JOINT FAVOURITE ABASHIRI
Nicci Garner: A competitive field of 20 runners will face the starter in the R2-million Gauteng Sansui Summer Cup (Grade 1) over 2000m at Turffontein on Saturday next week.
Ante-post favourite Hermoso Mundo, a Weiho Marwing-trained five-year-old who has been given a low weight in in Johannesburg’s premier race, will carry saddlecloth No 11 in the race. He will be ridden by his trainer’s brother Weichong, who was in the saddle when Hermoso Mundo won the Gold Cup at Greyville last season.
Marwing has two other horses in the line-up Mac de Lago and Let It Rain, but racecourse chatter echoes strong leanings towards the favourite.
Abashiri, who topped bookmakers’ boards early in the nomination proceedings, is also in the field, with 58kg to shoulder. The Mike and Adam Azzie-trained Triple Crown (2016) winner will be ridden by the jockey who has partnered him in all but five of his races so far, Karl Zechner.
Trainer Geoff Woodruff, who has won the Summer Cup six times since the race was reintroduced in 1999, including the last four years in a row, also has three horses in the line-up, including Pagoda, who ran a good third behind Girl On The Run (subsequently won the Victory Moon Stakes last week). The four-year-old Mogok gelding is currently third favourite with Betting World. He will carry just 52.5kg and be ridden by JP van der Merwe.
Woodruff’s other runners are Master Switch, third in the Victory Moon Stakes, and talented stayer Banner Hill. Piere Strydom will ride Master Switch and Grant van Niekerk has been declared for Banner Hill.
He scratched Deo Juvente, the horse who had topped the Summer Cup log since the handicappers compiled their first list of possible runners in the race.
Two other horses who have attracted betting interest in the Summer Cup preliminaries were Nother Russia and Matador Man. Their connections declined to run them but had been hinting at their non participation for a while now.
Nother Russia is trained by Mike de Kock, another trainer who has won the Summer Cup on multiple occasions. He will run smart filly Orchid Island, winner of the SA Fillies Classic this year and fourth in the Victory Moon Stakes. She has just 53.5kg to carry and will be ridden by Anthony Delpech, a jockey who is riding at the top of his game at the moment.
The field was decided by a panel comprising Phumelela’s Vee Moodley, Clyde Basel and Jay Harrielall as well as handicappers Roger Smith and Matthew Lips. There were 28 final acceptances and the eight horses scratched were Witchcraft, Irish Pride, BiPot, Bezanova, Go Direct, The Elmo Effect, Hidden Agenda and Royal Utopia.
Betting World’s betting: 7-1 Abashiri, Hermoso Mundo; 9-1 Brazuca, Orchid Island; 10-1 French Navy, Crowd Pleaser; 12-1 Pagoda, Social Order; 14-1 Master Switch, Banner Hill, Liege; 16-1 Girl On The Run, Coral Fever; 18-1 Wind Chill; 20-1 Master Sabina; 25-1 New Predator, Tilbury Fort; 33-1 Fort Ember; 50-1 Let It Rain; 75-1 Mac De Lago.
The field in order of saddlecloth number, (no draw), horse, trainer, jockey, weight and merit rating is:
|1||0||New Predator (AUS)||J A Janse van Vuuren||B Lerena||60||113|
|2||0||Abashiri||M G Azzie/A A Azzie||K Zechner||58||109|
|3||0||Master Sabina||Joe Soma||B Fayd’Herbe||58||109|
|4||0||French Navy||Sean Tarry||S Khumalo||57.5||108|
|5||0||Brazuca (AUS)||J A Janse van Vuuren||G Lerena||57||107|
|6||0||Fort Ember||Paul Peter||C Maujean||56||105|
|7||0||Mac De Lago (AUS)||Weiho Marwing||M V’Rensburg||54.5||102|
|8||0||Master Switch||Geoff Woodruff||P Strydom||54||101|
|9||0||Orchid Island||Mike de Kock||A Delpech||53.5||101|
|10||0||Wind Chill||Joe Soma||C Murray||53.5||101|
|11||0||Hermoso Mundo||Weiho Marwing||W Marwing||53.5||100|
|12||0||Crowd Pleaser||J A Janse van Vuuren||K de Melo||53||100|
|13||0||Banner Hill||Geoff Woodruff||G van Niekerk||53||99|
|14||0||Liege||Sean Tarry||R Danielson||53||99|
|15||0||Pagoda||Geoff Woodruff||J P v’d Merwe||52.5||99|
|16||0||Girl On The Run||J A Janse van Vuuren||D Mansour||52.5||98|
|17||0||Coral Fever||Robbie Sage||M Yeni||52||97|
|18||0||Tilbury Fort||Sean Tarry||C Zackey||52||97|
|19||0||Social Order||Sean Tarry||*L Hewitson||52||96|
|20||0||Let It Rain||Weiho Marwing||R Munger||52||95|