Khan’s backers ready to down a G&T
The five-time former champion jockey chooses his rides carefully these days
When it comes to comebacks in sport, two South Africans on the list would be Gary Player and five-time champion jockey Mark Khan.
Playing in the World Matchplay Championship at Wentworth in 1965, Player came back from seven down against Tony Lema to beat his US opponent on the 37th hole.
About two decades ago, Khan had a hugely successful partnership with champion trainer Geoff Woodruff, but in 2010 decided to retire after sustaining serious injuries in a fall during the previous season.
Then — seven years later — he announced he was returning to the saddle and in 2018 secured another grade 1 win on trainer Gary Alexander’s three-year-old, Hero’s Honour, in the SA Derby.
Now 52 years old, Khan seems to be choosing his mounts carefully, but he has a clear winning chance on four-year-old Gin And Tonic in the eighth race at the Vaal on Tuesday. Trained by Weiho Marwing, Gin And Tonic was slow away in her latest start but finished strongly to be just half a length behind the winner, Princess Sabrina.
Paul Peter’s filly, Goddess Of Light, has turned in two good efforts including a maiden win last month over Tuesday’s course and distance. She will have her supporters along with Midnight Gem who ran second behind Alula’s Star at the Vaal on Saturday.
Warren Kennedy had a disappointing ride on Fromheretoeternity in the WSB Grand Heritage Handicap and will be looking to boost his impressive seasonal total with seven mounts at the Free State track.
The pick of Kennedy’s rides may be La Banquiere (second race), Sing Girl Sing (third) and Flying Bull in the first leg of the jackpot. With three consecutive seconds to his name, Flying Bull is overdue for a second win and the gelding will face challenges from Dawn Of A New Era and Muzi Yeni’s mount, Bey Suyay.
Mike de Kock has booked this season’s leading rider for Sing Girl Sing in the third race and this Drakenstein Stud owned and bred daughter of Philanthropist should make a bold bid to leave the maiden ranks.
Ashley Fortune’s filly, Twice As Wild, stepped up on a moderate debut with a recent second behind Scottadito and this R310,000 buy has scope for further improvement.
Three withdrawals make life easier for Tuscan Winter in the seventh race with the four-year-old bidding to recoup losses when a beaten favourite at Turffontein in October. A tardy start did not help Tuscan Winter’s cause that day and Raymond Danielson — partnering the gelding for the first time — will want his mount to jump on terms. Back in July the son of What A Winter ran second to Grand Heritage Consolation winner Bowie.
Gary Player is one of the co-owners in Crimson Causeway who represents Gavin van Zyl’s highveld raiding party. The daughter of Gimmethegreenlight may appreciate reverting to a shorter trip.
• The latest news from Hong Kong about SA champion jockey Lyle Hewitson, who was injured in a fall on Sunday, is that doctors are happy with his scan result. The 24-year-old is likely to be moved to a general ward and then to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Hospital.
1st Race: (5) Jaipur Jewel (6) Zaviah (4) Apache Gold (7) Movelikejackson
2nd Race: (1) La Banquiere (4) Song Of Liberty (12) Full Royalty (2) Wonderful Rock
3rd Race: (3) Sing Girl Sing (12) Twice As Wild (5) Dancing Dora (1) Pianta
4th Race: (2) Flying Bull (7) Dawn Of A New Era (5) Bey Suyay (6) Top Wesselton
5th Race: (1) Dark Travel (4) Willow Lane (3) Koopa Troopa (5) Gilda Gray
6th Race: (7) Monsoon Kenny (6) This Generation (3) Princess Kesh (10) Rabia The Rebel
7th Race: (2) Tuscan Winter (1) Crimson Causeway (6) South Boy (10) Edward Longshanks
8th Race: (2) Gin And Tonic (1) Goddess Of Light (3) Midnight Gem (13) Samoa
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