Jack Milner: The one concern punters tend to have with the Grade 2 Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile is that a number of the runners use this race to prepare for the Summer Cup on 1 December.
As the Charity Mile is a handicap, most trainers try to escape getting a penalty for the more lucrative race a month later. However, that might not be the case this time. Mike de Kock sends out Noble Secret for this R1-million race over 1600m on the Standside track at Turffontein and he might well be looking to do the double.
Noble Secret has a lot going for him. He is beautifully drawn at No 4, he will be having his third run after a layoff and he has a handy weight of 55kg. He could find 1600m a bit on the short side these days but there is some rain expected over the next couple of days and the Standside track is testing.
De Kock admits he would have no problem for his charge to be running on strongly at the finish and end up in third spot, but he does add that this is a Grade 2 worth R1-million and it’s not to be sniffed at.
Speaking about Nobel Secret’s chances, assistant Mathew de Kock said on Wednesday: “His prep has gone extremely well although the mile could be a bit short. It’s no secret that the Summer Cup is his goal but he seems to have matured into a classy individual and we hope he can go close.” Randall Simons has ridden this four-year-old son of Dynasty in almost all of his starts and is back on board on this occasion.
Who will follow Noble Secret home is a dilemma. Many of the better horses are drawn wide and that could be a problem on this course. However, horses have won from wide draws in the past and that could be the case with Infamous Fox, who is likely to jump from barrier No 13 once the reserve runners come out.
This Australian-bred son of Foxwedge notched up four successive wins before given a rest, three of them over 1600m. He clearly needed his comeback run last time when fading late to finish a 4.10-length seventh behind Splendid Garden and should improve markedly on that performance.
“The draw is a problem,” admitted trainer Candice Dawson, “but he needed his last run and I expect him to improve. This race has always been our mission for him. We’re all hoping he’s as good as we think but he has to prove it.
“Maybe we should have brought him out earlier. In retrospect I probably would have liked this to be his third run after the layoff but he is very well.”
Raymond Danielson has a fine record on Infamous Fox, winning three of four races in which they have teamed up.
Trainer Sean Tarry has a very strong hand with four runners and he also trains all three of the reserve runners. Best of the quartet who are in the field could be Matador Man. The issue with this five-year-old son of Toreador is that he tends to lose ground at the start and as he is drawn No 1, he might battle to get through the field when he decides to pick it up.
However, as Tarry said after the draw, he always tends to lose ground so wherever he is drawn he’s going to be at the back of the field. “Matador Man has had a very impressive prep and is thriving at the moment. From the inside draw has a good chance.”
One of the class runners is Coral Fever but 1600m might be a bit sharp and he will have to come from a wide draw. However, the heavy rains that have fallen over Joburg should help his cause.