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Picture: 123RF/ MELORYS
Picture: 123RF/ MELORYS

It has been a big season for owner Laurence Wernars. The charismatic businessman has signalled his intention that Kommetdieding won’t have matters all his own way in Saturday’s R2m Premier’s Champions Stakes at Turffontein. He has booked Anton Marcus for the ride on his Argentinian-bred gelding Puerto Manzano.

It means trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren has two runners in the grade 1 race with Keagan De Melo staying loyal to Second Base. De Melo was in the saddle when Puerto Manzano went down by only three parts of a length to MK’s Pride in the recent Horse Chestnut Stakes.

Marcus will hopefully get a better tune out of Puerto Manzano than he did out of She’s A Keeper in last Saturday’s Empress Club Stakes. The mare was badly drawn but was never placed to challenge and trailed nearly six lengths behind Princess Calla.

Trainer Gareth van Zyl will be disappointed with the performance as She’s A Keeper had finished only a length adrift of Princess Calla in the Paddock Stakes at Kenilworth.

Second Base ran second behind Got The Greenlight in the 2021 Premier’s and his recent course and distance win give Wernars another string to his bow.

Though Mike de Kock will be pleased with Sparkling Water’s third in the Empress Club Stakes, punters should not back the filly for Saturday’s race without a “with a run” guarantee. Her participation will depend on the five-time champion trainer determining whether she can handle two races in a week.

There is also a jockey change on the SA Derby runner-up, Zeus, who has won four of his six starts. De Melo rode Fabian Habib’s three-year-old in the final leg of the Triple Crown, but Craig Zackey got the call to partner the son of Soft Falling Rain in Saturday’s race.

The Vaal hosts an eight-race programme on Tuesday and Kommetdieding’s regular pilot Gavin Lerena will be expecting to win the fourth race on the favourite, Shikoku. The filly has finished second in two of her three starts.

A win by Shikoku would be timely as Winterbach Stud (as agent) is offering her half-sister by Flower Alley at the National Yearling Sales on Friday.

Roy Magner trains Shikoku and it could prove a good meeting for his stable as Lerena could also capture the second race on the two-year-old colt Taikonaut. A R600,000 buy as a yearling, the Twice Over colt ran second over Tuesday’s course and distance in March.

Once again a stud will be interested in the outcome of a race. Cheveley bred Taikonaut and will be selling his half-brother by Querari at the sale on Friday.

The early favourite in this race is Sean Tarry’s youngster Without Equal with Warren Kennedy engaged to partner the son of Pomodoro.

Punters look to have a banker in the sixth race in which De Melo’s mount, Remember When, is the best-weighted runner by a long way. The filly — owned by Laurence Wernars — has a merit rating of 103, with her nearest rival, Look Yourself, on 88.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: (1) Vengeance Forever (3) Gimme A Dream (9) Ships At Sea (6) Big Guy

2nd Race: (8) Taikonaut (11) Without Equal (6) Seattlegreenlight (10) Twin Strike

3rd Race: (6) Expeditioner (8) Time Silhouette (1) Connection (3) Grey View

4th Race: (1) Shikoku (9) Zanobian Princess (5) Mon Tresor (3) Country Flame

5th Race: (6) Lucy English (4) Ultra Quick (2) Supreme Warrior (7) Fast Love

6th Race: (1) Remember When (4) Imbewu (5) Gin And Tonic (2) Look Yourself

7th Race: (6) Moya Wa Laliga (2) Kotinos (1) Epic Dream (8) Midnight Badger

8th Race: (8) Escape Artist (2) Motor City Hitman (4) Chyavana (6) Letsdoit 

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