It’s all systems go tomorrow as I was given the all-clear by the doctors and I will be riding at Turffontein. I have an important date with Abashiri who is my confirmed mount for the Vodacom Durban July on 7 July.
I’ve been approached by many people to find out what has been going on with some of the top jockeys who have been injured over the weeks. On a continuous basis we have little falls or get injured in the starting stalls and we often have to ride through that and live on medication for a while.
Unfortunately, if we keep getting off because of minor injuries we wouldn’t be riding half the time.
I have heard different reasons why jocks are getting injured, including blaming the condition of the track, but in my opinion I don’t believe any of the guys have picked up injuries because of the track, but then again, I have not ridden for a month.
My fall was the result of a broken stirrup while the injuries to Anthony Delpech and Gavin Lerena were as a result of other riders not taking proper precautions. Sadly that will always happen because we are all trying hard to win our races. The guilty parties do get punished for their deeds, though.
Anton Marcus got his injury from a horse misbehaving and Gunter Wrogemann, who is currently under medical treatment, came down after his horse fractured her leg. Unfortunately Gunter ended up with facial injuries, including a broken jaw that needed surgery.
I have had many broken bones in my career but I sympathise with Gunter as the worst injury to me was having a broken jaw. The reason is that your jaw is wired up and you feel as if you could drown in your own saliva or vomit. As you can’t chew, everything has to be liquidised and the weird thing is that everything almost tastes the same as you suck it through a straw.
I certainly wish everybody a speedy recovery.
Today there is racing at Greyville and we have some important lead-up events to the Durban July, especially as the favourite, African Night Sky, is running in the Grade 3 Cup Trial. He does have a bad draw to overcome but it will be interesting to see how he performs as it could affect the betting on the big race.
We also have the Rising Sun Gold Challenge in which Snowdance is the favourite. She did get beaten last time but trainer Justin Snaith probably did not have her at her best as there is a long season to go. You do need to respect her but the right horse for this race could be Sail South. He is drawn No 1 and has a run under the belt so he might surprise his stable companion, Captain America.
Tomorrow we race on the Standside track at Turffontein and we start with a 1400m Juvenile Plate with the favourite being Soqrat. He won his first and only start comfortably and could be a champion. Unfortunately he has a wide draw over a course and distance where the barrier position is vital so you could get a bit of value with Epic Dream. He was just beaten on debut and then went down just 3.65 lengths to William The Silent in the Grade 2 SA Nursery.
Race 2 is another Juvenile Plate, this time for fillies, and the favourite is Nafaayes. The same comment I made for Race 1 could apply in this event in that she won her only start. But the value could be with Cloud Break who has placed in a feature race and is drawn No 1.
Cloud Break should get you through the BiPot.
Race 3 is a Graduation Plate which favours the best handicapped horses. That honour goes to Naafer and he could quite easily be a Place Accumulator banker. The next best horse is Visuality but when I’ve ridden her she has struggled to keep up with the pace and in the winter going that could be a problem.
Therefore the danger could be my ride, Down To Zero, and Ouro. As Naafer ran at Scottsville last time the travelling could have affected him so include Down To Zero as back-up.
Race 4 is a Pinnacle Stakes and it should favour your best handicapped runner, which in this case is my ride, Abashiri. We will be looking for a forward run from him. He is nicely drawn but 1400m is likely to be too short so I can’t expect him to win but I hope he runs well so we can have a chance in the July.
To me the horses to follow are my stable companions Will Pays and Splendid Garden. Those two could be good enough for the PA but for the Pick 6 you might have to include Abashiri as his class could see him through, as well as Zouaves and She’s A Giver.
Race 5 is another Pinnacle Stakes where your best handicapped runner is Al Danza. She should be a PA banker.
For the Pick 6 other inclusions will be Simply Royal, Mrs O and Desert Rhythm as your main back-up but if you feel more horses are needed then look at Secret Star, Dame Eleanor, Dame Kelly and Dressed To Impress.
Race 6 is a fillies’ handicap over 2400m and here my first choice is Arte. She has solid form, a good draw and a 4kg claimer up. She should be a banker in all bets but if you are looking beyond her, go with Tundra Taita and Dalley.
Race 7 is the Grade 3 Jubilee Handicap and some of these runners need to win to get into the Durban July. My fancies are among the potential July runners who are Yakeen, Tilbury Fort, Social Order and Fort Ember.
Cascapedia is one of my fancies but she has done enough to qualify. Consider as many of those mentioned for the PA but for the Pick 6 include Wind Chill.
I ride Arctica who looks held on form and I can only hope for the best in this competitive field.
Race 8 is a Maiden Plate and Big Myth looks to be a banker in all bets. She’s lightly raced and already has solid form where a lot of the others have had plenty of chances to win a race.
If you are looking for back-up then consider Stormborne Thunder. I rode her first time out and she was very green. She is now drawn No 2 whereas last time she had a shocking draw and had to come from far off them and was beaten just 4.70 lengths.
Race 9 is another Maiden Plate and looks a lot more competitive so in the PA include Ebony Rush, Shadow Man and Mogok’s Time.
For the Pick 6 other possibilities are Come The Day, Africa’s Gold, Gift For The Gap and Go Ballistic.