Jockey S’manga Khumalo — very much a part of the success story of dual Queen’s Plate winner Jet Dark — will hope to continue his good form when he rides Aussie import Al Muthana at the Vaal on Tuesday.
Khumalo was in the saddle when Jet Dark won the Chairman’s Cup at Greyville at the end of July and he maintained his 100% record on the colt with a two-lengths win at Kenilworth last Saturday.
“It’s a pleasure to have him [Khumalo] on such a beautiful animal,” enthused trainer Justin Snaith after the race.
Khumalo had a happier meeting than another Gauteng jockey, Gavin Lerena, who finished second in the Queen’s Plate on Durban July hero Kommetdieding. He was then spoken to by the Cape stipendiary board regarding his use of the whip but they didn’t impose any suspension.
Punters who lost their money on Kommetdieding will feel they can recoup the losses in the WSB Met in which the four-year-old will appreciate racing over a longer trip.
Al Muthana, a superbly bred four-year-old trained by Mike de Kock, looked to have an outstanding chance in the Charity Mile at the end of October but never recovered from a tardy start and finished fourth behind Bingwa.
From a favourable draw, Khumalo will hope to get Al Muthana out on terms with the rest of the field in Tuesday’s race and this is where this 1,600m could be won or lost.
There are well-performed horses in this nine-strong field including six-time winner Tierra Del Fuego, five-time winner Sound Of Summer and Lerena’s mount, Indlamu.
After a no-show in the Summer Cup, Tierra Del Fuego’s best days looked behind him, but he then turned in a great performance against star filly War Of Athena. Calvin Habib retains the ride on the six-year-old.
Snaith’s feature race treble last Saturday saw him overhaul Paul Peter at the top of the national trainers log. Peter has a solid chance of taking top honours with Sound Of Summer, who has posted three wins and four placings in his last seven outings.
Muzi Yeni had a rare blank day at Kenilworth last Saturday and his mount, Back To Black, could find a place with his light mass. The Roy Magner inmate made good late progress to finish fourth in December’s Grand Heritage Handicap.
Peter and leading jockey Warren Kennedy team up with six runners at the Free State track and both Dronfield (second race) and Godswood (seventh) have strong claims in their respective events.
Dronfield, a R100,000 son of Soft Falling Rain, may have most to fear from Mark Khan’s mount War Banner, while Godswood’s toughest rival is likely to be Ashley Fortune’s four-year-old, Captain Oupie.
Candice Dawson’s stable has been among the winners in recent weeks and her Captain Of All filly Just Be Nice will be one of the leading fancies in the first race. Though the filly hasn’t raced since September, top work rider Joe Gwingwizha has been booked for the ride.
A runner who can give Just Be Nice a run for her money is Peter’s Lady Osier, who was backed on her debut before Christmas and ran a promising second behind Insatiable.
1st Race: (10) Lady Osier (9) Just Be Nice (2) Quick Run (11) Sundrop
2nd Race: (1) Dronfield (10) War Banner (5) Trust The Fire (11) Love Bite
3rd Race: (2) Pianta (6) Country Flame (14) Mychancetodream (1) Oceans Pride
4th Race: (9) Lemme Go (11) Arabian Sky (2) Leeson (1) Blonde Act
5th Race: (6) Dancing Arabian (1) Lee Express (4) Mamaquera (8) Eternal Life
6th Race: (2) Al Muthana (1) Tierra Del Fuego (4) Sound Of Summer (10) Back To Black
7th Race: (2) Godswood (1) Captain Oupie (4) Marengo (7) Sheldon
8th Race: (3) Phinda Mzala (1) Irfaans Boy (9) Frontline Fighter (12) Raisetheredlantern
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