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The attraction about big-field races such as the Grand National, Melbourne Cup, Durban July and Charity Mile is that it offers punters — and tipsters — the opportunity to pinpoint a horse at big odds.

For Saturday's R1m Allied Steelrode Onamission Charity Mile, this column is going to recommend win and place support of 16-1 chance, Melech. The four-year-old is trained by Roy Magner and will be ridden by Muzi Yeni.

It would appear SA punters are not getting a fair deal from bookmakers regarding a place in big races. In the UK in a handicap with 16 or more runners, a backer would get 4-1 a place on a 16-1 chance. For Saturday’s race, Melech is 27-10 a place (first four) with World Sports Betting and 26.6-10 with Hollywoodbets.

There are some familiar names in the grade 2 Charity Mile with a quintet of runners from Mike de Kock’s stable headed by Safe Passage and Dave The King.

Safe Passage will have blown away the cobwebs with his run behind Atticus Finch while we will surely see a different Dave The King than the one who reappeared in the Joburg Spring Handicap. Somehow the Champions Cup third managed to finish 13 lengths behind Main Defender.

Jockey JP van der Merwe has been getting the majority of the choice mounts for the De Kock stable and he switches to Safe Passage with Bernard Fayd’Herbe flying up to the highveld to partner Dave The King for the first time.

Another jockey switch is Gavin Lerena — last year’s winning rider on Bingwa — now on nine-time winner Puerto Manzano. Presumably he had the choice between the two but his mount is drawn in the nearby Rand Stadium.

Cousin Casey — with regular pilot Grant van Niekerk in the saddle — is a hugely interesting runner as he makes his debut for the powerful Sean Tarry stable. The colt has the advantage of a favourable draw.

Local racing fans will be eager to see Durban July hero, Winchester Mansion, as he makes his seasonal bow and highveld debut. The Crawford inmate would prefer a longer trip and is drawn wide so may drift in the market.

Bless My Stars shocked most pundits with a third (33-1) in the Durban July so the filly is back up for the Tarry yard which is also represented by top stayer Future Pearl. Dare we leave Richard Fourie out of quartet bets?

So — in the final analysis — Melech — having just the eighth start of his career — is selected to take top honours ahead of Safe Passage, Cousin Casey and Dave The King.

Most sports fans will say the biggest clash on Saturday is SA vs New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final, but the second meeting of Sandringham Summit and Main Defender could produce a nail-biting finish at the city track.

The two talented three-year-olds clash in the Betway Graham Beck Stakes and the pair are practically inseparable in the antepost market.

While Main Defender’s romp in the Joburg Spring Handicap was an outstanding performance, the form book shows Tony Peter’s runner has two lengths to find with Sandringham Summit on Greyville running.

Perhaps his recent run will tip the scales in Main Defender’s favour, but Davd Nieuwenhuizen’s colt did this column a good turn at odds of 7-1 in KwaZulu-Natal so cannot be deserted in this grade 3 event.

The two principles are better drawn than Gimmeanotherchance and maybe the winner will head for the Cape and a clash with Tail Of The Comet in the Guineas.


1st Race: No Selection

2nd Race: (3) Phantom Express (7) French Duchess (12) Out The Mist (14) Spirited Girl

3rd Race: (4) American Star (6) American Grayson (3) Jet Dynasty (5) Youcanthurrylove

4th Race: (3) Dyce (2) Captain Hindsight (8) Cliff Hanger (7) I Am Giant

5th Race: (3) White Pearl (2) Egyptian Mau (4) Bomber Girl (7) Storm Player

6th Race: (1) Sandringham Summit (2) Main Defender (3) Gimmeanotherchance (4) Sovereign State

7th Race: (13) Melech (8) Safe Passage (3) Cousin Casey (1) Dave The King

8th Race: (5) Flying Bull (4) Black Thorn (6) Battleground (1) Zeus

9th Race: (12) Royal Guide (9) Bonete (11) Silent War (7) Running Rifles

10th Race: (1) Mo The Man (10) Woodland Glade (2) American Biscuit (6) Real Relief

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