The Rider Cup takes place over four legs on the Greyville poly on Sunday and it should be a thriller.
The KZN Falcons team is made up of Anton Marcus, Warren Kennedy, Sean Veale and Keagan de Melo.
The Highveld Hawks consists of Lyle Hewitson, Muzi Yeni, Gavin Lerena and S’Manga Khumalo.
The Cape Eagles team comprises Greg Cheyne, Richard Fourie, Bernard Fayd’Herbe and Corne Orffer.
The predicted order of finish in the first leg, an uninspiring maiden race is Over The Limit (Yeni), Sacred Blues (Lerena), Magic Bean (Marcus), Glacier Girl (Fourie), Tallulah Jet (Orffer), Retail Therapy (Veale), Duchess Lane (De Melo), Masters Beauty (Cheyne), Lady Clementine (Kennedy), Spanish Oasis (Khumalo), Amberbell (Fayd’Herbe), Jamie’s Joy (Hewitson).
Over The Limit did well when dropped to this trip last time and has a plum draw. Sacred Blues makes her debut after catching the eye in a barrier trial. She is by Oratorio and is from the family of the useful sprinter Down To Zero. Magic Bean has a fair action and can improve on her debut which did not pan out well. Glacier Girl has some of the best form in the race and makes her debut for the Alyson Wright yard having been sold out of the Mike de Kock yard. First-timers Tallulah Jet and Retail Therapy are both bred for further but did it easily in a barrier trial and should be staying on. Duchess Lane showed pace last time with first time blinkers on over 1400m and should appreciate the step back down to 1200m.
In the second leg, a fillies and mares MR 72 Handicap, the predicted order of finish is Spam Alert (Fayd’Herbe), Myelisha (Khumalo), Stormbourne Thunder (Veale), La Valette (De Melo), Mitra Music (Orffer), Song Of The Forest (Marcus), Mocha Rose (Hewitson), Mambo Lyric (Yeni), Rock Pigeon (Fourie) , Eden Gardens Glitz (Lerena), Give Me A Break Nate (Kennedy) and Senorita Amor (Cheyne).
Spam Alert has only had one run in KZN and likely needed it. If reproducing her Cape Town form she will go close, although she hasn’t raced since April 5 and that also followed a three month layoff. Myelisha is a filly with some substance and enjoys the poly. She was given an eight point raise for her win last time out in February and hasn’t raced since, but on collateral formlines she comes out well. Stormborne Thunder, whose form is quite hard-knocking, will likely go to the front and under a nice galloping weight can stay on. La Valette was dropped out from a wide draw over 1200m last time and ran on well. Mitra Music did quite well last time in a relatively strong workrider’s event over 1100m and should be involved over a more suitable trip. Song Of The Forest could contest the early lead under Marcus.
In the third leg the predicted order of finish is More Than A Dime (Fayd’Herbe), Barinois (Veale), Isla Morada (De Melo), Princess Analia (Hewitson) Imperial Royal (Khumalo), Berry Flambeau (Fourie), Such A Rush (Cheyne), Bronnie (Yeni), Miss Sabina (Orffer), Jo Mambo (Kennedy) Green Caviar (Marcus) and Keep It Real (Lerena),
More Than A Dime looks to have scope so can follow up on her maiden win. Barinois comes from a yard who is out of form but at her best is able to run on strongly. Isla Morada is a courageous sort who should finish close to More Than A Dime on paper. Princess Analia is course and distance suited and has dropped to a competitive mark. Imperial Royal would prefer further but if getting to the front from a wide draw could be dangerous. Barry Flambeau bolted home in a workrider’s maiden in Jo’burg when stepped up to this trip and starts off handicapping on a reasonable mark.
In the last leg over 1900m the predicted order of finish is Gimmie A Cohiba (Marcus), Three Dog Night (Lerena), Techno Captain (Hewitson), O’Reilly (Yeni), Gibraltar Green (De Melo), Sea Sponge (Cheyne), Al Jackman (Veale), Master Sam (Orffer), Don Pierro (Fourie), Everlasting Love (Khumalo), Hyaku (Kennedy), Haddington (Fayd’Herbe),
Gimmie A Cohiba has a wide draw but Marcus knows this horse well and if positioning him well his long stride will be effective in the straight. Three Dog Night won a maiden over 1600m at Turffontein with a sustained finish last time and will appreciate the step up in trip. Techno Captain is widely drawn but has come down to a nice mark and steps back up to a more suitable trip. O’Reilly ran a cracker last time over 2000m on turf considering he was considerably under sufferance and caught wide in the running. However, he does have another wide draw. Gibraltar Green won well over 1600m on the poly three runs ago albeit off a six point lower mark. This is a more suitable trip and his last run can be ignored as he was squeezed out in the straight. Sea Sponge has a chance on formlines with Gimmie A Cohiba.
It is going to be tight but on these predictions the Highveld Hawks will narrowly beat the KZN Falcons with the Cape Eagles third.
The top jockey will be very tight on these predictions. Anton Marcus and Sean Veale emerge as joint-winners and Bernard Fayd’Herbe is just one point further back in third.
There is all to play for and it should be an intriguing event.
By David Thiselton