R5 Million Pick 6 Projected At Turffontein

First leg is off at 13h45

Talking about the Gr2 Topbet Mike O’Connor Joburg Spring Challenge over 1450m on the Inside track at Turffontein on Saturday, former champion trainer Sean Tarry remarked there were two level of horses running in the race.

“There are those who have class but have been rested and will be using this race as a stepping-stone to bigger things, and there are those who have been running and are fit, but might not have the class.

William Robertson ticks all the boxes (Pic – JC Photos)

“William Robertson fills both categories. He has the class and he is fit.”

4Racing report that Tarry does not train William Robertson, that honour goes to Corne Spies, who is equally as bullish.

“I honestly think he’s a massive runner,” says Spies. “He had a good warm-up run, he’s pulled a good draw (No 1) for a change, and we have a top jockey in S’manga Khumalo.”

To bolster that view even further, the four-year-old son of Rafeef is also the best weighted runner in this line-up.

He is a five-time winner from 17 starts and has placed a further eight times. He has also been placed in two Grade 1 races, including the Mercury Sprint over 1200m at Greyville where he finished runner-up to Horse-Of-The-Year Captain’s Ransom.

That’s all good news for bettors because William Robertson looks a strong banker in the carryover Pick 6. With R1-million kicking it off, the pool is likely to reach R5-million.

An interesting runner is three-year-old Mercantour, who could be better than his merit rating. He has run six times for three wins and two places, and last time ran a cracker when a 0.35-length third in a Grade 2 feature at Greyville in July.

The Stuart Pettigrew-trained runner comes into this race with just 51kg on his back and will be getting chunks of weight from all the other runners. The Inside track at Turffontein is running particularly fast right now and Mercantour could do some damage if jockey Kabelo Matsunyane can pinch a decent sized lead on this field.

There is also the Joburg Spring F&M Challenge over the same distance, and this looks far more competitive. Interestingly last year’s winner, Big Burn, will line up again in this event but as a four-year-old, she carries 8kg more.

Big Burn – defends her title but it won’t be easy (Pic – JC Photos)

Nevertheless, she remains the best weighted runner and must be a massive contender. She has since changed stables and will be having her first run for Tarry. She is nicely drawn at No 4 and will have Calvin Habib in the irons.

Her main dangers look to be three-year-old Gimme A Shot and Desert Miracle.

Gimme A Shot has only run twice for a debut victory and an unlucky 0.40-length second behind Gobsmacked in the Grade 2 Debutante over 1200m at Greyville.

She could be anything, and drawn No 3, carrying just 51.5kg and with Muzi Yeni in the irons, the Mike and Adam Azzie-trained daughter of Gimmethegreenlight cannot be ignored.

Mike de Kock-trained Desert Miracle is top class but has not raced since finishing fourth behind Rain In Holland in the Grade 1 SA Classic over 1800m. This course and distance will be more to her liking and if not in need of the run she should be a major contender

Unfortunately, she also has a wide No 10 draw to contend with, but Khumalo takes the ride and if anyone can overcome that obstacle, it’s the former champion jockey.

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