The VAR Gold Rush Sprint, a handicap restricted to three-year-olds over 1100m, was first held last year and is a Non-Black Type event on a programme at Turffontein on Saturday that also includes the Listed Storm Bird Stakes, the Listed Ruffian Stakes and the Non-Black Type Egoli Sprint. However, the Var Gold Rush Sprint, one of a series of three races sponsored by the Var Syndicate, carries the richest stake at the meeting – R150,000. The Need For Speed Sprint was run in Cape Town in January and another Var Syndicate-sponsored race will be run in Durban during the winter.
Topweight Midnight Serenade, who hails from the Dianne Stenger stable, is one of the most consistent individuals in racing. His last five runs have yielded three seconds and two third placings, including a neck second to Delago Deluxe in the SA Nursery last year and a 2.50-length second behind Deliver The Power in the recent Tommy Hostpur Handicap over 1000m.
To be ridden by in-form Gavin Lerena, Midnight Serenade will have his supporters although, on paper, he looks to have his work cut out with 60kg to carry.
Second Tycoon ran over the Turffontein 1000m on the same day as the Tommy Hostpur Handicap and, carrying more weight than Midnight Serenade, covered the distance in 0.31 sec faster time than the winner that day. That was the Mike de Kock-trained gelding’s second in win his last three starts – he had dead-heated with still unbeaten Unannounced over 1000m at Clairwood in June last year in his third-last outing. He will strip cherryripe for this engagement and will be ridden by Anthony Delpech.
Another runner who should make his presence felt is Legal Action, who finished two lengths ahead of Midnight Serenade in a Conditions Plate over 1160m at Turffontein in January and meets Stenger’s runner on 7.5kg better terms. The Chris Erasmus-trained colt went on to finish sixth behind Second Tycoon and looks unlikely to turn the tables, even on 6kg better terms.
Dazzling Moon is also holding form well, but is 0.5kg under sufferance in this field and will have to run a career best if she is to feature.
Meanwhile Sean Tarry-trained Skitt Skizzle trounced Celtic King by a full 10 lengths over 1200m on the Vaal turf and with just 52kg on his back, many will expect him to handle this rise in class and run well under jockey Robbie Fradd. – tabonline.co.za.
The final field in order of saddlecloth number, draw, horse, trainer, jockey, weight and merit rating:
1 9 MIDNIGHT SERENADE Dianne Stenger G Lerena 60.0 100
2 2 SECOND TYCOON Mike de Kock A Delpech 58.5 97
3 5 SIDESTEP Alec Laird *J Greyling 55.5 91
4 8 MINI BLACK Paul Matchett R Simons 54.0 88
5 10 AMERICANO Paul Matchett J P v’d Merwe 53.0 86
6 12 LEGAL ACTION Chris Erasmus M V’Rensburg 52.5 85
7 7 SKITT SKIZZLE Sean Tarry R Fradd 52.0 84
8 11 DAZZLING MOON Grant Maroun *N Juglall 52.0 83
9 1 LET’S ROCK BABA Clinton Binda D David 52.0 80
10 3 DAWN LIGHT Chris Erasmus S Khumalo 52.0 79
11 6 ABOVE THE MOON Grant Maroun T Appie 52.0 75
12 4 MARVELLOUS CAPTAIN Louis Goosen C Maujean 52.0 73