Expect huge Pick 6 pools
THE country is bracing itself with increasing anticipation for the Gold Cup Festival of Racing weekend and the Pick 6 will be a bet many will take on both days, because it has a guaranteed pool of R3,5 million on day one with an expected pool of R4 million, and a guaranteed pool of R5,5 million on day two with an expected pool of R6 million. On day one on Saturday, the pivotal Pick 6 leg will be the Grade 1 Champions Cup over 1 800m.
Three horses stand out, Captain America, Marinaresco and Bela-Bela, but others have to be considered in a race which has produced upsets before. Captain America finished third in an ultra strong Grade 1 Sun Met over 2 000m, where he beat Marinaresco by 2,55 lengths.
He will have the advantage of running fresh, but Marinaresco, who is defending his crown, will now be 1,5kg better off.
The latter come off his win in the Vodacom Durban July, where he proved again his love of Greyville. He beat Captain America in the Drill Hall over 1 400m and his run in the Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge, where comfortably beaten by Captain America, can be ignored as he was too handy in a fast run race. His wide draw of 12 will not be a problem as he will be dropped out before employing his exceptional turn of foot.
A draw of ten will not be ideal for the more handy Captain America, but he overcame that identical draw in the Gold Challenge.
Bela-Bela will make her swansong here. She has to reverse a 1,5 length beating by Captain America in the Gold Challenge, but she had to be steadied at the top of the straight that day and could have got closer.
Two of her three Grade 1 wins have been over 1 800m and 2 000m respectively, but her ideal trip is a mile. Sail South came from last in the Gold Challenge and was only beaten 2,5 lengths. He is now 2kg better off, runs fresh and will be hoping for a faster pace. However, he is a horse who seldom settles and the trip will stretch him. Judicial finished second in this race last year, and his trainer Tyrone Zackey’s charges can never be written off in big races. He hasn’t run since November, but has won a Grade 2 running fresh before and has a fair draw. Table Bay comes in relatively fresh and has a good draw.
He is highly regarded and his mile form, which at one stage looked disappointing, now looks very strong.
He does have to prove he stays further than a mile though.
Ten Gun Salute
Ten Gun Salute looked to be beaten already when a horse crossed him in the VDJ, but he looks likely to appreciate the drop to this trip, having won the Betting World 1900 in exceptional style.
He does have a tough task at the weights and is likely hoping for soft ground.
Deo Juvente beat the like Of Legal Eagle when winning the Premier’s Champions Challenge over 2 000m and now runs relatively fresh .
However, he does have a tricky draw. It’s My Turn was beaten 1,4 lengths in the July and is now 4,5kg worse off with Marinaresco.
However, a lot of use was made of him in the July from a wide draw and he was also given only one preparation outing going into it. With more conservative tactics from a plum draw, he could be a threat.
Matador Man showed how good his turn of foot when winning the KZN Breeders Mile and his relaxed style might enable him to see out this trip, over which he is unexposed. Black Arthur ran wide in the July, but did have cover and other than having to be switched outward he had a trouble free run, so has a tough task at the weights. Brazuca also has a tough task on paper, but was caught wide in the July and might well enjoy the step down in trip. However, he does have a tricky draw. The final fields for all of the other legs still have to be announced. In the Grade 2 Gold Bracelet over 2 000m on day the Silvano filly Nightingale is the stand out horse over an ideal course and distance.
Girl On The Run
Girl On The Run, Bella Sonata, Star Express, Premier Dance and Epona also have chances and amazingly are also all by Silvano.
The non-Silvano challengers will be led by the unexposed Wukkin Up, Fort Ember, Captain Gambler, Witchcraft and Intergalactic.
The first leg of the Pick 6 on day one is a MR 82 Handicap over 1 000m on the poly.
Paul Gadsby’s trio Vision To Kill, Miss Varlicious and Gunner have all landed fair draws and are among the eye-catchers.
There should be a good pace in this race. with speedy sorts Swakopomund, Gee Whizz and Rocky Valley among the entries. Classy two-year-old Touch Of Magic is a fascinating entry.
The next race is the Listed Umgeni Handicap over 1 000m on the poly.
The Louis Goosen pair of fillies Effortless Reward and Hashtag Strat are immediate eye catchers from good draws among a big entry list and the up and coming Lloyd’s Legacy could be anything.
The Listed Darley Arabian over 1600m on the poly has also attracted a lot of entries and among the eye catchers are last year’s winner MacDuff, the twice winner of this race, Night Trip as well as Table Bay, Irish Pride, Celtic Captain, Copper Pot, No Worries and Gingerbread Man. The last leg is a maiden over 1800m on the turf and Texas Sky and Turf Conqueror are two who catch the eye among a huge entry list.