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As bad weather continues to play havoc with highveld racing, perhaps the best bet is that Tuesday’s nine-race programme at the Vaal won’t be completed.
In the past 10 days the Summer Cup was postponed for three days, last Thursday’s meeting at the Vaal was washed out and the last three races at Turffontein on Saturday were abandoned.
If racing does get the green light at the Vaal on Tuesday, the winning Summer Cup combination of Sean Tarry and Calvin Habib will be bidding for more success. The young rider has four mounts for the former champion trainer.
The pick of the quartet may be the lightly raced four-year-old filly Aryaam, who takes on eight rivals in the final leg of the jackpot. Last time out the daughter of Dynasty finished a close fourth behind Opera Glass and will be 2kg better off on this occasion.
Opera Glass has been an excellent earner for Steve Moffat’s stable this year winning four of her last six races. With S’manga Khumalo suspended, Gavin Lerena will partner this R70,000 daughter of Flower Alley.
Lady Amherst, Snow Palace and recent winner Fire Flower rate chances on their best form, but Aryaam should make a bold bid to win the second race of her career.
Tarry and Habib team up with three-time winner Magical Flight in the third race and the four-year-old may have finished closer in her latest start if her apprentice rider hadn’t dropped his whip.
While only six runners will face the starter in this 1,600m contest, the field includes Stuart Pettigrew’s filly Lemon Delight, who receives weight from all her rivals.
A former inmate of Candice Bass-Robinson’s stable in the Cape, Lemon Delight ran third behind Majestic Mozart on her highveld debut and that winner went on to run second in the Summer Cup.
At Kenilworth last Saturday Bass-Robinson saddled Santa Maria in the grade 2 Southern Cross Stakes and the Trippi filly flew late to take third place. The three-year-old’s half-sister, River Doon, runs in the fourth race at the Vaal and makes plenty of appeal with apprentice Kaidan Brewer claiming his 4kg allowance.
River Doon is a member of a small team of Gavin van Zyl’s domiciled at Randjesfontein training centre and his runner may have most to fear from Johan Janse van Vuuren’s filly Run April Run. The daughter of Act Of War hasn’t many miles on the clock and will hopefully perform better than stablemate Second Base, who never raised a gallop in the Summer Cup.
Though the defeats of Desert Miracle and Jet Dark meant it was a disappointing trip to the Cape for jockey Lerena last weekend, he has eight booked rides at Tuesday’s meeting and should go close on Definitely Maybe (seventh race) and Samuel Salt in the final leg of the Pick Six.
Definitely Maybe has won two of her three starts and will be fancied to complete the hat-trick by beating Flame Flower and Eternal Life. The former — a member of the Paul Peter stable — is hard to assess as he won a Work Riders’ event at the Free State track in October.
Flame Flower’s stablemate, Midnight Badger, is weighted to turn the tables on Samuel Salt in the ninth race but Lerena’s mount will be no pushover. The jockey has won on Clinton Binda’s three-year-old who ran well behind Freed From Desire at Turffontein last month.
1st Race: (20) What A Honey (1) Lazuli (2) Stepintospring (4) Risky Business
2nd Race: (1) General Hancock (13) Goethe (2) Bevoeterd (6) Trust The Fire
3rd Race: (6) Lemon Delight (3) Magical Flight (1) Shivers (5) Goodtime Guy
4th Race: (1) River Doon (2) Run April Run (3) Terra Time (4) Zuzan
5th Race: (9) West Point (8) McKenna Skye (20) Zabarjad (5) No Time Is Taken
6th Race: (11) Go Dream Machine (6) Dance Partner (7) Liverpool Legend (10) Western Dance
7th Race: (9) Definitely Maybe (4) Flame Flower (7) Eternal Life (8) Tinder Dry
8th Race: (7) Aryaam (2) Opera Glass (3) Snow Palace (1) Lady Amherst
9th Race: (2) Samuel Salt (11) Midnight Badger (13) The Makwakkers (15) Informative
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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.