Bling, bling ka-ching! This year’s Gold Challenge looks extremely competitive as many horses will be looking to use this opportunity to book their place into this year’s running of the Durban July. All eyes will be on the Gold Challenge in Race 7, but we’ve taken a look at the rest of the card and offered our fancy in each race.
Greyville – (Saturday)
Race 1 – Vasilikos
Experience could be the deciding factor as Vasilikos is the top selection ahead of a host of first-timers in the race. He did come out the maidens in his last run, beating a horse called Imposing, who went on to run in a Grade 1. Muzi Yeni has ridden him in his last two starts, finishing runner-up in his penultimate start as well. The gelding seems to have got him on track with a second career win expected here.
Race 2 – Uncle George
It may be worthwhile following the money in Race 2 on Gold Challenge day. Uncle George from the Wendy Whitehead stable has found plenty of betting support so far and will be ridden by in-form jockey Richard Fourie for the first time in his career. The 3-year-old son of Querari finished third in his last start, with the fourth and fifth horses coming out to frank the form since that run. Despite the fairly wide draw, he should go close in this field.
Race 3 – LITTLEMARYSUNSHINE
Richard Fourie and Mike De Kock team up in Race 3 and should bring the odds-on favourite home. LITTLEMARYSUNSHINE won her last start emphatically, finishing over four and a half lengths ahead of the chasing pack. In her penultimate start, she finished second behind Miss Cool, who went on to with the SA Nursery. She drops in trip by a furlong, which could suit her and make her followers very happy.
Race 4 – Ready Or Not
Races of this sort are always tricky to call as you never know how to judge a 2-year-old accordingly. From the pack, Ready Or Not stands out after an impressive debut outing on this course, running third despite being trapped wide in the running. With the experience under his belt now, Keagan De Melo and Dean Kannemeyer should team up to go one better on this beautifully-bred colt for the Khaya Stables.
Race 5 – Mount Anderson
Once again, Keagan De Melo and Dean Kannemeyer could be the pair worth following in this Grade 3 feature race. Mount Anderson won his only attempt over this course and distance, beating a few horses in this field. He then followed that up by finishing second behind two-time Durban July winner, Do It Again, in a Grade 2 event. The late Mr & Mrs Rattray have had plenty of success on Gold Challenge day with their horses in the past and this Saturday should be no different.
Race 6 – Supreme Quest
Supreme Quest is in some solid form and should take a power of beating in this Grade 2 feature race. The 3-year-old daughter of Querari won her only course and distance attempt and finished runner up behind Under Your Spell in a Grade 2 feature last time out, despite losing ground at the start. With Muzi Yeni in the saddle, she should be tough to oppose.
Race 7 – Jet Dark
Jet Dark had no luck in running in his comeback run in the Drill Hall Stakes, coming from last to finish strongly in that race. He is the type of horse that improves in his second time out and rightfully leads the betting market. S’manga Khumalo and Justin Snaith have teamed up to bring home Group 1 success before with Jet Dark, and this should happen once again on Saturday.
Race 8 – Master Archie
Master Archie certainly doesn’t meet a weak field in Race 8 but its easy to see that he is the class of the race, winning six of his 11 starts. He did win a Grade 1 in his last outing, beating Big Burn by over 2 lengths over a 1000m. Gavin Lerena knows him well and should lead him into the winner’s enclosure for the Paul Peter stable.
Race 9 – Sea Cruise
It’s also wise to go wide in the last leg of the Pick 6, despite an odds-on favourite being in the race. Here, the top selection is Sea Cruise. She usually finishes her races off nicely, despite battling to come out the maidens, and with Rachel Venniker in the irons, she should be competitive.
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