Chase For Charity

Gr2 Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile at Turffontein today

Cherry On The Top

Bold Bid! The Triple Tiara Queen Cherry On The Top could make the boys gallop in Saturday’s Gr2 Charity Mile

While the R600 000 Gr2 Emperors Palace Charity Mile is a wonderfully unique race designed to benefit the less privileged amongst us, there will be no charity handouts for punters with a top quality field of sixteen going to post in a competitive contest.

The likely showdown between the Australian bred Gr1 SA Derby winner Wylie Hall and the year older local boy Whiteline Fever, could provide a thrilling sideshow. The Charity Mile heads a superb menu of feature racing at Turffontein on Saturday, that includes the R3 million Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup.


Wylie Hall

In Form. The Australian bred Wylie Hall looks well on track for a serious crack at the Summer Cup and should be right there

Weiho Marwing holds a powerful hand with the Australian bred Redoute’s Choice colt Wylie Hall, who ran a cracker to win his prep run in a powerful Pinnacle Stakes just over a fortnight ago. The SA Derby winner showed his wellbeing with scintillating late run over 1400m, a distance considered short of his optimum trip.

That was his season opener after his KZN campaign. While unplaced in the Durban July, he was just over five lengths behind Heavy Metal and previously ran an excellent level weights fourth beaten under a half length by Vercingetorix in the Gr1 Daily News 2000. He will be ridden again by log leading jockey S’manga Khumalo.

He is coupled with the Muhtafal gelding Here Comes Billy, who arrives straight out of a great fourth placed effort in the Emerald Cup. He showed good promise over the sprints on turf, and faces his first serious test in this level of company. Here Comes Billy will not be assisted by a poor draw, and can only rate an outside hope.

Hard Luck Story

Whiteline Fever

His Day? The luckless but brilliant Whiteline Fever is overdue to win a big race and will be a popular choice

The top class Tarry runner Whiteline Fever is something of a hard luck horse. Brimful with talent and with loads of ability, the Daytona Stud bred does tend to do his prospects harm by trying to win his races by flashing in the final 100m. He flew late when nabbed by Wyle Hall last time, but is a minor half kilo better off here.

He was also very unlucky to be caught napping by a rampant Mujaarib in this race last year, when going down a nostril and deserves another chance to win a big prize again.

Girl Power

Piere Strydom is an interesting engagement for the Tripe Tiara winner Cherry On The Top, who is the only member of the fairer sex. The daughter of Tiger Ridge races in the yellow and black of the late Mrs Bridget Oppenheimer, who passed away last Wednesday. Trainer Ormond Ferraris would naturally dearly love to win it for South Africa’s most famous racing family and she will strip fitter here after an excellent comeback run last time. She is 2,5 kgs worse off with Wylie Hall for a 0,75 length beating there, but like the smart colt, will prefer the extra here and she is well drawn on top of it.

Reputation Restored?

The magnificent Singspiel entire Potala Palace takes his next step up the ladder to respect when he jumps from the 13 draw with Gavin Lerena up. The 2011 Gr1 Champions Premier’s Champion Stakes winner has a long way to go to fulfil his long lost reputation and fufill his potential as a future stallion prospect.

He led most of the way to win the Joburg Spring Challenge and has the beating again of Link Man, although he has to up his game to hold Wagner again. Trainer Mike Azzie will have him aimed at the Summer Cup, but he is good enough to win this.


The astute Joey Soma is no doubt gearing Wagner up for the Summer Cup double and his son of Tiger Ridge showed sparkling improvement in the blinkers last time, when a close third behind Potala Palace in the Joburg Spring Challenge. Wagner is 1,5kgs better off with the Azzie entire and even though he has an 11 draw to overcome, will prefer the trip and has the bright guiding light of Sean Cormack in the saddle.

Wooden Heart

Geoff Woodruff has three runners and it is interesting to note that top jockey Robbie Fradd stays loyal to the Gauteng Guineas winner, Tellina. The son of Silvano comes back off a five month rest after flopping in the Daily News, but did show excellent ability previously and must be watched for fitness. While a course and distance winner, he takes time to fire up and may need 200m further in this league at this point.

Not Cricket

Anton Marcus rides the highly vaunted Yorker from a nice draw. The handsome son of Jet Master earned his tilt at Champions Season with two smart wins (the last over the course and distance), but did not feature in the Daily News or Darley Arabian. He was said by his trainer to be a horse that needed time though, and there may be some reconsiderations of the wisdom of almost forcing him into the KZN Season.

