CHERRY On The Top is the top-rated horse among the 17 entries for the R1-million L Jaffee Empress Club Stakes (Grade 1) over 1600m at Turffontein on Friday 11 April.
The Ormond Ferraris-trained four-year-old will be well treated by the conditions in this weight-for-age race, but has drawn wide at No 15. There is also a slight possibility that 1600m will be on the short side for her nowadays.
She has also not won a race since wrapping up a historic Triple Tiara victory in the SA Oaks last year but has only run four times since and has not been seen out since fluffing her lines in the Sansui Summer Cup hosted by Gauteng in November last year.
Festival Of Fire.
That means KwaZulu-Natal-based Jet Aglow – the second top-rated runner, six points or three lengths, inferior to Cherry On The Top – will have plenty of supporters if she takes part in the race. Dennis Drier’s charge won two races at the Cape during the summer season there and finishing third behind Beach Beauty in the Maine Chance Farms Paddock Stakes.
Arcetri Pink, winner of the Gauteng Fillies Guineas, and Athina, winner of the SA Fillies Classic, are the leading three-year-old fillies on the list of entries, while Along Came Polly, who finished second to Athina in the SA Fillies Classic, has been added to the initial 16.
The entries in order of draw, horse, age and sex, merit rating and trainer are:
15 CHERRY ON THE TOP (4F) 110 Ormond Ferraris
3 JET AGLOW (4F) 104 Dennis Drier
10 ARCETRI PINK (AUS) (3F) 102 Geoff Woodruff
4 ESPUMANTI (GB) (4F) 102 Mike de Kock
9 FESTIVAL OF FIRE (4F) 99 Mike de Kock
13 JACKODORE (5M) 99 Sean Tarry
14 NOT SULKING (3F) 99 Geoff Woodruff
5 ILHA BELA (5M) 98 Mike de Kock
1 CLASSIC ILLUSION (5M) 97 B Gary Alexander
16 ATHINA (3F) 96 Joe Soma
8 SEA SHADOW (4F) 94 Dominic Zaki
11 FOR THE LADS (3F) 91 Sean Tarry
7 NEGEV (4F) 90 B Louis Goosen
6 SANTA CAROLINA (3F) 90 Mike de Kock
2 LUALA (4F) 75 Stephen Moffatt
12 TIP TOE (4F) 72 Gavin van Zyl
0 ALONG CAME POLLY (3f) 99 Gavin van Zyl
Supplementary entries close on Friday 4 April when the weights will be published. The final field will be available on Monday 7 April.