“It’s the July, it’s always very competitive and you need some luck in running but I wouldn’t want to be on anything else,” said Yeni. “My horse has been good to me. He won a Grade 1 last time and over R3 million in stakes, so he’s proven himself!”
The Robbie Sage-trained Judpot five-year-old beat the likes of dual Equus champion Legal Eagle, star mare Nother Russia and 2017 Triple Crown hero Abashiri when winning his last start, the Grade 1 Premier’s Champion Challenge over 2 000m at Turffontein.
That was Coral Fever’s second win in just three starts when fitted with blinkers, which Yeni believes has improved the horse.
“I spoke to Mr Sage about it (adding blinkers) after Cape Town,” where Coral Fever ran in the Sun Met. “I felt he wasn’t putting it all in. They’ve made the difference and his mind is on the job now!”
While Sage has his reservations about Coral Fever adapting to the tight Greyville track, Yeni believes a true-run race and an honest pace should see his mount perform in another positive light.
“I know he hasn’t raced there before but I don’t see why he shouldn’t run a good race. There are horses drawn wide who will be looking to get over into a nice position, so that should inject some early speed into the race. I don’t think it will be a fast-run race but they should go an even tempo, which will suit my horse.”
He added, “I’m confident, I have to be. Yes, my horse carries top weight but he’s earned it. He has the form to be competitive and I’m expecting a big run. Obviously I have to respect horses like African Night Sky, Jeff Lloyd’s ride Made To Conquer and Abashiri (0,5kg better off for a 0,25 lengths), but I’ll be disappointed were I not to finish in the first three!”
Yeni has several good chances in other races on the day and is hopeful a number of his rides can acquit themselves well in very competitive races. “I’m riding Sheet Weaver for Mr (Alec) Laird in Race 4. He has the second lowest rating in the field but stays well, so must have some sort of a chance carrying just 50kg over 3 000m.”
In the Grade 2 Golden Horseshoe (Race 6), Yeni rides Spies trained Rule The Night, who he is hoping can run into the money.
“He’s held on form by one of the better horses in the race from the De Kock stable, but could improve after needing his last start. He tired from the front last time and I’ll probably be looking to go for- ward with him again.”
Duncan Howells-trained filly Sorceress takes on colts and geldings in Race 8 but Yeni is expecting a good run from her.
Snowdance is one of the better bets on the card in race 9, the Grade 1 Garden Province Stakes, but Yeni could pounce aboard Howells-trained Neptune’s Rain were the favourite to fluff her lines. “She’s so consistent. She hasn’t been a mile (1 600m) but I don’t see why she shouldn’t get the trip. Obviously Snowdance is the horse to beat but I’m confident I can finish in the money.”
In the KZN Yearling Sale Million, Yeni rides Pickawinner who he rates and expects to improve over 1 300m. “He’s a good horse. I like him!