where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2021-04-28 12:02:23  

Racing fans are in for a bumper weekend with Champions Day at Turffontein on Saturday being followed by the WSB Guineas meeting at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday which marks the official start of the SA Champions Season.

The new racing operator in waiting, 4Racing, will be launched at Champions Day and will sponsor all seven of the feature events. 
The highlight will be the Grade 1 Premier's Champions Challenge where it is particularly pleasing to see reigning Equus Horse Of The Year Summer Pudding taking on two top class horses in Got The Greenlight and Malmoos. 
Triple Tiara heroine Summer Pudding has won eleven of twelve including three Grade 1s and in the Summer Cup she carried 59kg to victory against the boys. However, the fact remains that she has only ever beaten two Grade 1 winners, Atyaab and Zillzaal, neither of whom would be a threat in an open weight for age event. She thus has the opportunity to put that "but who has she beaten?" question to bed. If she was not going to take that chance now then she would have had to do it at away centres where the courses do not suit her as well as the Turffontein Standside track. She has a high cruising speed and a relentless finishing run which makes her ideally suited to the tough Turffontein Standside course with its long straight. She has the advantage of pole position and reigning national champion jockey Warren Kennedy is in fine form.
Got The Greenlight can win on any course but the tighter the course the better for him as he has an exceptional turn of foot and then tends to take his foot off the pedal when he hits the front. He can find another gear when challenged but timing is of the essence. He is thus lucky to have one of the best big race riders in the country aboard, the master tactician Muzi Yeni.
WSB SA Triple Crown hero Malmoos is a versatile racehorse who has a good turn of foot and a highly efficient finishing run. In the WSB SA Derby off a slow pace his final 400m to finish time was an exceptionally fast 23.86 seconds. Got The Greenlight's Grade 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes 400m to finish time by comparison was 24.10 seconds, although he did do his normal idling after slicing through the field like a hot knife through butter.
Summer Pudding is the highest rated of the trio on 129 compared to Malmoos' 125 and Got The Greenlight's 124, but she also has the most to prove. However, she will likely have the most support as she is known as the Darling of the South African turf.
It is going to be a thriller.
The rest of the runners are Cirillo (120), Barahin (119), Tierra Del Fuego (116), Second Base (116), Divine Odyssey (110) and Johnny Hero (103) and the first five of them will be attempting to enhance their chances of making the final field for the Vodacom Durban July.  
The Grade 1 Computaform Sprint looks wide open. The draw usually plays a part in this race, the higher the better. Last year's winner Rivarine is an underestimated talent and has landed the highest draw of 13. The Grade 1 Cape Flying Championship winner Rio Querari has landed a tricky draw of four. Fellow Cape Town raider Russet Air will have to repeat his draw-defying quarter-length second as he has draw two as opposed to one this time. Grade 1 winner Chimichuri Run is the highest rated runner on 126 ans  has a good draw of nine and although probably better suited to 1200m is going to be a big runner as his last two disappointing runs came from tough low draws and before that he had won two races on the trot over 1160m also from tough low draws. The lowest rated runner is Mind Reader but she is a fascinating participant as she has developed into a bull of a filly who is dispatching the opposition more and more easily despite her continually rising merit rating. However, taking in a Grade 1 as one's first ever feature race makes it tough. Gareth van Zyl raids with Grade 1 Allan Robertson winner Vernichey, who has drawn the tough number one barrier position, and the old soldier Chantyman. The rest of the field Bohica, Bold Ransom, Winter Stories, True To Life, Anna Capri and Miracle Flight are all capable of being involved.
The Nursery races are always fascinating. The Grade 2 SA Fillies Nursery will see Under Your Spell attempting to make it four wins from four starts. Making her task easier is that Sheela, whom Mike Azzie describes as the "best filly I have trained since Harry's Charm" is taking n the boys in the Grade 2 SA Nursery.
The Grade 3 Gold Bowl over 3200m will see African Adventure, who gets better the further he goes, attempting to carry 61.5kg against good stayers including Don't Look Back, to whom he concedes 8kg.
The Grade 3 Camellia Stakes sees an exciting clash between two highly promising three-year-olds, Sweet Future and Celestial Love, and three older fillies Tropic Sun, Gallic Princess and Singforafa. The latter is the only one to have landed a low draw so it should be a humdinger, although Sweet Future is the one who makes most appeal.   

In the Grade 2 Gerald Rosenberg Stakes over 2000m Running Brave is well weighted and her draw of two will suit her handy to front-running style. However, this is likely the first step in her preparation for the Vodacom Durban July which makes it a tricky race to assess as she has disappointed before in a stepping-stone race. Seehaam should relish this tough 2000m test.
The James Maree Workriders vs Jockeys Challenge Maiden Plate adds spice to a not to be missed meeting.  
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