WHEN the average merit rating of the likely runners in a field is as high as around 105 – the median merit rating for the whole racehorse population is somewhere in the 70s – racing fans can bank on a power field lining up in the R600,000 Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile (Grade 2) over 1600m at Turffontein on Saturday 6 November.
First entries for the race closed on Friday and 39 horses were entered. Second nomination stage is Friday 22 October when the weights in this handicap will be announced. The final field will be published on Wednesday 27 October.
Rocks Off, one of Mike de Kock’s nine Charity Mile entries.
The Charity Mile raceday is one of the most glamorous on the Highveld racing calendar, bringing together top racehorses and celebrities in aid of charity. Each runner in the big race will run on behalf of a charity and their finishing positions will determine how much each charity receives with R100,000 of the R550,000 donation from the sponsors going to the charity represented by the winner.
With horses like Gary Alexander’s star four-year-old Pierre Jourdan, who came close to becoming only the second horse to win the SA Triple Crown, and several Mike de Kock-trained hotshots in the entry, as well as last year’s Charity Mile favourite Imperial Gesture and a few others from the stable of Charles Laird, the race is shaping up to be one of the best this season.
High-class gelding Pierre Jourdan, of course, won the Gauteng Guineas and the SA Classic, the first two legs of the Triple Crown, before finding De Kock’s champion Irish Flame too good in the soft conditions in the last leg, the SA Derby.
Given a long holiday after those efforts, he came back earlier this month and, although he was ring-rusty, he beat a good field in the Joburg Spring Challenge. He would have needed that race and should improve with that run, although his major goal during the Spring-Summer Season is the Sansui Summer Cup later next month.
De Kock, South Africa’s ruling champion trainer with record stake earnings last season, has nine horses entered including 2008 Summer Cup winner Rudra, who will carry top weight if he runs. Talented colt Havasha (one of only two horses to have beaten Pierre Jourdan so far), 2009 Durban July runner-up Zirconeum and champion juvenile of his year Rocks Off as well as Majorca Stakes winner Gluwein are other big-name entries by the stable.
Charles Laird has entered Galileo’s Galaxy, who has run close in a number of feature races, and Imperial Gesture, the beaten favourite in last year’s Charity Mile, while his cousin Alec has signalled his intention to run Captain Scott, who finished third in this race last year.
Last year’s Summer Cup winner Aslan is one of six entries from the powerful yard of Sean Tarry, while Gavin van Zyl has nominated Bulsara, who finished second to Pierre Jourdan in the SA Classic earlier this year.
First entries for the R600,000 Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile (Grade 2) over 1600m at Turffontein on Saturday 6 November:
RUDRA (M F De Kock) 114
PIERRE JOURDAN (G M Alexander) 112
IMPERIAL GESTURE (C Laird) 111
SERVICE ACE (M G Azzie) 107
ZIRCONEUM (M F De Kock) 107
BULSARA (G H Van Zyl) 106
GALILEO’S GALAXY (C Laird) 106
HAVASHA (M F De Kock) 106
MASTER BLASTER (G V Woodruff) 106
ASLAN (S G Tarry) 105
CAPTAIN SCOTT (A G Laird) 105
GALANTHUS (T Zackey) 105
ILIAD (R R Sage) 105
SPICED GOLD (S T Pettigrew) 102
ALDERRY (M F De Kock) 101
ZORBA’S TALE (M N Houdalakis) 101
VERTICAL TAKEOFF (S G Tarry) 101
ROCKS OFF (M F De Kock) 100
STRAIGHT FORWARD (M F De Kock) 100
THANDOLWAMI (C Eudey) 100
SWEETIE PIE (M F De Kock) 100
AUTUMN GOLD (S G Tarry) 99
GLUWEIN (M F De Kock) 99
RUDI ROCKS (C Laird) 99
SPORTING BOY (A G Laird) 99
GOLDEN CHARIOT (S G Tarry) 98
IRON WOOD (A G Laird) 98
HEADSTRONG (M F De Kock) 97
IRON CURTAIN (R R Sage) 97
DON’T TELL TITCH (G V Woodruff) 96
LAGO LIDA (G V Woodruff) 93
POWER PARK (S G Tarry) 93
CALL TO COMBAT (S J Gray) 91
CAPTAIN’S WILD (P Kimberley) 91
AIRWOLF (S G Tarry) 90
TAMARILLO (C Eudey) 90
ROYAL ROCKER (A J Rivalland) 88
EXTRA COVER (A G Laird) 87
ROYAL EXPRESS (R P Lerena) 83
* * *
The celebrities who will be at the Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile are:
REDI TLHABI (DIREKO)
CONNIE AND SHONA FERGUSON
RELEBOGILE “LEBO’’ MABOTJA
-Phumelela press release.