Mike Moon: Mike de Kock has launched a formidable assault on the World Sports Betting Grand Heritage (Non-Black Type) to be run over 1475m down the Vaal straight on Saturday 29 September.
The Randjesfontein maestro entered three high-profile, potent runners – Mujallad, Pietro Mascagni and Hakeem – at the supplementary entry stage on Monday and all three were named in the final 28-horse field for the R750,000 “gallop for glory”.
All three drew betting support from the minute the line-up was announced yesterday, with Pietro Mascagni installed in second place on the boards at 9-2, just below Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained Mardi Gras (33-10), who has been ruling favourite since first entries nearly a month ago. Mujallad is third favourite at 11-1 while Hakeem slots in at 18-1.
Mujallad will carry top weight of 62kg, off a Merit Rating of 101. The Australian-bred son of Redoute’s Choice is a three-time winner from 12 runs and recently finished a decent third behind rising star Chimichuri Run over 1200m. Cape Town jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe will be travelling up north to partner the four-year-old.
Next in the weights are Finchatton from Gokhan Terzi’s yard, Kings Archer from Stuart Pettigrew and Zouaves from Geoff Woodruff – all allotted 61kg. The latter had been second favourite but drifted with the arrival of the De Kock squad and is now available at 13-1.
De Kock’s Pietra Mascagni returned from a six-month break at Turffontein on Saturday and showed his class in winning a 1450m handicap fresh at 7-1. Stable rider Randall Simons did the honours and will attempt to do so again.
Favourite Mardi Gras will carry 56.5kg and Gavin Lerena, the Grand Heritage “king” thanks to his victories in the first two runnings of this innovative race. Mardi Gras starts from No 26 gate, which connections will be pleased about, though draws are not vital in the cavalry charge down the straight at the riverside course.
The Grand Heritage is open to all horses and the final field is by way of invitation from racing operator Phumelela.
There are few surprise omissions from the 2018 line-up. De Kock-trained Noble Secret, at MR 106 horse given 64.5kg when 58 names cam up at the first entry stage, was scratched – as was Gary Alexander’s Unagi, another 25-1 shot in the early betting.
33-10 Mardi Gras; 9-2 Pietra Mascagni; 11-1 Mujallad; 13-1 Zouaves; 16-1 Rings And Things; 18-1 Hakeem; 20-1 Irish Pride, Bold Viking, Tsitsikamma Dance; 25-1 Divine Odyssey, Soldier On, Sail For Joy; 28-1 Daffiq; 33-1 Kings Archer, African Ruler, Chepardo, Count Tassilo; 35-1 Purple Diamond; 40-1 and upwards the others.