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Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

Roy Magner, who won the Zimbabwean trainers’ championship before moving to SA, has a chance of winning the first three races at the Vaal on Thursday.

Magner has had a number of top horses through his hands and looks to have another exciting prospect in his two-year-old colt Taikonaut in the second race.

Robert Chung has been a loyal owner in the Magner stable and the Hong Kong businessman went to R600,000 to secure the son of Twice Over as a yearling.

Breeders Cheveley Stud offered his half-brother (by Querari) at last month’s National Yearling Sales and Magner was involved in the bidding. In the end the youngster was knocked down to Greg Bortz for R700,000.

Bookmakers put up 11-10 as the early price about Taikonaut, but it will be no surprise if he starts a lot shorter by “off” time.

Vartacus and Rose Velvet — both third last time out — are the chief threats to Magner’s runner. The latter will be ridden by Keagan De Melo, who is in third place on the jockeys’ log and enjoying an excellent season.

Gavin Lerena has been booked to partner Taikonaut and is also due to ride stablemate United Express in the first race. A daughter of United States, the filly has been placed in five of her six starts.

Her most serious rival could be Querulous, another De Melo mount and the speedy daughter of Querari.

If Magner does win the first two races, he will be relying on Stormy Lass to complete the stable hat-trick in the third event on the eight-race programme.

With British Diva scratched, Stormy Seas is opposed by only 10 runners and the pick on form are Smelting, Nazdarovya and Special Plea. The first-named may prefer reverting to the minimum trip.

Trainer Stuart Pettigrew scored with Vars Vicky at the Free State track on Tuesday and his filly Bold Fortune will be seeking the seventh win of her career when she lines up for the sixth race over 1,800m.

Pettigrew has booked apprentice Siyanda Sosibo for the ride and this may be the best horse the youngster has ridden in his short career. The filly’s last run was in the Empress Club Stakes at Turffontein.

Young Sosibo will be taking on one of his idols, Muzi Yeni, who partners eight-time winner Golden Pheasant. The seven-year-old has enjoyed a good season and ran third behind Flying Carpet in the Summer Cup in November.

ExpressfromtheUS gives the Pettigrew yard back-up and the gelding was beaten by Golden Pheasant last time out. The two  horses meet on the same terms.

A total of five horses journey to the track for Pettigrew. Another  fancied runner is Gilded Butterfly, who boasts a win and four placings from her five outings. The filly runs in the seventh race and will be ridden by Diego De Gouveia.

Lining up against Gilded Butterfly is Good Queen Bess, and trainer Mike de Kock must be frustrated that this choicely bred filly is just a one-time winner. The daughter of Kingman was a confident selection in this column last time out, but even Richard Fourie couldn’t get her home in front.

While Good Queen Bess will have to be included in exotic perms, she falls into the category “comes with risks”.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: (9) United Express (5) Querulous (2) Gimme The Flame (7) Second Breath

2nd Race: (4) Taikonaut (6) Vartacus (8) Rose Velvet (3) Pinch Hit

3rd Race: (2) Stormy Lass (3) Smelting (1) Nazdarovya (5) Special Plea

4th Race: (10) Woodland Ridge (4) Forever Free (8) Anfields Rocket (1) Captain Persia

5th Race: (4) Light Of The Moon (3) Have A Go Jo (1) Nartjie (8) Rule Book

6th Race: (4) Bold Fortune (1) Golden Pheasant (3) ExpressfromtheUS (2) Shango

7th Race: (7) Gilded Butterfly (2) Good Queen Bess (1) McKenna Skye (3) Golden Spoon

8th Race: (1) Duke Of Rain (8) Devilish Dancer (6) Wondering Star (10) Bella Rosa

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