With the stake doubled to R5 million for the 25 November renewal of the Gr1 Betway Summer Cup, the clamour for a berth in Gauteng’s flagship race was fervent, and the interest was underlined on Wednesday when a capacity field of 20 runners was published.
Geoff Woodruff’s Master Sabina is the last horse to register a double when winning the big one under Gavin Lerena in 2015 and 2016.
Johan Janse van Vuuren’s Argentinian-bred trojan bids to emulate that feat and it is Gavin Lerena, in the absence of Hong Kong-based Keagan de Melo, who will do the honours.
Mike de Kock and Sean Tarry have trained five Summer Cup winners each this century, with Tarry holding the current form power, having saddled four of the last six winners.
The duo again hold the aces with seven of the 20 runners between them.
Tarry’s trio is headed by former Cape star Cousin Casey, who found his form with a nice second placed effort behind Puerto Manzano in the Allied Steelrode Onamission Charity Mile at his first start for his new yard.
Richard Fourie rides Bless My Stars, one of two fairer sex gallopers in the 2023 renewal, alongside the Azzie’s Lady Of Power. Summer Pudding was the last filly to raise the Summer Cup trophy, when she scored in 2020.
Mike de Kock has waited a possibly ‘lucky’ thirteen years since Flirtation powered home in 2010 for his last Cup winner. The veteran saddled his five 21st Summer Cup winners over nine renewals, in the halcyon days, that commenced in 2001.
He goes for his tenth winner overall this year!
His quartet is headed by Gr1 Daily News 2000 winner Safe Passage, who ran second behind Puerto Manzano last year.
Another interesting runner is Brett Crawford’s 2023 Hollywoodbets Durban July winner Winchester Mansion, who like Safe Passage, competes in the Drakenstein blue.
The son of Trippi stayed on well for fourth in the Allied Steelrode Onamission Charity Mile in his prep start, and will be the first horse this century to achieve the Durban July-Summer Cup double were he to win.
The only visiting trainers in the line-up are Brett Crawford, who saddles Winchester Mansion and local runner Billy Bowlegs, and Nathan Kotzen, who brings the dark horse Royal Victory up from KZN.
The barrier draws will be published once available on the www.sportingpost.co.za website.
1st R2875000, 2nd R1000000, 3rd R500000, 4th R250000, 5th R125000, 6th R50000, 7th R50000, 8th R50000, 9th R50000, 10th R50000
BETWAY SUMMER CUP (Grade 1)
WFA: 3yrs-8kgs 4yrs-0.5kgs
No Apprentice / Female Sex Allowance
|1||0||Puerto Manzano (ARG)||60||125||BA||Gavin Lerena||J A Janse van Vuuren|
|2||0||Cousin Casey||58.5||123||BA||Grant van Niekerk||Sean Tarry|
|3||0||Winchester Mansion||58||121||CA||Kabelo Matsunyane||Brett Crawford|
|4||0||Anfields Rocket||57||120||A||Raymond Danielson||Grant Maroun|
|5||0||Bless My Stars||56.5||119||A||Richard Fourie||Sean Tarry|
|6||0||Bingwa||56.5||118||BAe||Serino Moodley||J A Janse van Vuuren|
|7||0||Safe Passage||56||117||BA||Luyolo Mxothwa||Mike de Kock|
|8||0||Second Base||56||117||BA||Kaidan Brewer||Robyn Klaasen|
|9||0||Billy Bowlegs||55.5||117||A||S’manga Khumalo||Brett Crawford|
|10||0||Son Of Raj||54.5||115||BA||Athandiwe Mgudlwa||Weiho Marwing|
|11||0||Aragosta||54.5||114||A||Jarryd Penny||Mike de Kock|
|12||0||Shoemaker||54||112||A||Diego De Gouveia||Mike de Kock|
|13||0||Atticus Finch||54||111||A||Calvin Habib||Alec Laird|
|14||0||Royal Victory||54||111||A||Muzi Yeni||Nathan Kotzen|
|15||0||Zeus||54||111||A||Denis Schwarz||Fabian Habib|
|16||0||East Coast||54||110||A||Juan Paul v’d Merwe||Mike de Kock|
|17||0||Litigation||54||110||TCA||Craig Zackey||Sean Tarry|
|18||0||Meridius||54||110||A||Philasande Mxoli||Tony Peter|
|19||0||Lady Of Power||54||107||BA||Chase Maujean||M G Azzie/A A Azzie|
|20||0||Electric Gold||54||105||BA||Jason Gates||Tony Peter|
|(1,6) (2,5,17) (3,9) (7,11,12,16) (18,20)|