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A high class field headed by former Equus Champion Legislate and defending champion Ice Machine will line up in the Grade 2 Independent On Saturday Drill Hall Stakes to be run at Greyville Racecourse this coming Friday evening.
Legislate, a former Vodacom Durban July winner, makes his Champions Season debut since finishing sixth in the J&B Met at Kenilworth back in January. Prior to that he was a close-up second to Legal Eagle in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate. Legal Eagle scored a good victory in the R4-million Premier’s Champion Challenge run at Turffontein this past Saturday.
Just how Legislate fares in the Drill Hall will likely determine whether Justin Snaith supplements his charge for the Vodacom Durban July as his name was significantly absent from the initial list of 65 entries unveiled at the launch of South Africa’s Champions Season a fortnight ago.
The gallant seven-year-old Ice Machine returns to his favourite course and distance to defend his crown. It has been up and down to the Highveld this season for him but there is little doubt that Charles Laird’s runner is a different proposition over the Greyville 1400m.
Whilst Anton Marcus has been Ice Machine’s regular pilot, the former champion will forgo the ride to partner The Conglomerate for leading owners Ingrid and Markus Jooste. It will be a year to the day of The Conglomerate’s last victory that came in the Grade 2 Canon Guineas, one of two supporting features on this Friday’s card, where Marcus will ride likely favourite Rabada for the Jooste’s and trainer Michael Azzie.
Also in the Canon Guineas field are Investec Derby winner It’s My Turn and Baritone both from the Justin Snaith stable and the exciting pair of Sylvester The Cat and Ten Gun Salute from the Duncan Howells yard.
Top class filly Silver Mountain will bid for a Fillies Guineas double when she lines up in the Grade 2 Daisy Fillies Guineas, the second supporting feature on the evening. Winner of the World Sports Betting Fillies Guineas, she was a close-up fourth in the colts equivalent and most recently second in South Africa’s first million dollar race.
The meeting kicks off the three months of South Africa’s Champion Season and Greyville patrons will be treated to some high class racing come Friday night.
ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY
Apart from the thrilling horseracing there is lot’s on offer at the course with the Galloping Gourmet Beer Festival and happy hour from 6 to 7:30 pm in the Lightning Shot Bar. It is also a great chance to catch an early evening bite at the adjacent Braai Zone, where the thrill and excitement of the night can be enjoyed right alongside the racetrack – a great meeting place for friends who gather and relish the evening’s atmosphere on the lawns.
Live entertainment this Friday evening will be provided by The Gee Jays and the popular KidZone with full supervision, fun and entertainment will be in operation throughout the racing so be sure to bring the kids along.
Lots of parking available and entrance to Greyville Racecourse is FREE.
By Andrew Harrison
The popular Charity Turf Challenge offers punters the chance to win R100,000 as well as a R20,000 stand alone prize on Vodacom Durban July day and the deadline for entries is 17h30 this Friday.
This fun competition can be entered online at http://www.racingsa.com/ or manually at both Tote outlets and on the racecourse.
Class prevails and points gathered in Gr 1 and Gr 2 races are the key to success. Furthermore, the winners of the Tsogo Sun Sprint, the Rising Sun Gold Challenge, the Vodacom Durban July and the eLan Gold Cup earn five bonus points each.
In the three-year-old colt division many will think of Triple Crown hero Abashiri as an automatic entry. However, he is likely to have only one race during the SA Champions Season, the July.
It might be wiser to look for horses who are going to run in all of the classic races. Rabada is an obvious example.
The three-year-old fillies, and older fillies, should be seriously considered to have a lot of weight in numbers, because there are many opportunities open to them. A versatile horse like Lanner Falcon, who is effective from sprints up to middle distances, could accumulate many place and possibly win points, while classic fillies like Bela-Bela and Silver Mountain should also do so.
A male sprinter is probably an important inclusion, but difficult to choose because the Tsogo Sprint is a handicap, meaning a light weight winner will battle to earn further points in the Gr 1 Mercury Sprint. Furthermore, the Mercury Sprint looks to be at the mercy of Carry On Alice, who should also win the SA Fillies Sprint.
Some stayers events have been downgraded this year, but it might still might be worth including a horse on the up like Solar Star.
Shrewdies will have a horse for the open Gr 2’s and the Gr 1 Champions Cup as points gatherer of this type could make the difference between winning and losing.
By David Thiselton
The Mike de Kock-trained Australian-bred Zaakhira stamped herself as a SA Champions Season horse to be reckoned with when slamming a Maiden Juvenile Plate for fillies in impressive style over 1200m at the Vaal yesterday on her debut.
The Redoute’s Choice filly is out of a Royal Academy mare and after showed high cruising speed pulled clear to win by 7,5 lengths under Callan Murray, despite racing green and changing legs.
Matthew de Kock said, “I’m sure she will be taking her place at some point in Durban.”
She joins the like of Cloth Of Cloud, Exquisite Touch and her stable mate Fursa as Highveld fillies who could make a big impact on the Gr 1 Allan Robertson Championship over 1200m at Scottsville’s Festival Of Speed meeting on June 4.
They will be up against the like of the Cape filly The Secret Is Out and KZN fillies like Mygirldownunder.
Interestingly, De Kock’s debut winner of the first race, the Australian-bred More Than Ready colt Act Of Loyalty, won his race under Weichong Marwing in a time 0,3 seconds quicker than Zaakhira and Marwing looked to still have some fuel reserves at the line.
By David Thiselton
Picture: Callan Murray
Met day Listed winner Sergeant Hardy will face only five opponents when Bernard Fayd’Herbe’s mount bids to give Justin Snaith his third Somerset 1200 success in seven seasons at Kenilworth on Sunday.
Joey Ramsden, who has won the last three runnings (with Red Ray, Kingvoldt and Tar Heel), is doubly represented with previous winners Attenborough (Donovan Dillon) and Gareth Wright’s mount Dancer.
Vaughan Marshall and Riaan van Reenen are the only other trainers represented. The National Racing Bureau rang the other trainers with entries shortly after declarations yesterday morning but found no takers. However the Somerset is no stranger to small fields and in 2011 only five went to post.
The unbeaten Miranda Frost (Dillon) is expected to start hot favourite for the Perfect Promise Sprint on the same card even though the Ramsden-trained filly is up against seven previous winners.
By Michael Clower
Picture: Bernard Fayd’Herbe (Nkosi Hlophe)
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