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If the Springboks win their Rugby World Cup quarterfinal in Paris on Sunday, fans might move from the Stade De France to wave their scarves atop the Eiffel Tower. A horse named after that famous landmark could be in the winning groove at the Vaal on Thursday.

In the first 10 weeks of the new season, the stable of St John Gray has been as quiet as a church mouse. However, he looks to have a useful sort in Eiffel Tower who got his name as his dam is named Parisienne Chic.

Jockey Athandiwe Mgudlwa partnered Eiffel Tower to victory at the Free State track three weeks ago and he retains the ride for Thursday's third race over 1,600m.

Stuart Pettigrew saddled the first two home in Saturday’s Spring Challenge (for Fillies & Mares) at Turffontein and his grey gelding, Fushimi Inari, rates the main threat to St John Gray’s runner. A R220,000 son of Danon Platina, the three-year-old opened his account at the end of August and will sport blinkers for the first time.

Drakenstein Stud does not breed too many disappointing horses but one who falls into that category is four-year-old African Torrent. The Trippi gelding did run third behind Son Of Raj in the Derby Trial earlier this year yet has failed to run a place in his last three outings.

African Torrent probably needs a little help from the handicapper and probably the best the Azzie inmate can hope for is a place behind his two younger rivals, Eiffel Tower and Fushimi Inari.

St John Gray and Mgudlwa team up with Argo Alley in the sixth race and he has had some help from the handicapper with his merit-rating being cut from 99 to 94. Even so, the three-time winner looks up against it with the opposition including two well-bred four-year-olds from the top stables of Mike de Kock and Sean Tarry.

Shoemaker has been rested since contesting the Cup Trial at Greyville in June and the market will be the best guide to his chance in the sixth race.

Winter Greeting — a well-bred daughter of What A Winter — won her first three races in good style and returns from a longer break than Shoemaker. Tarry’s comment in Winning Form is that “the filly may need the run”.

So this now looks a particularly trappy contest for punters and perhaps Alec Laird's runner, Star Coin, needs considering as he cast a shoe in his comeback run at Turffontein last month.

The Drakenstein team will be closely monitoring the performance of their four-year-old, Battleground, who bids to defy top-weight of 62kg in the fifth race.

Trainer Lucky Houdalakis has saddled the Futura gelding to three wins from 11 starts and will have to be at the top of his game being 3kg worse off with Fabian Habib’s runner, Absolute Value.

Habib has his team in good form — he had two winners at Turffontein last Saturday — and Absolute Value should go well with S’manga Khumalo doing the steering.

Muzi Yeni partners American Grayson for trainer Tyrone Zackey and his mount is weighted to turn the tables on recent winner, Rule Book.

Tarry sends seven of his team to the Free State track and his first race runner, Jordan, will be a popular fancy to open his account. This son of Silvano cost R700,000 as a yearling.


1st Race: (10) Jordan (4) Birthright (5) No Place Like Home (11) Livebythesword

2nd Race: (13) Princess Lola (8) City Heights (4) Pink Diamond (1) United We Stand

3rd Race: (8) Eiffel Tower (9) Fushimi Inari (2) African Torrent (4) Willow Express

4th Race: (9) A Place In The Sun (5) Fifth Of July (3) Godfather (12) Rosy Lemon

5th Race: (6) Absolute Value (1) Battleground (3) American Grayson (5) Banha Bridge

6th Race: (3) Star Coin (6) Winter Greeting (1) Shoemaker (5) Argo Alley

7th Race: (1) Duke Of Rock (4) Arilena (6) Jet Cat (2) Circus Lights

8th Race: (2) Meteoric (11) Neerah (1) There She Goes (4) Lil Miss Moneybags

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