Nicci Garner: Cape-based jockey Greg Cheyne tops the jockeys’ standings for the Eastern Cape this season with 77 wins – 34 clear of second-placed Juan Paul van der Merwe.
Fractionally more than one in five of his mounts at Fairview have won this season and one of them was Varsity Cup last time out.
Cheyne has a good rapport with this three-year-old Var gelding. He was in the saddle when Varsity Cup won a Maiden Plate for trainer Brett Crawford at Durbanville last October. The second time they teamed up, Varsity Cup did not stride out and his connections decided to send him to the weaker centre, picking Alan Greeff to take over his career.
Varsity Cup has had only one race in his new home and made a winning debut for the stable, beating Kingoftheworld by 2.75 lengths in a 1000m Polytrack race last month. Kingoftheworld is 2.5kg better off but Varsity Cup is entitled to be fitter for that race. Varonella (7kg better off) was 2.90 lengths behind Varsity Cup in fourth with Oracle Kingdom downfield.
Trainer Corne Spies has three runners in the field, including Kingoftheworld. The other two are dangerous contenders.
Spies and Teaque Gould joined up for three wins at Fairview last Friday, including in-form Favour’s Pride. The three-year-old filly will be partnered by Matthew Thackeray this time.
Gould will be riding Zip Line, who has won his last two starts on the Fairview Polytrack and could be the right one from the Spies trio.