HERE is The Citizen’s Racing Editor Jack Milner’s preview of Saturday’s Supreme Cup on sand at the Vaal.
Finding the winner of a race like the R1-million Supreme Cup is rarely easy. The Grade 2 event, sponsored by SAP, is run over 1450m on the Vaal sand and for a horse to win it, a lot of factors need to fall into place.
Ideally you need a runner who is proven on the Vaal sand, is well drawn, fit and has the form to win the race.
This year it not that easy because no runner fits the mould perfectly.
Sean Tarry is on record saying that his three runners have had their African horse sickness injections and could be in need of the run. In addition, favourite Willow Magic is not well drawn at No 9 and has yet to race on the surface.
The same applies to Justin Snaith-trained Ultimate Dollar. Snaith says he is their best worker on the sand but that means little at the Vaal, which has a unique sand surface.
Sparingly raced Toro Rosso, a force on sand.
Deputy Jud has won on the Vaal sand, is well drawn but has not run since the Champions Cup (Grade 1) at Greyville on 1 August.
“Deputy Jud has been gelded and has had a nice preparation. He enjoys this track, is in good shape, is moving well and looking good.”
But he could also be short of a run.
The Mike de Kock duo of Toro Rosso and Mootahadee both have form at the course but the former is drawn widest of all and Mootahadee looks held on the August Stakes form.
So at the end of the day one will have to break the rule and find a runner who is very strong in most of the departments but might be lacking in one.
That runner could be Roman Carnival.
Stephen Moffatt’s charge has won three of four races at the course, including the Grade 3 August Stakes last month, and was narrowly beaten in the other.
He is supremely fit, he has the form to win but is badly drawn.
He will jump from barrier No 13 which is not in his favour but Moffatt is quietly confident about the chances of is runner.
“He is doing very well. He had a good sprint up this morning (Thursday) and he is improving all the time. He is a very decent horse.”
He ran away from the opposition in the August Stakes, the first occasion he ran in blinkers.
“The blinkers made a big difference last time. I just put them on to make him race a little more handily. He’s a sensible horse and he’s not going to overrace.
“I know he will need a bit of luck from that draw but I feel with horses like Precursor and Isphan in the race there will be a good pace.
“He has good gate speed hopefully will get himself well placed.
“I don’t want to sound over-confident but if he is within four lengths of them going through the 400m mark, he will be very hard to beat.”
There is an added bonus of R100,000 for the connections offered by World Sports Betting for any horses who can complete the August Stakes, Supreme Cup double. Chase Maujean, who has ridden him in all but one of his races, has the ride again.
After that one has to look at the class runners, Deputy Jud, Willow Magic and Ultimate Dollar.
Prawn lovers should make the trip to the Vaal for the Prawn Festival.