South Africa

Big payday up for grabs as stars rise in Classic Day at Turffontein

horse racing

Winston Churchill once said there is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. It is Classic Day on Saturday at Turffontein and as we observe these wonderful beasts give everything of themselves just to please their masters, we understand what Churchill is saying.

So many current and potential champions will be racing at Turffontein and just seeing them in action will get the heart pumping. Three Grade 1 races head up the card and they include the second leg of the SA Triple Crown and Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara for three-year-olds.

The TAB SA Classic and Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic, both Grade 1 races over 1800m on the Standside track, are undoubtedly the pivotal leg of the three-race event as both winners of the TAB Gauteng Guineas and Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas will be back in action in an attempt to keep their hopes alive.

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To add to the thrill on the day there is a R1 million carryover to kick off the Pick 6 with the pool likely to reach R5 million.

Both Sandringham Summit and Gimme A Nother could not have been more impressive in their respective victories and are hot favourites to repeat their successes.

Both will face similar opposition to the group that challenged them in the Guineas and Fillies Guineas with Mike de Kock having Fillies Guineas runner-up Silver Sanctuary and Champagne Cocktail joining unbeaten Gimme A Nother. But considering very little went right for her in the early part of the race and she still won in a canter, the daughter of Gimmethegreenlight should not get beaten.

The runners who finished from second to seventh spot behind Sandringham Summit are all there again and of those William Iron Arm, who finished third, could provide the main threat. He was having his first race since June 2023 last time and trainer Tony Peter will have him far fitter on this occasion.

Whether it will be enough to beat Sandringham Summit only the race will tell but David Nieuwenhuizen’s charge, who teams up again with Gavin Lerena, had so much in reserve, a reversal looks highly unlikely.

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The other Grade 1 feature is the Wilgerbosdrift HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m, and this has attracted an outstanding field. It is headed up by Equus Horse-Of-The-Year Princess Calla and includes Hollywoodbets Durban July winner Winchester Mansion, Puerto Manzano, top three-year-old Main Defender, Cousin Casey and three runners from the Western Cape – Cosmic Highway (Dean Kannemeyer), Sugar Mountain (Candice Bass-Robinson) and At My Command (Brett Crawford).

Bass-Robinson won this race last year with Trip Of Fortune but could find it tough to repeat it this time against the quality of these runners.

Sean Tarry-trained Princess Calla, with Richard Fourie in the irons, will be very hard to beat under the race conditions. She gets a 2.5kg sex allowance and that makes her the best weighted runner by at least 3kg. However, the concern is that she has only recently returned from a stint in the Western Cape and perhaps the travelling might have been unsettling. However, if you look beyond her, the race is wide open.

So, there are two ways to look at this Pick 6. There are a number of prospective bankers in Gimme A Nother, Sandringham Summit, Princess Calla and even Grade 1 Cape Flying Championship winner Dyce in the final leg. One can go with all the bankers, load the other legs and take it a number of times.

Alternatively, if one is not that comfortable about the runners who travelled to the Cape, then load those legs as well. One can also do both – take a small one a few times and take a covering Pick 6 in case some of the good things get run over.

Either way, if one catches it right, one is in for a big payday.