The Highveld Hawks, defending their title for the third time in succession, are set to get off to a smart start in New Turf Carriers Rider Cup at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday. Muzi Yeni has drawn the plum ride on the Sean Tarry-trained Over The Limit while ‘stable companion’ Gavin Lerena will be aboard first timer Sacred Blues for Garth Puller, second and third favourites in the first leg and third race on the card.
Early favourite for the opening leg is Glacier Girl, Richard Fourie also having landed a plum draw on Alyson’s Wright’s filly. A close-up second in a work rider’s race for Mike de Kock last time out, Glacier Girl has her first run for Wright and the blinkers come off.
Over The Limit boasts some consistent Highveld form and with Tarry and Yeni both contenders for their respective national championships, both will be keen on a victory.
With riders and runners having been drawn out of the hat, nothing can be read into the riding arrangements but the bonus is that we have a dozen of the country’s premier riders in action.
Duncan Howells holds a strong hand in the second leg with Mocha Rose and La Valette, Lyle Hewitson and Keagan de Melo doing duty for the stable. Mocha Rose did not get the best of passages when down the field behind stable companion Barinois last time out with her recent form over course and distance more than useful.
La Valette started at long odds when making her poly track debut and appeared to take to the synthetic surface, staying on well behind the older Missibaba. A win for Hewitson would be further good news for the Hawks.
Sean Veale can strike back for the KZN Falcons aboard the Howells runner Barinois in the next. The synthetic surface seems to bring out the best in her, her last effort coming over course and distance when coming from last to win going away.
Miss Sabina looks a likely danger while Imperial Royal has a tricky draw to contend with but was a close-up third when up against stronger at her last start.
The final leg of the Cup could see the giant Haddington record the eighth win of his career. He is back over his favourite course and distance and Bernard Fayd’Herbe is sure to get the best out of Louis Goosen’s runner.
At around 13-1 in the market he looks fair value for money with Gimme A Cohiba and Anton Marcus weak 3-1 favourites in the early betting with O’Reilly and Don Pierro 6-1 chances according to bookmakers.
Punters are reminded that there is tote betting on the outcome of the Cup “twelfth” race on the card, there will be win, place and swinger options on the outcome where the jockey who accumulates the most points will be declared Victor Ludorum. The pools close at the start of race 3 (13.25).