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Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

In searching for a big-race winner there is now one serious consideration for pundits and punters — they have to weigh in the Richard Fourie factor. His win on Al Muthana in the Gold Challenge last Saturday was his seventh grade 1 success of the season equalling Jeff Lloyd’s record.  

Fourie, who went freelance in December, has never ridden better in his career. It looked possible he would win the highveld “jockey of the season” award, but the voting panel went for Warren Kennedy, which was a fair enough call.

Last Friday this column put Al Muthana in the mix for the Gold Challenge, but principally for a place. We stated: “Al Muthana — arguably the best-bred horse in the field — will be ridden for the first time by Richard Fourie. Swingers with Jet Dark could prove lucrative.” The dividend was R5.

It begs the question — how come S’manga Khumalo didn’t get a better tune out of Al Muthana when the import was beaten five lengths by MK’s Pride in the Horse Chestnut? There were no Jet Dark or Linebackers in that race.

The final July field will be announced on June 21 and everyone wants to know what Fourie will be riding. It had been presumed the 36-year-old would partner Pomp And Power after his good run in the Daily News, but there might be other options on the table in the jockey’s quest for his fourth July win.

What about Aragosta? Fourie won the SA Derby on the gelding so knows he gets the July trip and Mike de Kock will have viewed his Daily News third as a promising run. Bookmaker Lance Michael quotes Aragosta at 16-1 and those odds look far more appealing for an each-way punt than Al Muthana (14-1) who is not bred to get the trip.

As had seemed likely, Linebacker is very much back in the picture (current price 13-2) and — on reflection — the right move would have been to back the four-year-old last week when he was a 10-1 chance.

Back in February, this column advised support of Sparkling Water (then 33-1 and now 6-1) and those readers who took that advice are sitting pretty. They can also back Linebacker as there is no rule against backing two horses in a race.

Kommetdieding’s jockey Gavin Lerena has seven booked rides at the Vaal on Tuesday and has good chances on Imbewu (third race) and Waqaas in the final leg of the Pick 6.

Lerena is also in with a shout of causing an upset on Esqueville in the eighth race as Clinton Binda’s three-year-old drops in class and may have benefited from his 14-week break. The likely favourite in this race is Paul Peter’s filly, No Time Is Taken, so once again a swinger is recommended coupling Esqueville with Peter’s runner.

Hollywoodbets Durban July entry, Flying Carpet, will be the banker bet at the meeting with the Summer Cup victor opposed by six rivals in the fourth race. Warren Kennedy’s mount Ocean Warrior may fill the runner-up berth.

Meanwhile, Baaeed will be the big drawcard on the first day of Royal Ascot on Tuesday, but he is quoted at 1-4 for the Queen Anne Stakes. Those punters looking for longer odds might consider each-way support of Golden Flame who is an 18-1 chance in the fifth race.

Selections

1st Race: (4) Mon Tresor (1) Coming In Hot (2) Sardo Numspa (8) Song To The Sun

2nd Race: (10) Moraine (6) Ideal Future (8) Act Of Mercy (2) Mercurial Jet

3rd Race: (3) Crimson Princess (1) Alabama Anna (6) Imbewu (2) Special Variety

4th Race: (1) Flying Carpet (6) Ocean Warrior (4) Sovereign Spirit (5) Supreme Dance

5th Race: (5) La Luvia (1) Snow Palace (2) Un Deax Trois (3) Terra Time

6th Race: (4) Fifth Of July (9) Canada Square (6) Secret Is Ours (1) Jaimala

7th Race: (1) Queen Of Gaul (5) Love Bite (2) Aurora Light (15) Caruso

8th Race: (6) Esqueville (3) No Time Is Taken (11) Call Me Master (1) Admiralty Arch

9th Race: (1) Waqaas (3) Leeson (6) Bloomington (5) Bahna Bridge


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