Off To War

The Count Dubois gelding French Navy won the SA Classic like a good horse

French Navy wins SA Classic

Sean Tarry’s SA Classic winner French Navy has always hinted that the 2450m of the R2 million Gr1 SA Derby will be right up his alley. The son of Count Dubois has good back-up from his stablemate, Listed Derby Trial winner, Legal Eagle, and the pair look set for a big showing on Saturday.

The Derby field is made up of three streams – the SA Classic class, the Listed Derby Trial group and then the independents – of which Listed Aqaunaut Handicap winner Cool Chardonnay is the only proven stamina definite having beaten older horses over the 2450m.

Legal Eagle was an impressive Derby Trial winner, but he was getting weight from some of them – and now has a 16 draw to beat, besides his thirteen opponents.

Big Runner

The Count Dubois gelding French Navy won the SA Classic like a good horse and really does stand out.

He showed class and character there when overcoming a bump and a traffic snarl to get up and grab Amsterdam and Deputy Jud.

Prior to that, he had run on well for second to Harry’s Son in the Gauteng Guineas.

New Owner

Ansterdam has changed hands

Ansterdam has changed hands

SA Classic runner-up Amsterdam has changed ownership and now moves to the Mike Azzie yard.

The son of Windrush found the pace too hot in the Guineas but looked a winner inside the distance in the SA Classic. He has won 2 of his 4 starts and looks very progressive and capable of turning the tables on the more experienced French Navy.

Bernard Fayd’herbe gets the ride and he is the man who had Deputy Jud in the firing line for such a long way in the Classic.

The Judpot colt only tired late and finished 1,50 lengths behind Amsterdam. Will he cope with the extra 650m on Saturday?

Don’t Discount

Ertijaal winning the Sea Cottage Srakes

Ertijaal winning the Sea Cottage Srakes

Investec Cape Derby winner Ertijaal showed plenty of pace from his poor draw in the SA Classic but was a well beaten 13 lengths.

This will be far more his game and he should not be written off – lest we forget he won his first three on the trot into his Cape Gr1.

Royal Racer

Roy Magner’s Prince Of Orange was hampered in the straight when finishing 8 lengths behind Frech Navy in the SA Classic.

The son of Indigo Magic has won 3 of his 11 starts and appeared very comfortable at the middle distance range. There is plenty to suggest that he will get the trip, but there are those that look stronger than him.

The Errico Verdonese-trained Jet Master colt Diesel Jet looked to be something very decent when winning three on the trot earlier this year, but has come unstuck at feature level twice.

He ran 8,50 lengths off the older Bouclette Top in the Listed Drum Star and was then not striding out when a 32 length last in the SA Classic.

That gives him plenty of leeway to have to make up.

Court Napping

Legal Eagle won the Derby Trial

Legal Eagle won the Derby Trial

Anton Marcus will ride the second of the Tarry duo in the Greys Inn gelding Legal Eagle, who won the Listed Derby Trial in such fine style at his last start.

While he had plenty in his favour with a galloping 52 kgs on his back, his turn of foot was most impressive and it will be interesting to monitor how he is ridden from the wide barrier position.

He faces his four surviving opponents at equal weights on Saturday.

Van Zyl Duo

Gavin van Zyl

Gavin van Zyl – decent coupling

The Silvano gelding Dante’s Legacy ran on steadily for third 2,85 lengths back in the Derby Trial and meets the winner Legal Eagle on 2,5kgs better terms here.  He is drawn against the paint and his consistent placing shows that he is ready and fit to run a big one.

He did finish 10 lengths back in a modest handicap though at his sole try at ground.

The second of the Van Zyl runners in the Seul Amour gelding Sun On Africa, a surprise end-to-end winner of an MR 80 Handicap at Turffontein last Saturday.

That was his first spark of form for some time and will have to be chased around from his wide draw to get into a good position early on.

Hall Of Fame

Sean Cormack

Sean Cormack – rides Al Couture

Sean Cormack partners the Captain Al gelding Al Couture for Weiho Marwing in the Wylie Hall silks.

He finished 5,05 lengths behind in the Derby Trial and as a maiden winner, will need to lift his game in this company.

Ormond Ferraris and apprentice Callan Murray enjoyed a decent day at the office last Saturday and they partner with the Silvano gelding Scent.

He hardly showed from midfield in the Derby Trial when finishing 5,35 lengths behind Legal Eagle, but is bred on stout staying lines and could surprise the quartet punters.


Cool Chardonnay won  the Listed Aquanaut Handicap

Cool Chardonnay won the Listed Aquanaut Handicap

Another Marwing runner in Cool Chardonnay is one of those that have not followed the traditional route into this race.

The son of Antonius Pius won the Listed Aquanaut Handicap on Gauteng Guineas day which makes him the only course and distance winner in the race.

He carried only 52 kgs to victory there but beat the older subsequent Colorado King Stakes runner-up Henry Higgins.

He comes in well drawn with S’manga Khumalo up and he won’t be one of those getting tired at the end.


Mike De Kock’s second stringer Karraar won 2 of his first 3 starts in promising fashion, but has failed to fire in his next four outings.

The Australian-bred son of Reaan ran last Saturday and finished well behind surprise winner Sun On Africa. He has plenty of improvement to find.

The second of the Ferraris pair is the Mogok gelding Save The Rhino.

A recent 2000m maiden winner, he has only his third start and lacks the big league experience of some of his opposition.

French Navy is a confident selection to beat Ertijaal and Legal Eagle – but there are some on the fringes who could enjoy the stamina test and cloud the form book.

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