Daring To Dream!

Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup at Turffontein today

Arcetri Pink

Girl Talk. Geoff Woodruff’s Arcetri Pink has always appeared way above average and looks set for a big payday on Saturday

The R3 million Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup will be run over the Turffontein 1400m on Saturday and it is hardly surprising that the final field was oversubscribed yet again.

It has become the one race every qualifying owner wants to win, and in a day and age where return on investment is naturally all important, who can blame the connections of any of the super sixteen starters for feeling rather upbeat? Any innovative concept seems so painfully obvious after the fact. Especially when it works like a dream.


Just think customer loyalty points, as one example. If you cannot promise him the earth, suggest he reaches for the stars, secure his commitment and give him something back. Less than a decade ago only the casino offered them.

Today market research shows that 50% of purchase decision makers have at least one loyalty card. Every self respecting corporate from Standard Bank to Pick ‘n Pay offers them. So whether you are a smart shopper without a blue bean, or a clubber over sixty, it works. Except on the loyalty side of punting, maybe. But that’s a subject for another day.


The Ready To Run concept has spawned more editorial space and racecourse and training centre conversation in recent months than the price of petrol or next year’s general election. The Sale-With-Race concept simply works a charm and the quality of Saturday’s lineup proves it. With prize money all the way down to tenth position, there won’t be too many disappointments either.

With collateral form at a minimum, an observation of prospects may lead to a better picture of the potential winner. But there can be little confidence. It is, after all, a huge prize, and they all want it. The females dominate, with eleven representatives of the fairer sex, as opposed to the five males. That lends weight to the time tested fact that the girls tend towards precocity and advance more readily.


Kahal is the dominant sire with four runners, with two each to Mullins Bay, Rock Of Gibraltar and Solskjaer. Champion trainer Mike De Kock and his colleague Charles Laird hold the ascendancy in pure numbers with three runners apiece. With De Kock classed as a national trainer in our book, there are only two genuine visiting runners, both from the fairest Cape.

Cape Challenge

Vaughan Marshall trains the promising looking Boland Stud bred Var colt Manievic, who won his last start over the Durbanville 1500m beating the hardknocking older handicapper, Master Barry. Manievic’s penultimate start, when he received 3kgs and ran Disco Al to 0,75 length is looking rather promising after Sunday’s great Gr3 Algoa Cup victory by Joey Ramsden’s Captain Al gelding!

The Justin Snaith trained Princess Creo is the second of the Cape raiders. The Balmoral Stud bred daughter of Kahal has won 2 of her 9 starts, and won her last outing in a low level fillies and mares handicap at Arlington. She will obviously need some luck on her side, but has Richard Fourie in the saddle to enhance her prospects.

Champion Challenge


Class Act. The Australian bred son of Danehill Dancer Umgiyo will need to overcome a poor draw to have a say

De Kock’s assault is headed by Umgiyo, a R525 000 Danehill Dancer colt, who ran on well over his last start on the 1160 metres of the Turffontein straight in his seasonal return. Umgiyo ran close up to Kochka when placing in the Gr1 Premiers Champion Juvenile Stakes at the end of last season, so the distance shouldn’t trouble him, and he must be a runner, despite his 17 draw. Anton Marcus rides Duly Ordained, a classy son of top Australian sire Encosta De Lago, who will be more comfortable over a touch more ground.

A winner of 2 of his 5 starts, he was in need of his last start when a flat 5 lengths behind Flag Of France. It is worth noting that he disposed of subsequent Gr1 winner Willow Magic on his debut. The trio is completed by the Stronghold filly, Celtic Legend, who will be fit for the race, despite her lack of a run.

She has not seen action since reported lame in the Thekwini Stakes on Super Saturday, but made an impact on her debut and Andre and Joyce Macdonald’s filly catches the proverbial pigeons, if the bark of the dogs is to be taken note of.

Laird Trio

Charles Laird sends out three fillies, of which two race in the familiar Fire Racing Trust silks of charismatic fitness fanatic, Alesh Naidoo. The Admire Main filly Admiral’s Eye has won twice , but has drawn at Ellis Park, so will have her work cut out to win this. The second of Naidoo’s runners is the Kahal filly Nisa’s Love, a recent runaway maiden winner in first time blinkers. She is more of an Oaks type prospect, so could find this on the short side.

The third of the Laird representatives is yet another Summerhill Stud bred daughter of Kahal. Pej has only run twice, and won well on debut before going down to the highly rated De Kock runner, Copiapo. It was a gallant effort as she hurt her off hind in running, and despite her wide draw, has Kevin Shea up to give her the confidence she may need.

Triple Touch

Duly Ordained

Promising. Anton Marcus rides the Encosta De Lago colt Duly Ordained for Mike De Kock

Geoff Woodruf and his former Assistant Johan Janse Van Vuuren send out the only two three time winners in the field, in Arcetri Pink and Winter Star, respectively. Geoff woodruff’s smart Gr3 Pretty Polly Stakes winner Arcetri Pink has been in the winner’s box three times in just six visits to the racecourse.

She showed terrific speed and versatility at her last start when winning on the Vaal sand, and only has to repeat her Gr1 Golden Slipper fourth 1,55 lengths behind For The Lads at Greyville on July day, to make a big noise for the mouthwatering first cheque. Van Vuuren is only in his second season of training on his own account and the Summerhill Stud bred Winter Star is a talented daughter of Solskjaer.

She scored a runaway victory at Turffontein over 1200m at her comeback run, beating Tzigane easily. She is in excellent shape, according to Van Vuuren, and reverts to the turn again. She is well drawn with ‘super sub’ Glen Hatt in the saddle. Tyrone Zackey and Piere Strydom pulled the 9 draw and they team up with the Scott Brothers bred Miesque’s Approval colt, Judicial.

The one time winner ran on strongly over a mile behind London Irish at his last start, and could be something of a value sort. He does run in steels, as is the Zackey general practice.

High Hopes

Dominic Zaki and Fanie Chambers got lucky with their pole position draw and will have high expectations from Summerhill’s Mullins Bay colt, Mount Hillaby. He has done little wrong since shedding his maiden over the Vaal 1200m straight. He subsequently beat the veteran aggressive galloper Echohawk over 1400m, and comes in here off two fair seconds.

The exciting aspect of this fellow is that he appears to be able to run handy, and turn it on when required. Sean Tarry sends out the Kahal filly Enchanted Silk for Chris Van Niekerk. She won her maiden at her penultimate start, but appears held by Pej.

On The Beach

Mike Azzie and Gavin Lerena partner the Mullins Bay grey, Dover Beach. Highly thought of early on, she has sadly drawn in the parking lot, and will need to improve a few lengths to feature. Lucky Houdalakis will not have any such worries from the 2 stall gate with Solskjaer’s daughter, Artic Route. She could turn the tables on the poorly drawn Admiral’s Eye for a defeat in a small field last time.

Roy Magner saddles the smart looking Australian bred debut winner, Usisi. The daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar ran fourth behind SA Fillies Nursery shock Virgo’s Babe at her second jump, but has not run since May, and may need this.

Muddy Waters

This race does not exactly look like a punting proposition on the face of it. Improvement capacity, barrier draws, interprovincial form and lack of reference makes for a muddy pool of uncertainty. It should provide a great spectacle though.

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