WITH bookmakers betting 8-1 and better the field in the R1.25-million Gold Cup over 3200m on Saturday next week, backing the winner will be no easy feat.
The four joint favourites are topweight Seal, Kolkata, Knight To Remember and Patriotic Rebel (photo).
The weights favour Gavin van Zyl-trained Seal but no horse has won this race with more than 57.5kg in the last decade and he will have his work cut out for him.
The showdown between South Africa’s two leading trainers, Mike de Kock and Sean Tarry, is already sparking ready debates amongst racing fans and at time of going to press yesterday less than R200,000 separated the Randjesfontein neighbours.
The battle is set to hit fever pitch at this meeting and both trainers have runners with outstanding chances in the big race.
Tarry’s three-horse attack is spearheaded by Kolkata, winner of the Gold Vase on Durban July Day and a runner many will fancy to take the R781,250 first prize.
Tarry said yesterday: “He was given an eight-point penalty (the equivalent of 4kg or eight lengths over 3200m) but that is not way out. However, because of the concertinaed weights in the Gold Cup, he is not the best-weighted runner in the race.
“He is coming to hand at the right time but in this big field, he will need luck in running.”
Tarry’s other two runners, Gold Onyx (14-1) and E-Jet (16-1), will be travelling beyond 2200m for the first time but he believes they will stay. “I wouldn’t be running them otherwise,” he said.
De Kock has two lightly weighted horses in Patrotic Rebel, who is also trading at 8-1, and 16-1 shot Canterbury Tale.
Patriotic Rebel is another horse who will be travelling over this kind of distance for the first time, but with Anthony Delpech in the irons, looks the stable elect.
Canterbury Tale finished a long way behind Kolkata in the Gold Vase, but stopped late that day and there must have been something amiss with the son of Greys Inn. He won the Grade 2 Gold Bowl over 3200m at Turffontein on Champions Day and a better effort has to be expected.
The other horse quoted at 8-1 is Knight To Remember, who finished third behind Tarry-trained stablemates Aslan and Kolkata in the 2011 Gold Cup. He confirmed he was back to his best in the Gold Vase, when running on strongly for second, 0.75 lengths behind Kolkata (0.5kg better off). On that run there should not be much separating them again.
Betting World’s Gold Cup betting: 8-1 KNIGHT TO REMEMBER, KOLKATA, PATRIOTIC REBEL, SEAL; 10-1 SIL VOUS PLAIT, BLAKE; 14-1 SHOGUNNAR, GOLD ONYX; 16-1 E JET, CANTERBURY TALE, RIVER CROSSING; 20-1 AND UPWARDS OTHERS. – Racing Express (Nicci Garner).