SOUTH AFRICA: Derby the feature on richest raceday

Derby the feature on richest raceday

By Michael Clower
Racing Post

Turffontein: SA Nursery (Grade 1) 6f (1,160m),turf, 2yo (12.10pm BST)

This has been put back to Grade 1 after seven years as a Grade 2 and looks made for Soft Falling Rain (Mike’de Kock/Anton Marcus). Hamdan Al Maktoum’s filly has won all her three starts, all on this course.

War Horse (Corne Spies/J.P. van der Merwe) was only three-quarters of a length back on his second start and has since won a Grade 3. He is second favourite and has come in for support. There are also lines of form that point to Zestful (Stuart Pettigrew/Marco van Rensburg) who made a winning debut here earlier in the month.

Turffontein:Computaform Sprint (Grade 1) 5f, turf, 3yo+ (1.25pm BST)

This could be the swansong for last year’s winner Val’De Ra (Dennis Drier/Alec Forbes) who has only been beaten once in 12 outings and accounted for main rival What A Winter both 12 months ago and on her last start in the Cape Flying Championship at Kenilworth in January.

Drier said: “We gave her a little break after that race and then started prepping her for this. She couldn’t be better.”

Mike Bass, as last year, deliberately waited until Wednesday before despatching What A Winter on the 18-hour journey from Cape Town in order to minimise the effects of altitude.

Bass said: “He should get closer to Val’De Ra than he did in last year’s race because he didn’t get away at the start that day and this made it hard for him.

“He had every chance in the Cape Flying but she was just toogood for him. I think she will again be hard to beat if she is in her usual good form.”

J J The Jet Plane (Lucky Houdalakis/Anton Marcus) needed the outing in the Cape Flying and, although he had an outing here earlier in the month, Houdalakis said then that he felt the horse would need this race to put him spot on.

Turffontein: President’s Champion Challenge (Grade 1) 1m 2f, turf, 3yo+ (2.40pm BST)

Bravura(Joey Ramsden/Anton Marcus) was backed for the Horse Chestnut Stakes over a mile here four weeks ago but was hit in the face by a clod of earth and also finished lame behind. His trainer is expecting an improved performance.

Ramsden said: “He wasn’t lame for all that long but we then had a few respiratory problems. We have these sorted out and we have him back where we want him.”

The steadily improving Irish-bred Europa Point (Mike’de Kock/ Anthony Delpech) was an impressive winner of the Empress Club Stakes and is vying for favouritism with Dancewiththedevil (St John Gray/Gavin Lerena) who found the ground too firm that day. It is unlikely to be as soft as she reallylikes it but it will not be fast.

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