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Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP
Picture: 123RF/CHRIS VAN LENNEP

Perhaps not as well known as Alcatraz, San Quentin State Prison north of San Francisco is a famous institution and has housed some notorious criminals since opening its doors in 1852. It can house 5,264 inmates.

Probably the prison’s most infamous inmate was Charles Manson. Back in 1969, the cult leader’s gang murdered actress Sharon Tate and four others at the Beverly Hills home of movie director Roman Polanski.

Manson, denied parole 12 times, spent many years at San Quentin, dying of cardiac arrest in November 2017 at the age of 83.

So what does this have to do with Thursday’s eight-race programme at the Vaal? Well, there’s a horse named San Quintin, nearly the same spelling — which could continue the good form of Ashley Fortune’s stable by winning the fifth race.

A R400,000 yearling, San Quintin is lightly raced with only four starts, but there was plenty to like about the gelding’s four lengths win in a race at Turffontein earlier this month.

An opening mark of 65 may underestimate the son of Dynasty, and could see him notch his second win at the expense of Arlington Action and Romeo’s Magic.

Ashley Fortune is enjoying a purple patch as the season draws to a close, and saddled three winners at Turffontein last Saturday. The Vaal-based conditioner scored with Total Protection, Sovereign Spirit and Laetitia’s Angel.

Of this trio, Total Protection was the most impressive and the son of Ideal World may prove a bargain buy at R160,000.

Apart from San Quintin, Fortune has chances with a number of other runners notably Southern Style (first race), Vartacus (sixth) and Silvery Blue in the final leg of the jackpot.

Silvery Blue can be termed one of Fortune’s underachievers as the grey filly managed just one win from 13 starts. Her handicap mark has slipped another two points.

Though Defender Of Rights failed to justify favouritism at Turffontein in May, Stuart Pettigrew’s three-year-old should be competitive from a favourable draw. Dancing Arabian and Consol Queen should not be far away.

For the opening event, Fortune booked experienced work rider Sam Mosia for the likely favourite, Southern Style. Bred by Alfie Dickerson, the filly is a daughter of Canford Cliffs.

Adam and Mike Azzie will be hoping Thursday’s meeting proves to be a family affair for the Drakenstein Stud — Far Away Winter runs in the fourth race and his half-sister, Quest From Afar, in the eighth.

Far And Away hasn’t been seen since failing to justify favouritism back in March, but he’s been gelded since that run and can recoup losses by beating Muzi Yeni’s mount, Heart And Mind.

Quest From Afar has a tougher task in the final event as she’s coming off a maiden win and is likely to find both Just A Memory and Just Be Nice tough opponents.

Still, the Azzie inmate won her maiden race by five lengths and the manner of that success suggested she may only now be realising her true potential. Trainer St John Gray can point to the fact that his colt, Just A Memory, clipped heels on his last start and may have finished closer to Roy Magner’s winner, Kotinos.

SELECTIONS

1st Race: (12) Southern Style (10) Nellie Bly (1) Mandalay (4) Future Thinker

2nd Race: (8) Stepping Out (3) Home Of The Brave (7) Slinky Mapimpi (6) Poets Warrior

3rd Race: (2) Intoxicating (4) Light Of Day (8) Tulip Tree (1) A Colourful Past

4th Race: (4) Far Away Winter (7) Williamthefighter (9) Heart And Mind (1) Great Times

5th Race: (8) San Quintin (3) Arlington Action (5) Romeo’s Magic (6) Kayla’s Dream

6th Race: (7) Halloween (6) Gilded Butterfly (5) Now You See Me (4) Paton’s Tears

7th Race: (5) Silvery Blue (2) Defender Of Rights (1) Dancing Arabian (6) Consol Queen

8th Race: (6) Quest From Afar (1) Just A Memory (5) Just Be Nice (7) Queen Bomi

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