That is obviously said in hindsight. Yorker has plenty to prove, but needs to go close to earn his Summer Cup slot. The third of the Woodruff trio is the Australian bred gelding Killua Castle, who has won his last two starts by close to an aggregate of ten lengths. They were on sand though, and he has to prove that he can carry the new lease on life through to turf. He will have crack Cape jockey Richard Fourie in the saddle from a 1 draw.

Dark Horse

St John Gray’s Glorious Jet is our dark horse in the race. This son of Jet Master has shown elements of good ability and went down just over two lengths to Wylie Hall last time. He now meets the Marwing galloper on all of six kgs better terms. That sort of swing certainly brings him into the race and young Keagan De Melo has a pressured opportunity to lift his personal career ratings too! Glorious Jet is well drawn and ran a cracker in the Jubilee Handicap at his penultimate start. Don’t leave him out of calculations.


Those look to be the main contenders, and the rest appear under pressure to win. It is probably tempting fate throwing one of Mike De kock’s runners into that basket! The stable won it last year, but the now 6yo Link Man is just too up and down to support with any confidence. The grey son of Toreador improved to run on strongly for a length second behind Potala Palace in the Joburg Spring Challenge, but is 2,5 kgs worse off with the Azzie runner.

He interestingly last won when scoring in the 2012 Joburg Spring Challenge, but ran a mile behind stablemate Mujaarib in this race last year. The 7yo Australian bred Royal Zulu Warrior tries a mile for the first time in his career. He ran on smartly to win over 1450m last time when beating War Horse by 3 lengths. War Horse is 3kgs better off now.


The gallant PE visitor Celtic Fire has been given a nasty backhander with a draw of 19. The son of Bezrin goes for his sixteenth win, but may not find things to his liking so far from home. He was outclassed in the 2011 Queen’s Plate and J&B Met at his only runs out of the Eastern Cape. His stablemate and PE Horse Of The Year, Blaze Of Fire, did run a cracking third to Jackson in the Gr1 Champions Cup last season in KZN, so stranger things have happened.

The Kahal gelding Love Struck has drawn wide and ran disappointingly when unplaced behind Potala Palace in the Joburg Spring Challenge, after having every chance. He may be more comfortable over the extra 200m, but appears to be unreliable.

In The Wars

Gavin Van Zyl’s Moon Of Rangoon is another who has drawn in the poor house, but is 2kgs better off with Potala Palace on the Joburg Spring Challenge run, where he was 1,60 lengths in arrears. Corne Spies’ appropriately named War Horse has drawn well, but is a puzzling sort to unravel. Technically he has the edge over Tellina on the Gauteng Guineas form of last season, but he is battling to regain his form. His last start was in the Emerald Cup and he was scratched from a mid October engagement after injuring his near hind.


Racing’s big day of giving should provide entertainment out of the top drawer. There is little to choose between Wylie Hall and Whiteline Fever, with Glorious Jet and Yorker our value horses. Throw in the big names like Potala Palace and Cherry On The Top, with an out of sorts War Horse and Soma’s lurker Wagner, and one realises that this is tough. In fact it is very tough. But that’s why we love this game! The Charity Mile is a unique horserace.

Each runner races on behalf of a charity and its finishing position determines how much the charity wins. To add glitz and glamour, each runner is also publicly represented by a celebrity. Celebrities this year include Highveld Stereo’s afternoon drive presenter Bailey Schneider, actress and singer Amore Vittone, former world champion boxer Brian Mitchell, Springbok star James Dalton, Model Kerry McGregor and Olympic gold medallist, Ryk Neethling.

A total of R550 000 will be given away to the 16 participating charities. The charity represented by the winning horse gets R100 000 and emotions will run high as the runners drive to the line. The joy, the excitement and the tears of the representatives of the winning charity are the most touching moments in horseracing annually. Here’s the breakdown (should a runner be withdrawn, the relevant charity gets R20,000):

1st – R100,000
2nd – R70,000
3rd – R50,000
4th – R40,000
5th – R30,000
6th – R29,000
7th – R28,000
8th – R27,000
9th – R26,000
10th – R25,000
11th – R25,000
12th – R20,000
13th – R20,000
14th – R20,000
15th – R20,000
16th – R20,000

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