Jack Milner: The R750,000 WSB Grand Heritage is not only unique in that it is the only race to have more than 20 runners, or because it is run over the unusual distance of 1475m, but also because it gives horses of all levels the opportunity to race for a massive first prize of R406,250.
It is raced up the straight and, as a result, the draw should not be that important although last year horses drawn on the outside of the field were definitely favoured.
There are some wonderful opportunities for bettors, including R1.5 million kick-starting the Pick 6 and the pool estimated to reach R4 million. However, there will also be R200,000 added to the Quartet pool, which is expected to reach R750,000. Last year the Quartet paid over R400,000, even with favourite Irish Pride winning the race.
It is a tricky handicap for punters to decipher but, at the end of the day, it is always safer to go with a tried and tested combination and that could well be trainer Mike de Kock and jockey Callan Murray. They have had a lot of success over the past few months and if you couple that with the fact De Kock has received some decent runners from the Western Cape recently, the runner who looks to have the best chance is Elevated.
As a three-year-old, this son of Elusive Fort looked to have a bright future and was just a length or two behind some of the most talented horses in the country. He finished second to Table Bay in the Grade 2 Cape Classic and then fourth behind William Longsword and Gold Standard in the Grade 1 Cape Guineas.
But then he lost his way until he arrived on the Highveld and moved to De Kock. He has only had one run for the stable and, on that occasion, beat Top Shot by 0.80 lengths. “He has done nothing wrong since he has been up in Joburg,” said assistant Mathew de Kock. “He won his race comfortably, he’s come on since then and his work is good.
“He ran fourth in the Cape Guineas and was rated 99 back then. He is an 88 now so if the handicappers were right he has some points in hand.”
Port Elizabeth-based trainer Dorrie Sham believes she has a horse capable of winning this event and she brought Classify to Johannesburg one month back. He contested the Grade 3 Spring Spree Stakes in which he ran on well to finish a close-up fourth. “That run was more than we expected, especially once I saw how tight the Turffontein Inside track is,” said Sham. “The Vaal straight should suit him. This race will give him time to find to feet. It’s now in the hands of the gods and 27 other runners.”
For the Quartet, float those two with Arctica, Kings Archer, Social Order, Zouaves, Secret Captain, Amazing Strike, Donny G, Forest Fox and Tandava.