AS expected, the first and second-placed runners in last Saturday’s August Stakes – The Mouseketeer and Across The Ice – from Sean Tarry’s yard, are among the 31 entries for the R600,000 Emerald Cup to be run over 1450m on the Vaal sand on Saturday, 24 September.
The Mouseketeer was having his first race on sand at the weekend and he won the 1200m event in good style, indicating he will be a contender for the Grade 2 Emerald Cup, Africa’s the richest race on sand.
Burmese Cat, one of five De Kock entries.
Tarry also has a third entry with another sand specialist, Incomodo. The seven-year-old gelding showed a return to form when finishing a five-length second to Bouquet-Garni in a Pinnacle Stakes over this course and distance.
Iron Curtain won this race last year for trainer Robbie Sage, who will be very happy with the way his charge ran in the August Stakes. The Fort Wood gelding was having his second start after a lengthy layoff and finished strongly to run a 5.75-length seventh to The Mouseketeer.
Sage will have a very strong hand in the race as all three of his entries are currently in top form. Draw Bridge won Race 9 at the Vaal on Saturday while Art Wish has won three of his five starts on the sand. All three are owned by the “Queen Mother” of South African racing, Bridget Oppenheimer.
Mrs Oppenheimer also owns three other entries – Bouquet-Garni and Wild Type from the Gavin van Zyl yard, and Queen’s Bay, trained by Mike Azzie.
As expected Mike de Kock has a strong hand with five entries – Storm Crossing, who was favourite for last year’s race but never managed to overcome his poor draw, Boylan Blaze, Burmese Cat, Sky Marshal and lightly raced Empenoso Henn.
Sky Marshal was a reserve runner for the August Stakes but did not run. Empenoso Henn has only raced three times. He won his first outings and then finished 3.25 lengths behind The Apache in the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 over at Greyville.
As was the case last year, the advertised stake money of R600,000 will be distributed from first to eighth place in their relevant finishing order. The winner will get R360,000, the runner-up R120,000, 3rd R60,000, 4th R30,000, 5th R15,000, 6th R7,500, 7th R4,500 and 8th R3,000
Supplementary entries close at 11:00 on Monday, 5 September after which the weights will be published. Declarations must be in by 11:00 on Wednesday, 14 September and a live draw will take place that evening.
EMERALD CUP (Grade 2) R600,000 1450m
ACROSS THE ICE (S G Tarry); ALIMONY (S J Gray); ART WISH (R R Sage); BIELORRUSO (K Naidoo); BOUQUET-GARNI (G H Van Zyl); BOYLAN BLAZE (M F De Kock); BURMESE CAT (M F De Kock); DRAW BRIDGE (R R Sage); EASTERN COBBLER (R R Magner); EMPENOSO HENN (M F De Kock); FURIOUS DANCER (K Naidoo); GO GO LOOCHEE (K Naidoo); HOUSE OF WAX (G V Woodruff); HUNTERS GREEN (V C Rugg); INCOMODO (S G Tarry); IRON CURTAIN (R R Sage); LAGO LIDA (S W Kenny); LOCHLORIEN (M G Azzie); MAHOGANY (W H Marwing); MASTER BLASTER (D Zaki); MINA SALAAM (R R Magner); PHUNYUKA (R R Magner); QUEEN’S BAY (M G Azzie); SAYADAW (S W Kenny); SECRET LIFE (P F Matchett); SKY MARSHAL (M F De Kock); STORM CROSSING (M F De Kock); STRIKE MASTER (M G Azzie); THE MOUSEKETEER (S G Tarry); VALLOIRE (J Vos); WILD TYPE (G H Van Zyl)