Majmu has accepted to run in the R2-million President’s Champions Challenge over 2000m at Turffontein on Saturday 25 April.
Trainer Mike de Kock intimated the Australian-bred filly would line-up on Champions Day, probably in the President’s Champions Challenge, as long as she pulled up well after her victory in the Grade 1 L Jaffee Empress Club Stakes last Saturday.
There are five Grade 1 races on Champions Day – the President’s Champions Challenge, the R2-million SA Derby over 2450m, the R1-million Computaform Sprint over 1000m, the R1-million SA Nursery over 1160m and the R1-million Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks over 2450m.
Four Grade 2 events will also be run on the day – the Gold Bowl over 3200m, the Camellia Stakes for fillies and mares over 1160m, the Gerald Rosenberg Stakes for fillies and mares over 2000m and the SA Fillies Nursery over 1160m.
In total, almost R9 million in stakes money is there to be won.
Just 11 runners will contest the President’s Champions Challenge and Majmu will carry bottom weight of 54kg. That makes her the best handicapped runner in the line-up, which is why De Kock decided to test her in this event.
Louis The King was drawn very wide when the original nominations came out but with so many withdrawals Geoff Woodruff’s charge will now jump from barrier No 10, sandwiched between stablemates Tellina on his inside and Killua Castle on his outside. Piere Strydom keeps the ride on Louis The King with Gavin Lerena on Tellina and Stuart Randolph aboard Killua Castle.
Wylie Hall had a winning comeback run in a Pinnacle Stakes recently and as this horse loves Turffontein, Weiho Marwing’s charge will not be short of supporters. Bernard Fayd’Herbe takes the ride.
Trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren has opted to run Unparalleled in the Champions Challenge rather than the SA Derby, probably because he feels 2000m is a better distance for his charge. The Dingaans winner has not been blessed with decent draws in his last couple of starts so this time he will appreciate jumping from barrier No 3.
One person who will be delighted De Kock opted for the Champions Challenge rather than the Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks is Sean Tarry. His charge, Siren’s Call, will be looking to clinch the R1-million bonus on offer for winning all three legs of the Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara.
With the Gauteng Fillies Guineas and the SA Fillies Classic already in the bag, the daughter of Elusive Fort is just one win away from becoming the third filly to claim the Tiara.
The SA Derby could be heading for an exciting conclusion with all of SA Classic Winner French Navy, runner-up Amsterdam and Cape Derby winner Ertijaal in the final field. Ertijaal failed in the SA Classic but that is not his true form and could be a different horse in the Derby, a race assistant Mathew de Kock has always said is the Australian-bred runner’s main mission.
While Raymond Danielson has retained his ride on French navy, Piere Strydom now gets aboard Amsterdam and Anthony Delpech rides Ertijaal.
There are a couple of unknowns added to field, the first being Cool Chardonnay who won the Aquanaut Handicap over the course and distance, and the second is Karrar for the De Kock yard, who has apparently improved with gelding.
The speedsters will be on show in the Computaform Sprint over 1000m and this could be won a member of the fairer sex with three Grade 1 winners in Carry On Alice, Alboran Sea and Fly By Night contesting the race.
Leading the boys’ challenge are Captain Of All, Trip Tease and Willow Magic.
De Kock may have thrown another spanner in the works by running Shaama in the Grade 1 SA Nursery over 1160m, rather than the Grade 1 SA Fillies Nursery over the same distance. The Australian-bred filly won impressively on debut last Saturday and De Kock has clearly decided to take advantage of the 2.5kg weight advantage.
He also saddles an unraced Australian-bred colt named Rafeef, who is by Redoute’s Choice and out of a former South African Equus Horse Of The Year winner, National Colour. The grey mare, a top-class sprinter, was by National Assembly and trained by Sean Tarry
Trainer Gavin van Zyl could have the strongest hand in the race with two unbeaten runners in Isca and Redcarpet Captain, both already feature race winners.