PROSPECT Strike, third behind Golden Horseshoe winner Seventh Plain in the Gold Medallion subsequently, is not well drawn in the R600,000 Premier’s Champion Stakes (Grade 1) over 1600m at Greyville on Saturday 25 July.
Dominic Zaki’s runner is the highest-rated runner in unofficial merit ratings in the field of two-year-olds. However, he has quite a bit to overcome. He is drawn at No 14 of the 16 runners, a severe disadvantage on the tight Greyville track, and will be racing over a middle distance for the first time. Even though he is out of a Mr Prospector mare, there is no guarantee he will stay. He is to be ridden by Gavin Lerena.
Persian Rug, Mike de Kock’s runner in Thekwini Stakes.
Two-time winner Rabada, from the Mike Azzie stable and to be ridden by Anton Marcus, won the 1400m Gatecrasher Stakes and has a better chance of seeing out the distance. He is rated seven points, or 3.50 lengths inferior to Prospect Strike, but might be better than his unofficial merit rating.
Azzie will also saddle debut winner Abashiri and High Game, who escaped the maiden ranks last time out at the third time of asking.
Paul Peter-trained Mogok Master, who will be ridden by S’manga Khumalo, is the handicapper’s unofficial second choice. He finished a six-length fifth behind Rabada in the Gatecrasher Stakes and went on to run fourth behind Seventh Plain in the Golden Horseshoe.
Chestnuts N Pearls and Flying Ice seem to be the two main runners in the equivalent race for two-year-old fillies.
Dennis Drier-trained Chestnuts N Pearls has won two races so far, last time out beating Almashooqa in the Golden Slipper over 1400m on July Day. Flying Ice, from the Neil Bruss yard, beat Almashooqa in the Devon Air Stakes over 1400m in June. Both drew well.
The field for the R600,000 Premiers Champion Stakes (Grade 1) over 1600m (merit ratings are unofficial):
|1||2||Abashiri||Mike Azzie||A Delpech||60||83|
|2||16||Captain’s Causeway||Sean Tarry||M Yeni||60||80(s)|
|3||15||Cutting Edge||Dennis Bosch||J Geroudis||60||97|
|4||1||Escape Route||Sean Tarry||R Danielson||60||86|
|5||8||High Game||Mike Azzie||D Dillon||60||80|
|6||11||Jet Air||Mike Bass||B Fayd’Herbe||60||90|
|7||10||Malak El Moolook||Sean Tarry||S Khumalo||60||90|
|8||3||Mogok Master||Paul Peter||P Strydom||60||102|
|9||6||Mr Roy||Alyson Wright||S Cormack||60||91|
|10||7||Nephrite||Lucky Houdalakis||I Sturgeon||60||88|
|11||14||Prospect Strike||Dominic Zaki||G Lerena||60||103|
|12||4||Rabada||Mike Azzie||A Marcus||60||96|
|13||13||Rikitikitana||Sean Tarry||*C Zackey||60||92|
|14||5||Roman Calamity||Corne Spies||S Randolph||60||86|
|15||9||Singh Is King||Kumaran Naidoo||*T Godden||60||87|
|16||12||Star Chestnut||Justin Snaith||R Fourie||60||99|
Same Trainer – Not Coupled on Tote (1,5,12) (2,4,7,13)
The field for the R600,000 Thekwini Stakes (Grade 1, fillies) over 1600m:
|1||13||Big Sugar (AUS)||Charles Laird||A Marcus||60||83|
|2||5||Chestnuts n Pearls||Dennis Drier||S Cormack||60||100|
|3||3||Flying Ice||Neil Bruss||B Fayd’Herbe||60||96|
|4||7||Fort Ember||Paul Peter||P Strydom||60||79|
|5||4||Frosted Honey||Mike Azzie||G Lerena||60||93|
|6||8||La Strada||Mike Azzie||R Danielson||60||92|
|7||9||Lauderdale||Duncan Howells||M Yeni||60||95|
|8||1||Mella Maria (AUS)||Mike Azzie||A Delpech||60||92|
|9||2||Melliflora||Mike Azzie||D Dillon||60||90|
|10||12||Old Em||Sean Tarry||*C Zackey||60||90|
|11||11||Persian Rug||Mike de Kock||S Khumalo||60||88|
|12||10||Queen Of Credit||Robbie Hill||R Fourie||60||81|
|13||6||Silvan Jazz||Corne Spies||S Randolph||60||84|
Same Trainer – Not Coupled on Tote (5,6,8,9)