein, the winner of her previous start by four lengths was never placed to challenge by jockey Gavin Lerena and finished a dismal fifth.
De Melo, who rode his first winner in August 2010, may have most to fear in the Vaal race from S’manga Khumalo’s mount Groomedtowin. This is the combination that won with Princess Sabrina (tipped by Business Day) at Turffontein on Monday.
Groomedtowin, one of several horses bought by the Hollywood Syndicate from leading owner Chris van Niekerk, is now in the care of Clinton Binda and, unlike Zoffany’s Girl, has a favourable draw.
De Melo has five other mounts at the Free State track including the filly Waya Yire for the De Kock stable in the fourth race. Interestingly, the three-year-old also races for the Hollywood Syndicate and she hinted a second win was close at hand when fourth in handicap company last time out.
Dorrie Sham, trainer of recent Steelrode grade 2 winner Bingwa, will be expecting a good run from Stolen Kiss with Craig Zackey booked to ride the filly for the first time.
Kabelo Matsunyane’s recent win on this column’s long-shot Summer Cup prediction Sparkling Water has seen him getting another opportunity for the De Kock stable in the sixth race.
He has been booked to partner Power Ranger, a R1m son of Silvano who races for the partnership of Maine Chance Farms and Mrs John Magnier, in the sixth race. The colt, who hasn’t raced since July, will sport blinkers for the first time.
Matsunyane will be expecting challenges from both My Master (Muzi Yeni) and Zeus (Gavin Lerena), but Power Ranger is unquestionably the best-bred horse in the race.
Though Warren Kennedy has now ridden 100 winners this term, Khumalo is keeping him in his sights and is reunited with the R1.2m son of Frankel, Juan Carlos, in the final leg of the jackpot.
This will be the third highveld start for Juan Carlos after his transfer from KwaZulu-Natal, and trainer Ashley Fortune will have been pleased with the colt’s recent close second behind Twin Turbo.
Platinum Sky — another Hollywood purchase from Van Niekerk — rates a big threat with this R575,000 Silvano colt, bred at Maine Chance Farms, making his fourth appearance for Sean Tarry. Humble Tune also comes into the reckoning from a favourable draw.
Tarry has a strong hand in the fifth race with three runners representing his yard. Bowie, the mount of Joshwin Solomons, rates the pick of the trio.
1st Race: (2) The Hound (6) Dronfield (1) Lulu’s Boy (8) Behold The Dawn
2nd Race: (1) La Banquiere (6) Dancing Dora (4) Miss United States (3) Queen Theodora
3rd Race: (1) Heavens Girl (7) Alulu’s Star (4) Hedwig (2) Lucy In The Sky
4th Race: (6) Waya Yire (3) Stolen Kiss (2) Kwazzi’s Lady (14) What Gives
5th Race: (3) Bowie (4) Ballon D’Or (6) Rock Of Africa (8) Noble Striker
6th Race: (2) Power Ranger (4) My Master (7) Zeus (6) English Primrose
7th Race: (1) Dawn Of A New Era (7) Sergei (8) Valencia (10) Master Of Law
8th Race: (2) Juan Carlos (5) Platinum Sky (6) Humble Tune (12) Monsoon Kenny
9th Race: (4) Zoffany’s Girl (11) Groomedtowin (1) Grand Escape (7) Quality Joker
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