Formerly trained by Mike Azzie, this son of Var was never a factor in his first four runs after joining Miller’s stable and equipped with blinkers.
However, the four-year-old showed sparkling form in his subsequent two runs when racing without blinkers – winning by 10.25 lengths with Hennie Greyling up in a 1200m MR 75 Handicap, and then by 6.50 lengths in the 1200m Flamingo Park Sprint with Munger aboard.
Though having incurred a hefty 16-point penalty in achieving that impressive double and now set to carry 62.5kg, the five-time winner could be up to the task again when taking on somewhat lesser company.
He will have most to fear in top-weight Pont Du Gard with apprentice Dennis Schwarz up, out of Corrie Lensley’s stable. This six-time winner scored smartly by three lengths in his penultimate outing in a 1000m Pinnacle Stakes, but was soundly beaten into third place by Roquebrune in the Flamingo Park Sprint. However, the four-year-old should finish much closer this time as his carded weight of 63kg will be reduced to 61.5kg with Schwarz’s apprentice claim.
Expect a bold bid from Cliffie Miller-trained two-time winner Phil’s Power ridden by Muzi Yeni who will relish having just 52kg on his back. This three-year-old was not disgraced in his last two outings after posting a decisive double over 1200m.
Others who could be involved in the finish are Miss Aphrodite, Surf’s Up and Harrison.
Leading Flamingo Park jockey Yeni should have his followers in the payout queue when partnering Tienie Prinsloo-trained Gus in Race 1, a Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1000m. The colt was a promising fast-finishing second out of 14 on debut over 800m with Lukas Bester up and is unlikely to miss this time over the extra distance.
The best of the others are Gus’ stablemates Seattle Site and Star Of Wings.