It’s been a week of festivities. On Tuesday I celebrated my 50th birthday and what a day it turned it to be, thanks to my wife, Claudia. She organised a helicopter to pick me from the Vaal Racecourse and fly me to Rand Airport. The journey lasted just 20 minutes because you travel as the crow flies at 180kph.
I must also thank Phumelela for giving their permission for the helicopter to land at the course.
I also was treated to a “surprise” dinner at the Harbour Fish Market at Meyersdal where a lot more people turned up than expected. My sponsor, Wildekrans, did not only supply the liquor but the music as well. It was a really enjoyable day, topped by the fact that I even rode a winner!
I have to tell people although I may be 50, I still feel like a spring chicken and I have not in any way lost my competitive edge. On Thursday I celebrated my 5,000th winner as a qualified jockey and I’m still enjoying every victory. In fact, the older you get the more you appreciate them, especially as I have just come back from a three-month break through injury.
Today I’m off to Durban to ride at Greyville. My main reason for going is because the Snaith yard asked me to ride Master’s Eye in the Cup Trial. Even though he is not the preferred runner in the betting, the blinkers have been removed and that should help him settle a lot better.
Naturally I’ve tried to pick up some other rides which has resulted in my having an almost full card. As Durban is not my forte I’m not sure about the chances of my mounts but I think my best ride comes in Race 3 on Chili Con Carne who is one better rated runners in the race.
Inara looks hard to beat in the Tibouchina Stakes while French Navy is well weighted in the Rising Sun Gold Challenge and could have the edge over the field.
We come back to Turffontein tomorrow where racing is on the Standside track.
Race 1 is for work riders and my first pick is for Little Tokoyo who has only had one run and could make some improvement. His dangers could be Patric and Voodoo.
Race 2 is a Maiden Juvenile Plate for fillies and Levi Lady looks a possible banker in the Place Accumulator. But as there are a lot of unraced horses it might be wise to include Fashion Blast and Rebel’s Diamond. Also look whether any of the unraced horses are attracting money.
Race 3 is quite difficult as a couple of horses have run close up in their only starts. They are Shine Bright, Caribbean Queen and Truth Of Beauty. As there are unraced and lightly raced horses in the field you probably need to include all three in the PA. For the Pick 6 consider Beckoning and Lady Cristina as well.
Race 4 is a Maiden Plate over 1400m and I feel two horses should fight it out. They are Lady Negra and Secret Vision. I would have made Secret Vision a banker but she has a poor draw. Go for the two of them in both the PA and Pick 6.
Race 5 is a Pinnacle Stakes and that favours your best handicapped horse and in this case that honour goes to Trophy Wife. Unfortunately she’s racing over 1400m and does not have a great draw but she should still be good enough to run into the placings. That is why I would banker her in the PA.
Because of those factors I would include Shepard One and Hollie Point in the Pick 6. I’m riding Secret Heart who seems held on form and merit rating so the best I can do is hope for a place.
Race 6 is another Pinnacle Stakes and the best weighted runners are Arch Rival and Enaad. My first choice in Enaad who won impressively last time and more improvement can be expected. Those two should be good enough for the Place Accumulator but for the Pick 6 Elusive Flyer and the Elbow Effect should get you through safely.
Race 7 is the Jubilee Handicap and often horses who run in this race are looking to get into the Vodacom Durban July. I ride Deo Juvente who falls into that category. I’m naturally hoping he runs a good race as he is on the list as one of my potential Durban July rides. Unfortunately he is coming off a rest and the fact he is not well handicapped won’t help his chances.
My fancies are Judicial, Diesel Jet and Rainy Day Blues and they are my PA selections. For the Pick 6 consider Deo Juvente, Liege and Jubilee Line.
Race 8 is a handicap for fillies and mares over 2000m and a full field makes it even tougher. There are many runners with winning chances but unfortunately they have shocking draws to overcome. I would suggest including Laurel Cherry and Tobesuretobesure because of their decent draws and good form. But I would suggest you include one or two of your own fancies for the PA. For the Pick 6 put in as many as possible. I ride Tales Of Mambo who seems held on form on numerous runs. Luckily I have a fair draw which could give me some sort of a chance.