RUNNERS from all over the country are among the entries for Africa’s richest race on sand, the Grade 2 Emerald Cup to be run over 1450m at Vaal racecourse on Saturday 22 September.
After his excellent second off a poor draw in last Saturday’s Grade 3 August Stakes Captain’s Secret from the Mike Bass yard is one of the 27 entries received on Monday. Bass has also entered Kiss Again, who was a reserve runner last Saturday and did not get a run.
Bob ‘N Weave, who ran a 1.50-length third to Caryl’s Law in the Recall Security Mile over 1600m at Flamingo Park earlier this month, hails from Barry Steenkamp and Dorrie Sham’s Port Elizabeth yard. The five-year-old Lecture gelding has raced 30 times for six wins and 17 places.
Sean Tarry, who won this race last year with The Mouseketeer, could end up holding the strongest hand of all. The Mouseketeer and Saturday’s August Stakes winner, Across The Ice, are among his six entries, but best of the lot could be Mr Tobin, who unquestionably has the most impressive record on sand over the last year.
The Argentinian-bred gelding has raced nine times on the surface for eight wins and a 1.50-length second behind Mr Premier. He has been a revelation on the surface and currently has a sand merit rating of 111.
Tarry’s other three entries are Always Al – who has a win and a place in his two starts at the Vaal sand track – five-year-old mare Follow The Piper – a winner of five of 11 starts on the sand – and nine-year-old Buy And Sell, who ran unplaced in his only start on the surface.
Champion trainer Mike de Kock has entered three runners, including five-year-old Toreador gelding Link Man. The 2010 Gauteng Guineas winner has not run on the sand and has only raced twice this year. He was unplaced in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth in January and the Golden Horse Casino Sprint over 1200m at Scottsville in May. Both are Grade 1 races.
De Kock’s other entries – Meadow Magic and Right Beauty – have performed well on the surface. Meadow Magic came within a hair’s breadth of downing Mr Tobin in the Listed Highveld Challenge over 1600m at the course while Right Beauty was an impressive 2.25-length winner over Mabuko Spirit over 1450m in his lone run at this track.
One of the more interesting entries is War Horse, who was nominated for Two-Year-Old Colt of the Season at the recent Equus Awards. The Corne Spies-trained runner won the Grade 1 Golden Horseshoe over 1400m at Greyville on Durban July day but then finished unplaced behind The Hangman in the Grade 1 Premier’s Champion Stakes over 1600m at Greyville later that month. War Horse is an unknown quantity on the sand.
Astro News, who finished just 1.60 lengths behind Igugu in the J&B Met in January, is another noteworthy nomination. The four-year-old son of Silvano was formerly trained by Greg Ennion in Cape Town but is currently with Brian Wiid. Astro News is another unknown quantity on the surface.
Supplementary entries close at 11am on Monday, 3 September after which the weights will be published. Final declarations have to be in by 11am on Wednesday, 12 September and a live draw for barrier positions will take place that evening.
EMERALD CUP (Grade 2) R600,000 1450m
ACROSS THE ICE (S G Tarry); ALWAYS AL (S G Tarry); APPROACHABLE (G V Woodruff); ASTRO NEWS (B O Wiid); BE ASSURED (K Naidoo); BEACON FLARE (W H Marwing); BOB ‘N WEAVE (B/D Steenkamp/Sham); BUY AND SELL (S G Tarry); CALANISH (S T Pettigrew); CAPE WINTER (K Naidoo); CAPTAIN’S SECRET (M W Bass); CARYL’S LAW (K Naidoo); EASTERN COBBLER (R R Magner); FOLLOW THE PIPER (S G Tarry); JET JAMBOREE (D Zaki); KISS AGAIN (M W Bass); LINK MAN (M F De Kock); MEADOW MAGIC (M F De Kock); MR TOBIN (S G Tarry); NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (K Naidoo); OPENING NIGHT (C Binda); PRIME MOVER (L J Erasmus); PYLON (M G Azzie); RIGHT BEAUTY (M F De Kock); THE MOUSEKETEER (S G Tarry); WAR HORSE (C Spies); WINTER’S SONG (P A Peter)