Jack Milner: The annual New Turf Carriers Rider Cup will take place at Greyville on Sunday and will be run on the Polytrack.
The three major provinces are each represented by a team of four jockeys and the competition this year looks extremely tough.
The Gauteng team, made up of champion jockey Lyle Hewitson, who looks likely to retain his title, second on the log Muzi Yeni, and two former champion jockeys in Gavin Lerena and S’manga Khumalo.
The Western Province team comprises Bernard Fayd’Herbe, Greg Cheyne, Richard Fourie and Corne Orffer while the home team is Anton Marcus, Keagan de Melo, Warren Kennedy and Sean Veale.
The Rider Cup comprises four races and will be run from Race 3 to Race 6 inclusive and 20 points will be awarded to the winning rider, 16 for second, 14 for third, 12 for fourth, 10 for fifth and eight for sixth.
From there it will reduce one point for every position, with one point going to the last-place finisher. Should a horse be scratched, the rider will be awarded seven points.
Remember, one can also bet on the jockeys themselves, taking Win, Place and Swinger bets on the outcome off all four races combined. Over the four races the rides look pretty evenly matches and any of the 12 jockeys could claim the Victor Ludorum title.
Fourie could get the Western Cape off to a strong start when he rides Glacier Girl in Race 3, a Maiden Plate for fillies and mares over 1200m. She was recently sold to The Fire Racing Trust off the 2019 Super Sale and was previously trained by Mike de Kock. While she failed to win a race in five starts, her last run at Turffontein, in which she finished a 0.75-length second behind Royal Future, has produced three winners. She is well drawn at No 2 and will be hard to beat if she handles the Polytrack.
Bernard Fayd’Herbe could give the WP team further impetus when he rides Spam Alert in Race 4, a FM 72 Handicap over 1400m. She made a pleasing start on the Polytrack last time when fifth behind Waiting For Change, beaten just 3.15 lengths.
The dangers could be the Duncan Howells-trained coupling of La Valette and Mocha Rose, with De Melo and Hewitson up respectively.
If Khumalo can overcome his wide No 12 draw, Imperial Royal could prove hard to beat in the third leg, a FM 66 Handicap over 1600m. She has decent enough record on the Polytrack and in two runs over 1600m, finished first and second. Miss Sabina (Orffer) and Jo Mambo look the dangers.
The last leg, a MR 62 Handicap over 1900m, could go to Marcus and Gimme A Cohiba. Unfortunately, she is also not well drawn but over this distance that should not be too much of a concern for the four-time champion jockey.
There is not much to choose between Gimme A Cohiba and O’Reilly (Yeni) who is 4kg better off for a five-length defeat over this course and distance two runs back.