Day Of The General

Excitement builds for Gr3 Cup Trial at Clairwood today

General Sherman

Pulling Rank! Sean Tarry’s General Sherman has everything going for him in the Gr3 Cup Trial

Sean Tarry’s talented Strike Smartly gelding General Sherman has plenty in his favour in the R250 000 Gr3 Cup Trial run over 1800m at Clairwood on Saturday. In a competitive field he could get the better of Knock On Wood and Stan Elley’s quietly forward, Punta Arenas.

The nature of the Cup Trial means that it is a generally classically competitive race with a wide open contest facing punters again this year. Drawn at 1 and likely to relish the long Clairwood run in with his late dash style, General Sherman strikes us as a huge runner from a 1 draw. But it is by no means a straightforward affair.

General Sherman has won five of his 13 starts and scored the Wolf Power and Drum Star double before his opening 2013 Champions Season effort. In the latter outing he ran on strongly for fifth and under three lengths behind Jet Explorer in the Greyville 1900.

General Sherman would by now have settled into the KZN way of life and besides stripping fitter, will appreciate the Clairwood run in as opposed to the blitz type approach required for Greyville’s shorter dash. He has won at the track over shorter and comes in here on a rather handy 53kgs.

Keep Knocking

Knock On Wood

Consistent. The Muhtafal gelding Knock On Wood is overdue to win again and should fight out the finish

Ormond Ferraris’s Knock On Wood has proven something of a surprise package with his solid improvement this season and carries topweight. The son of Muhtafal has only had three runs this year and won the London News Stakes in mid January, before two very good efforts.

He ran a very good fourth in the Gr1 Horse Chestnut Stakes behind Slumdogmillionaire, and then ran on strongly after a slow start to grab second cheque in the Gr1 President’s Champions Challenge behind Heavy Metal. Knock On Wood looks cherry ripe to score a seventh career win and his ride Nooresh Juglall knows him well and will give him every chance.


Punta Arenas

Dark Horse. Stan Elley’s Silvano gelding Punta Arenas could be a danger to the top selection

Stan Elley’s Punta Arenas is the dark horse of the field. The son of Silvano booked his KZN trip courtesy of a very good win over a too short 1400m at Kenilworth in April. His opening KZN effort was a top one. He came out in the Variety Club return run to finish third behind the champion at level weights, and just off July winner Pomodoro.

Punta Arenas won the Gr3 Winter Derby as a 3yo and has always been a quality sort who has promised better. He would be doing his July hopes little harm with a forward showing here, and will just have to get lucky from his poor draw.


Gavin Van Zyl’s Bezrin gelding Big City Angel came back to best with a storming win in an MR 96 Handicap over a mile last time out. The 5yo is very lightly raced with 4 wins from his 11 outings and appears to be ahead of the handicapper at this stage of the game.

He is a winner over a mile at this track, which suits his covered up style very well, and looks a tempting bet froma 2 draw with a galloping 52kgs on his back. Astro News is now trained by Charles Laird and has run some excellent runner up positions in his career.

He won going away last time out in a Graduation Plate at Scottsville, and will find this a lot tougher. Mike De Kock seldom fails to get a mention in a big race preview, and he sends out a coupling of Viva Maria and Silent Partner. Both are capable, but would have to improve a little bit to have a shout.


Garth Puller sends out the Trippi 3yo Wind Trip, who has to overcome a wide draw at 13. While this is his first try beyond a mile, he has run SA Classic winner Love Struck to under two lengths in the Guineas Trial last year, so is capable on his day.


General Sherman has shown that indelible stamp of class and authority required to win a race of this nature. Knock On Wood is consistent and bang in form, while Punta Arenas remains a dark horse with high hopes riding on his back. The chances of an upset are not beyond the bounds of possibility.

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