Thandi’s Star On The Rise

The first is off at 12h05

Sporting Post-sponsored jockey Athandiwe Mgudlwa will be delighted to have got the call from Sean Tarry to partner star filly, Bless My Stars, in Saturday’s Betway Gr3 London News Stakes at Turffontein.

Currently in seventh place on the national jockeys log, this will be the third time Mgudlwa will be in the saddle on the four year-old, who boasts thirds in both the Hollywoodbets Durban July and Betway Summer Cup.

Our SP guy! Athandiwe Mgudlwa – in top form (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

In fact, Mgudlwa’s association with Bless My Stars has gone well on the two occasions he has ridden the daughter of Gimmethegreenlight.

He won a 1600m race on her in June last year and then – to the shock of most pundits and punters – the combination took third place in the Durban July at the big odds of 33-1.

Bless My Stars runs in the strip of her new owners, Team Valor International and the Singhs.

No surprise that the early betting market has Bless My Stars hot favourite at 15-10 with Mike De Kock, who had a treble at Turffontein on Thursday, saddling the 8-1 second favourite, Safe Passage.

Louis Mxothwa piloted Safe Passage into second place in the Summer Cup and – while his latest run when eight lengths behind Unwen was a shade disappointing – he was friendless in the market starting at 20-1.

Diego De Gouveia gets the ride on Safe Passage and will have to overcome a wide barrier.

With the favourite at cramped odds, it might pay to take the swinger coupling Bless My Stars with Roy Magner’s runner, Emirate Gina. The filly is a 15-2 chance and – from a good draw – should go well in the hands of Denis Schwarz.

Emirate Gina – a swinger inclusion? (Pic – JC Photos)

Roy Magner has done well with the four year-old this term – she was narrowly denied by Litigation (in opposition again) in January, boasts a third behind Silver Sanctuary and was under two lengths behind Bless My Stars when they met in a five-runner contest last season.

Well drawn in barrier three, Street Art (Jason Gates) looks the pick of Tony Peter’s three runners and he’s a 15-2 chance and is a must inclusion for trifecta and quartet bets.

Gavin Lerena will get the best out of another well-drawn runner, Litigation, but the prospects of him upsetting his stablemate look highly unlikely.

In the final analysis, Bless My Stars has to be the top choice and is taken to beat Emirate Gina, Street Art and Safe Passage.

Though Lerena might not take the topliner, he has a full book of rides and will be expecting to go close on Proceed (first race), Springer (fourth), Red Bomber (fifth) and Bonete (eighth).

Gavin Lerena – another man in top form

Mike De Kock must be frustrated that Bonete is only a two-time winner and this daughter of Ilha Bela has had to settle for a minor placing in four of her last five outings.

The eighth race – over the SA Oaks distance of 2400m – provides the grey with a winning opportunity especially if she can reproduce her run in the Spook Express Handicap. Robbie Sage more than holds his own every season and his runner, United Council, may emerge as the main threat to Bonete.

Springer was drawn in the nearby Rand Stadium for her last start and finished fourth behind Fairy Circle. On Saturday, the Roy Magner inmate can recoup those losses by winning the first leg of the Pick 6.

Another Lerena mount, Red Bomber, who runs in the fifth race, has been costly to follow and might be hard pressed to beat Sean Tarry’s R300 000 daughter of Vercingetorix, Mia Moo.

The first is off at 12h05.

Dave Mollett – 2014 Equus Champion journalist provides his thoughts on the Turffontein racemeeting

Molly’s Selections:

  • 1st Race: (5) Proceed (3) Moonlight Trader (2) Greatballoffire (1) Divine Messenger
  • 2nd Race: No Selection
  • 3rd Race: (9) Monte Bello (1) Dhoni (3) Theres A Light (4) Remains Of The Day
  • 4th Race: (1) Springer (7) Lady Lennox (2) Superskitt (5) Green Bubbles
  • 5th Race: (7) Mia Moo (2) Red Bomber (1) Biofarmer (4) Mount Darwin
  • 6th Race: (3) Eiffel Tower (9) Presley (2) Willow’s Wish (5) Trois Trois Quatre
  • 7th Race: (2) Bless My Stars (10) Emirate Gina (9) Street Art (4) Safe Custody
  • 8th Race: (2) Bonete (3) United Council (5) Prime Example (1) Rule Book
  • 9th Race: (5) Monsieur Chevelle (1) Mount Edna (8) Nuclear Force (11) Zoombomber
  • 10th Race: (3) Max The Otter (7) Law Of Success (8) Duke Of Rock (6) Twice The Storm

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