Fourie flies north in bid to keep Gray on a roll

Business Day - - SPORTS DAY - David Mol­lett Rac­ing Writer

Trainer St John Gray’s de­ci­sion to en­gage Cape-based jockey Richard Fourie for five rides at Turf­fontein on Satur­day could reap re­wards, with both Straw­berry Pavlova and Lake Kin­neret se­ri­ous run­ners in two of the World Sports Bet­ting Grand Se­ries races.

With the meet­ing switched from the Vaal to Turf­fontein, the sev­enth and eighth races form the two legs of the Grand Se­ries with a gross purse of R500,000 for each race.

With the win­ning owner re­ceiv­ing R296,800, Gray will have gladly paid Fourie’s air­fare as the 32-year-old has been in hot form re­cently and is very much in the mix for his first jock­eys ti­tle. At present he is in third place in the na­tional log be­hind Muzi Yeni, who is in first place with 37 win­ners. Next is Anton Mar­cus on 36 win­ners, fol­lowed by Fourie on 34. The rat­ings were up to Oc­to­ber 3.

Fourie’s mount in the sev­enth race is the Ka­hal geld­ing Lake Kin­neret, who has a favourable draw and low weight of 52.5kg. In five of his races in 2018, the geld­ing has car­ried ei­ther 59.5kg or 60kg.

There are a whole host of ri­vals with claims in this 1,475m event, no­tably Sol­dier On, Sail For Joy, Ha­keem and sev­enyear-old Chep­ardo.

Jockey Ryan Munger has built a good as­so­ci­a­tion with Sail For Joy and Fabian Habib’s run­ner is ex­pected to take a hand in the fin­ish.

Mike de Kock’s Aussie im­port Ha­keem will strip fit­ter fol­low­ing his re­cent third be­hind Prince Of Ka­hal, but jockey Ran­dall Si­mons will have to over­come a shock­ing draw.

Sol­dier On, trained by Stu­art Pet­ti­grew, has en­joyed two wins in his past five out­ings and he will sport blink­ers in Satur­day’s race, for which he is one of the lead­ing fan­cies in the spon­sor’s ante-post mar­ket.

Sur­pris­ingly, Fourie does not have a ride in the eighth race the sec­ond leg of the Grand Se­ries - and here Gavin Ler­ena’s mount, Mardi Gras, will be the choice of many pun­ters in his third run af­ter a break. The grey son of Ora­to­rio looks des­tined for a suc­cess­ful sea­son what­ever his fate on Satur­day.

Find­ing a horse in a big race that can run well at big odds is the aim of many pun­dits, and the sur­prise pack­age could be Sean Tarry’s charge Pilou, who is quoted at 25-1 in lat­est bet­ting.

The two-week de­lay in run­ning this meet­ing - due to un­safe ground at the Vaal - has played into Tarry’s favour as he has had more time to pre­pare Pilou, who only had his first start of the new sea­son three weeks ago.

If Pilou can re­pro­duce the form that saw him fin­ish sec­ond be­hind sta­ble­mate Til­bury Fort in March, then he will be a se­ri­ous con­tender.

Geoff Woodruff’s five-yearold Zouaves was well backed to win 2017’s Grand Her­itage and jockey Chase Mau­jean will have the lux­ury of jump­ing from stall three. Whether Zouaves can give 4.5kg to Mardi Gras re­mains to be seen.

Yeni’s mount, Full Of At­ti­tude, will have his sup­port­ers and Lucky Houadalakis’s Aussiebred geld­ing, Huyssteen, is worth in­clud­ing in quar­tet bets.

Per­haps Fourie’s best chance of re­turn­ing home with a win­ner rests with Straw­berry Pavlova, who runs in the sixth race, the Grand Se­ries Con­so­la­tion. There was lots to like about the filly’s re­cent course win for which she es­capes a penalty as it was an As­sess­ment Plate.

SPRING HAND­I­CAP

Vic­tory for ei­ther Straw­berry Pavlova or Lake Kin­neret would keep Gray’s sta­ble on a roll as he cap­tured last week­end’s Joburg Spring Hand­i­cap with his stal­wart Cap­tain Aldo.

Gray in­tro­duces a new­comer in Paused, a son of An­nounce, in the sec­ond race, where an­other Ler­ena mount, Epic Dream, is ex­pected to go close for Candice Daw­son’s in-form yard.

How­ever, the mar­ket needs a check as Tarry sends out the first-timer African Daisy, a daugh­ter of former cham­pion sire Cap­tain Al. The filly will sport the colours of Ir­ish mag­nate John Mag­nier.

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