Jack Milner: The Grade 3 Jubilee Handicap over 1800m on the Standside track at Turffontein on Sunday will be the last chance for horses to qualify for the R4.25-million Vodacom Durban July over 2200m at Greyville on Saturday 7 July.
Of the runners in the Jubilee, there is a lot at stake for those on the periphery – Social Order, Fort Ember, Tilbury Fort and Yakeen.
Social Order holds the highest position on the log and has the most to gain, but lower down the order are Tilbury Fort and Yakeen, and off low weights they could fight out the finish.
If one takes a line through Pilou there is very little to choose between the pair but Yakeen does have a very narrow advantage. Mike de Kock’s charge has only raced five times for three wins and a second. His lone unplaced run came in the Grade 3 Tony Ruffel Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein where he finished sixth, 6.40 lengths behind Surcharge.
Jockey Anthony Delpech did comment that his mount was making a respiratory noise during the running which probably accounted for his disappointing effort.
However, he has since bounced back with that victory over Pilou in a MR 94 Handicap over 1600m at this course, getting up close home to win going away. He has yet to race over 1800m and based on his breeding that might be a concern. His sire, Teofilo, won over 1400m and 1600m but his dam, Reine, has produced winners up to 2000m.
What Yakeen does have in his favour is a light weight of just 53kg on his back and one of the most in-form jockeys around at the moment, Muzi Yeni, on his back. He is well enough drawn at No 7.
Tilbury Fort has always been highly rated by trainer Sean Tarry and has run some very good races in strong fields but it is only since he was gelded that this son of Horse Chestnut has really found his form. In fact, he is unbeaten in two starts since becoming a gelding and has won both quite easily.
His four wins have been up to 1600m and he has placed over 1900m at Greyville. But that is a far cry from doing it over 1800m over a stiffer course like Turffontein.
So like Yakeen, there are some question marks over his chances of seeing out the distance but he will have the services of Lyle Hewitson, who is within sight of becoming the first apprentice to win the National Championship since Michael Roberts.
There is no doubt about Social Order’s ability to stay 1800m. He finished well to run third behind Coral Fever in the Grade 2 Colorado King Stakes over 2000m at this course. He has S’manga Khumalo up who has ridden him twice for two wins and two places.