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From 16th place in the 2020/2021 season to 10th position last term — that’s some leap up the trainers table for Vaal conditioner Ashley Fortune.
In the 2020/2021 campaign Fortune saddled 48 winners so she will be pleased that total increased to 66 for the 2021/2022 season.
Over the past 12 months, it has been noticeable that the stable has attracted new owners as well as being sent some decent performers by Cape trainer Candice Bass-Robinson.
It is probably an important factor that Fortune has Ryan Munger riding most of her horses and he partners three horses for the yard at Turffontein on Saturday. The young rider finished in 11th place in the jockeys log last term with 87 winners — 50 more than his tally in the previous season.
Munger’s best ride on Saturday should be Special Variety in the seventh race. The daughter of Rafeef rises in class but has just 52kg on her back.
The big question surrounding the 1,400m contest is whether Roha — a consistent mare from the stable of champion trainer Paul Peter — can give 5kg to Special Variety.
Roha is preferred to stablemate Sacred Lotus — the mount of Rachel Venniker — as her mount is returning from a 10-week break.
Phillip Labuschagne has done well to win six races with Midnight Gem and he removes the blinkers for this race. It would be no surprise to see the five-year-old earn a place cheque.
Fortune and Munger team up with Silvery Blue in the eighth race and the trainer is probably disappointed that the grey is only a one-time winner.
Stuart Pettigrew will have been delighted when he saw his mare, Bella Rosa, had drawn in pole position and — dropped a point by the handicapper — the six-year-old could notch her third win.
Erico Verdonese and Gavin Lerena are a strong combination and the mare, Mamaquera, will be competitive if Lerena can overcome a wide draw.
One feels Steve Moffatt’s outstanding mare, Rouge Allure, deserves some sort of award for her achievements as the nine-year-old boasts 15 wins from 101 appearances.
Moffatt sends her out again in the sixth race in search of a hat-trick and few punters will be leaving the mare out of their exotic bets. Even so, Fabian Habib’s runner, Youcanthurrylove, ran well enough last month to suggest the gelding can go close in the hands of Muzi Yeni.
Rouge Allure’s stablemate, Opera Glass, is 4kg better off compared with their last meeting and should not be far away with bottom weight of 54.5kg.
David Nieuwenhuizen has got a good tune out of his stayer, Flying First Class, this year and the mare resumes rivalry with Lamborghreeni in the fifth race. The five-year-old meets Peter’s gelding — another good mount for Yeni — on the same terms as last time.
1st Race: No Selection
2nd Race: (4) Gregarious Gal (6) Inner Sense (1) Queen Theodora (7) Misava
3rd Race: (1) Big Guy (3) Atlantic City (4) Flag Bearer (2) Flow Forever
4th Race: (5) Crusade To Royalty (2) Let There Be Light (4) Castle Durrow (3) Greek Miss
5th Race: (3) Flying First Class (4) Lamborghreeni (2) Raiseahallelujah (5) Arlington Action
6th Race: (7) Youcanthurrylove (4) Rouge Allure (5) Ocean Warrior (8) Opera Glass
7th Race: (7) Special Variety (3) Roha (2) Midnight Gem (6) Rosaprima
8th Race: (10) Bella Rosa (1) Mamaquera (6) Silvery Blue (4) Princess Philippa
9th Race: (4) Esqueville (2) Ridge To Reef (1) Frontline Fighter (6) Integrate
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.