Champions Day Pick 6 Can Hit R5 Million

Countdown to the big day

The young talented upstart takes on the established champion. It’s a bit of a cliched Hollywood plot that aptly describes the Mike de Kock 3yo Hawwaam’s challenge to multiple SA  Horse Of The Year Legal Eagle in Saturday’s Gr1 Premier’s Champions Challenge in what could be a contender for the race of the season.

Thirteen hopefuls, including two members of the fairer sex, line up at the 2000m marker to contest the R4 million race at weight-for-age

The young gun Hawwaam – his biggest test (Pic – JC Photos)

The SA Classic winner Hawwaam’s presence gives the race a major boost and Mike de Kock’s progressive star faces his major test to date – after a bizarre disruption on Derby day led to his withdrawal

Legal Eagle should not be written off – despite the fact that he clearly has not been at his superb best lately. Bidding for his fourth consecutive win in the Horse Chestnut Stakes, the 7yo magic miler had nothing left late and ran just under 4 lengths off Soqrat. Prior to that he ran fifth in the Sun Met, in his least successful Cape campaign. But back at home, the 2016 winner of this race – he also ran a short head second to Deo Juvente in 2017 – could be a different prospect.

Champion Legal Eagle – does he still have it? (Pic – JC Photos)

Few were happy with the way he was ridden last year, but can he make a comeback? He is entered for the Vodacom Durban July and trainer Sean Tarry will be looking for a return of the brilliance.

The Irish-bred Cascapedia is one of two roses amongst the thorns.  This talented mare was a narrow loser of the Hawaii Stakes when going down narrowly to Zouaves.  Her two subsequent runs have been slightly below her best, although she did make respiratory noises at both.  Her eight lengths behind Camphoratus was not particularly impressive and she will need improvement on that.  Gavin Lerena rides her over Hawwaam in view of his contractual obligations to Mauritzfontein.

Piere Strydom rides Tilbury Fort (Pic – JC Photos)

Summer Cup winner Tilbury Fort has run two excellent return races and was finishing strongly when just under three lengths behind Soqrat in the Horse Chestnut.  The 5yo gelding appears to be racing at his prime and looks ready for a massive effort over the extra 400m on Saturday.

Dawn Assault showed good pace over the course and distance, when beaten just under five lengths behind Divine Odyssey in the Colorado King Stakes last time out.  St John Gray’s entire is a hard-knocking handicapper at best but looks to lack a few lengths at this level.

The ever consistent Unagi ran out of his skin in the Horse Chestnut when beaten just three lengths and giving Soqrat 3kgs.  The test will be whether he can repeat that level of performance, but he is always a quartet wild card kicker on his day.

KZN raider Dark Moon Rising – looks a longshot (Pic – Gold Circle)

Kings Cup winner Dark Moon Rising travels from Summerveld for his first start at Turffontein.  This will prove something of a baptism of fire for the Lafferty runner at the weights.

Click on the image below for your racecard

Johan Janse van Vuuren’s revitalised 4yo Divine Odyssey won the Drum Star and Colorado King Stakes at his last two starts and now takes a big step up into the major league.  The son of Oratorio has continued to defy his critics and he makes for an interesting upset prospect if lifting his game again.

Second of the fairer sex, Paul Peter’s Fort Ember gets the plus of the one draw and the services of top Cape jock Richard Fourie.  She will, however, need to overcome an ordinary effort when finishing over ten lengths back in the Colorado King Stakes.  She was however cramped late in that race and may deserve another chance.

While the Hills and jockey Gareth Wright silenced the Turffontein crowd when winning the Empress Club Stakes recently, it is very difficult making a case for Red Chesnut Road.

Noble Secret is the third of the De Kock trio and looks to have plenty of improving to do to stand a chance of earning here.

Second of the 3yo’s SA Derby runner-up Zillzaal has proven a consistent performer and must have a chance of earning place money.

Odd Rob looks an optimistic entrant and a likely pacemaker.

Hawwaam looks the right horse and he is a confident choice to go on and further establish his claims as one of the most exciting horses to hit the local racing scene in years.

The exotics on the day

Race 2: Bipot ONE Leg 1 – Likely pool R400 000.

Race 3: PA Leg 1 – Likely pool R1 500 000

Race 4: Pick 6 MEGAPOOL Leg 1 – R2 000 000 carryover, Likely pool R5 000 000.  

Race 5: Jackpot One Leg 1 – R1 500 000. Race 6: Jackpot Quickmix TWO Leg 1.     

Race 7: BiPot TWO Leg 1 – Likely pool R150 000. 

Race 8: Quartet Maxipool – R300 000 carryover, Likely pool R1 000 000.  

Race 9: Jackpot TWO Leg 1 – Likely pool R800 000. Trifecta Carryover R100 000, likely pool R400 000.

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