Betfair's Andrew Riddell casts his eye over South Africa's answer to Champions Day, with four Grade 1s on a top-class Greyville card...
The final graded event on the card is the Gold Bracelet (Grade 2) over a mile and two furlongs, 2000 metres in metric speak. I won't be previewing the race in its entirety but just tipping you the winner:
Another cracking day's racing in South Africa at Greyville this Saturday, featuring the final four Grade 1 races of the season. A fitting day's racing to close the season, in which Mike De Kock should clinch the trainers title, but the jockey's title is far less settled with three runners (namely Anton Marcus, Anthony Delpech and Gavin Lerena) still in with a chance.
De Kock saddles four runners (Ilsanpietro, Captains Wild, Gorongosa and Vettel) in the feature Gold Cup run over two miles, while July Handicap-winning trainer Sean Tarry saddles two runners including defending champ Aslan and Kolkata. Mike Bass, champion trainer in the Western Cape saddles four runners as well (Golden Parachute, Croc Valley, Thanks John and Jeppe's Reef). Still, it's the Dean Kannemeyer-trained Blake that is the current 4/1 favourite for the race. Seven of the runners will be taking on the Gold Cup distance for the first time, while another septet that ran in the race last year are returning for another crack at the richest staying prize on the South African calendar. A mouth-watering event and a true test of stamina if the forecast rain arrives this Friday.
The juveniles kick start the Graded action with the fillies contesting the Thekwini Stakes over a mile, in which leading contenders include Straight Set, All is Secret, King's Temptress, followed by the boys in the Premiers Champions Stakes, also over a mile. Horses in the southern hemisphere have their birthdays on the 1st of August, so it is the last opportunity of the season for the juveniles to strut their stuff.
Following the Gold Cup is the final Grade 1 of the season, the Champions Cup over nine furlongs. Included in the field are eight runners who contested the July Handicap. It is currently 4/1 the field and a wide-open contest.
The final graded event on the card is the Gold Bracelet (Grade 2) over a mile and two furlongs, 2000 metres in metric speak. I won't be previewing the race in its entirety but just tipping you the winner: Beach Beauty. She has come out of the July Handicap well and over her optimum trip again this evening, I do believe she will win.