With the Pick 6 proving difficult to catch in the days immediately following the introduction of the new no-coupling rule on Monday last week, players were given some relief at Turffontein on Saturday when the results went to form.
The Pick 6 pool, with a R0.5-million carryover, exceeded R3 million and the bonanza pot was shared by 412.83 ticketholders. The bet paid R7,496.
A couple of races on the card highlighted horses to follow.
First-up was Close The Gap in Race 4, a Maiden Plate over 1600m.
The Fort Wood filly out of classy broodmare Rawl Plug (dam of talented horses like Hilti and Cork Wood) started 4-10 favourite for her second career start and did not let her supporters down.
Jockey Robbie Fradd had her on the paint disputing third place with Red Oak as Soukous led from Royal Bid. Fradd edged Close The Gap towards the centre of the track shortly after the runners cornered into the home straight. When he asked her for an effort, she had the race sewn up within strides and ran away from her opposition, with Fradd looking over both shoulders for unsighted challengers, before easing down to win by 5.25 lengths.
She looks likely to be a strong contender for top honours in all three legs of the Triple Tiara next year for the same connections who won all three legs with Cherry On The Top this year– trainer Ormond Ferraris and owner Bridget Oppenheimer.
Another three-year-old filly impressed experts in winning Race 6, a Conditions Plate over 1200m – Winter Star. She, too, obliged as hot favourite at 9-10 in beating Tzigane by 2.25 lengths.
This classy daughter of Solskjaer jumped clear of the field but was soon in third behind Ferrari Dawn and Tzigane. When a gap opened between Ferrari Dawn and the rail, jockey Raymond Danielson wasted no time filling the vacuum and she edged up to join the leader 350m from the line. Relentless in her pursuit of her third career win, she pulled clear 300m out and left the rest chasing hopelessly.
Topliner was a Pinnacle Stakes over 1450m and honours went to Royal Zulu Warrior, travelling over an extended sprint distance again after running well in defeat over shorter trips in Grade 1 features. Many experts believed the seven-year-old would not stay the distance and he drifted slightly to 5-1 but he proved them wrong in no uncertain terms.
Second alongside Love Struck as Impresa towed them along, he took over about 500m from the line and ran on well to win by three lengths. Love Struck became a bit cramped for galloping room on the fence while making his run but once Impresa went out the back door, he started to progress again. However, War Horse, who was caught a bit flatfooted at the top of the short straight, was closing strongly and he got up to snatch second by 0.50 lengths.
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