Elvis remembered with horse named after him set to win
Gavin Lerena well in touch in the jockeys’ championship with 28 winners so far this term
It’s 46 years since the death of Elvis Presley, but the famous American singer still has a big fan base and a horse named after him looks poised to win at Turffontein on Tuesday.
Elvis passed away at Gracelands in August 1977 but his popular songs such as Jailhouse Rock, You’re The Devil in Disguise and Suspicious Minds continue to get airtime from older DJs.
The racehorse Presley was bred by Avontuur Farm and was presumably named after the singer because his dam is named Charisma. Elvis had plenty of that. There was no money for the three-year-old on his debut at the city track in August, but he turned in a promising first effort in finishing third behind Chocolate Bomb.
Gavin Lerena has been booked for the ride this time and he’s well in touch in the jockeys’ championship with 28 winners so far this term.
The chief threat to Lerena’s mount is likely to be Empress Game, who has been placed in each of her four starts for trainer Fanie Bronkhurst. Denis Schwarz rides the four-year-old for the first time.
Another good mount for Lerena is Presley’s stablemate Red Bomber, with the R450,000 son of Lancaster Bomber seeking his third win on just the fourth start of his career in the fifth race. The year-older I Am Giant will be a tough rival if anywhere near his peak following a 13-week break. The gelding won his last outing at the Vaal in June.
Funky Music looked no more than an average handicapper when trained by Ashley Fortune, who has relocated to Australia, but the six-year-old has thrived with Paul Matchett and bids for his fifth win in his last six outings when taking on seven rivals in the seventh race.
The son of Capetown Noir has been hit with a seven-point penalty for his latest win, which may open the door for Roy Magner’s runner, Kotinos. Including Rachel Venniker’s 1.5kg allowance, there is a 6.5kg swing in the weights in favour of the five-year-old.
Rattle Bag is a recent course and distance winner, and Grant Maroun’s charge rates an each-way chance from a favourable draw.
Trainer Alec Laird has scratched The Octagon from the first race and now relies on three-year-old Birthright. A R300,000 son of William Longsword, the colt tries 2,000m for the first time and should make a bold bid in the hands of young Kaidan Brewer.
Laird also introduces a well-bred newcomer in Blackberry Blaze in the second race in which Mike de Kock saddles a trio of runners in Al Akhtaar, Festival Of Magic and Japanese Star. In the early market, bookmakers are betting 5-1 for the field so this is not an easy first leg of the place accumulator.
Lucky Houdalakis’ four-year-old Battleground is proving a bargain buy at R140,000, and the son of Futura bids to land a hat-trick when he lines up in the final leg of the Pick 6.
However, the Azzie stable will fancy their chances of turning the tables on Battleground as their runner, Breeze Over, is 2kg better off at the weights compared to their latest clash.
Tyrone Zackey has booked Lerena for American Grayson. The son of Pomodoro warrants inclusion in all exotic bets as he will strip fitter after his recent third behind Battleground when he finished tired.
Rachel Venniker can make her trip to the highveld pay off by partnering Corrie Lensley’s well-drawn runner, Happy Analia, to victory in the fourth race.
1st Race: (5) Birthright (3) Kudzui (4) In A Blue Moon (2) Exhale
2nd Race: (4) Tyson The Brave (7) Blackberry Blaze (6) Al Akhtaar (3) Breath Of Magic
3rd Race: (4) Presley (6) Empress Game (2) Griffin Park (3) Inafix
4th Race: (6) Happy Analia (8) In The Ether (1) Siberian Steel (3) Pendragon
5th Race: (3) Red Bomber (2) I Am Giant (4) Mount Pilatus (1) Unzen
6th Race: (9) Bard Of Avon (4) Captain Hindsight (7) Dyce (10) Paisley Park
7th Race: (5) Kotinos (1) Funky Music (2) Rattle Bag (3) Mo Jive
8th Race: (4) Breeze Over (2) Battleground (5) American Grayson (7) Rule Book
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