Mike Moon: The Victory Moon Stakes has long been a key pointer to the Summer Cup, which is run some two weeks later. This year, the Grade 3 race – to be run at Turffontein next Thursday evening – is more important than usual as no fewer than 23 of the 28 final entries are also entered for the G-BETS-sponsored Grade 1 showpiece on 1 December.
Top Highveld trainer Sean Tarry has seven horses down for both races: last year’s Summer Cup champion Liege, Charity Mile second Tilbury Fort, veteran French Navy, Social Order, Bulleting Home, Silver God and Warrior’s Rest.
Tarry’s Randjesfontein neighbour and keen rival Mike de Kock has four entered for both races: the 13-2 Summer Cup favourite Buffalo Bill Cody, Cascapedia, Like A Panther and Takingthepeace.
Many of the horses doubling up are out to qualify for the Summer Cup, while a few others – sure of places in Joburg’s most famous race – will use the 1800m gallop as crucial preparation for the 2000m clash over the same stretch of turf.
Either way, the Victory Moon competition will be ferocious and the race commemorating one of South Africa’s great international champions will be a big-race “trial” in the true sense.
Opening betting for the Victory Moon has the filly Cascapedia topping the board at 9-2, with her De Kock stablemate Buffalo Bill Cody at 11-2. The latter has come from relative nowhere to the forefront of Summer Cup consideration after a facile victory in a MR 103 Handicap against strong opposition at Turffontein at the weekend.
Tilbury Fort, who lost the Charity Mile on the bob of head, is third favourite at 17-2, with another De Kock runner, Like A Panther, at 9-1.
Mike and Adam Azzie’s charge Hat Puntano (at odds of 45-1) tops the Victory Moon weights with 61.5kg, ahead of Liege (30-1) on 59kg and Cascapedia on 57.5kg.
There are two raiders among the nominations, both from KwaZulu-Natal.
Dark Moon Rising from Paul Lafferty’s Summerveld yard, was supplemented into the Summer Cup this week and allocated a weight of 50.5kg, which would probably mean he would miss the final cut. So, there’s little surprise in seeing his name among the hopefuls for next week.
Dennis Bosch might make a rare foray upcountry with his tough handicapper Kazaar. This one is not in the Summer Cup and Bosch, one of the canniest horsemen around, must rate his chances under a light weight of 51kg off a MR 99.
Entries for the R400,000 Grade 3 Victory Moon Stakes over 1800m at Turffontein on 15 November:
Name, weight, MR, trainer, draw
Hat Puntano 61kg (118) Mike & Adam Azzie 14
Liege 59 kg (108) Sean Tarry 13
Cascapedia 57.5kg (109) Mike de Kock 10
Bulleting Home 57kg (107) Sean Tarry 9
Social Order 57kg (106) Sean Tarry 3
Like A Panther 57kg (106) Mike de Kock 27
Full Mast 57kg (105) Mike & Adam Azzie 6
Dawn Assault 57kg (105) St John Gray 20
Deo Juvente 56kg (103) Geoff Woodruff 16
Tandava 55kg (100) Gokhan Terzi 21
Sabina’s Dynasty 54.5kg (106) Paul Peter 1
Tilbury Fort 54kg (103) Sean Tarry 24
Buffalo Bill Cody 54kg (102) Mike de Kock 2
Arctica 54kg (102) Mike & Adam Azzie 17
French Navy 54kg (101) Sean Tarry 5
Dark Moon Rising 54kg (101) Paul Lafferty 19
Takingthepeace 52.5kg (104) Mike de Kock 15
Secret Potion 51.5kg (102) Geoff Woodruff 23
Kazaar 51kg (99) Dennis Bosch 22
Zouaves 51kg (98) Geoff Woodruff 7
Cash Time 51kg (98) Ashley Fortune 25
Kings Archer 51kg (97) Stuart Pettigrew 12
Bankable Teddy 51kg (96) David Nieuwenhuizen 4
Gambado 51kg (95) Alec Laird 18
Silver God 51kg (93) Sean Tarry 11
Warrior’s Rest 51kg (91) Sean Tarry 8
The Rocketman 51kg (87) Mike & Adam Azzie 26
Orpheus 51kg (87) Mike & Adam Azzie 28