where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2022-07-28 09:03:59  
A Look at World Pool Gold Cup Raceday


The Gold Cup was first run on 31 July 1920 and in more than a century since then, only two horses have ever achieved back
-to-back victories – Chez Monty in 1949/50 and Highland Night in 2003/04.

Having won the race last year, Nebraas will be looking to add his name to that scroll of honour when he lines up against 14 rivals in the 2022 Marshalls World of Sport Gold Cup carrying 7,5kgs more than he did when beating Silver Host in 2021. And there is more on the line for Nebraas. He was voted Champion Stayer in 2021 and victory on Saturday will almost certainly secure him the title for a second consecutive year.

Earlier this season, Nebraas won the Caradoc Gold Cup over 2850m at Turffontein as well as the Gold Bowl over 3200m at the same venue. He has maintained good consistent form throughout his career and he appears the logical choice for top honours come Saturday.

That said, there are dangers aplenty. His stable companion Black Thorn won the DSTV Gold Vase on Hollywoodbets Durban July day and is himself a solid staying type. He is not weighted to turn the tables on Nebraas after finishing second to the latter in the Gold Bowl but Black Thorn is a year younger than his rival and may yet be open to further improvement.
The Derby winner Aragosta is an interesting runner. He ran slightly below expectations in the Hollywoodbets Durban July but he could be a different proposition over the marathon trip of 3200m. Shangani from the stable of Paul Peter also rates a massive threat. He recently beat Nebraas in a 5-runner 2400m Pinnacle Stakes but is now a kilo worse off and the extra 800m should favour Nebraas.

Of the balance Crimson King, Salvator Mundi, Shango, Out Of Your League and Rex Union make some appeal for Quartet permutations but Nebraas does appear the one to beat.

SELECTION: (4) NEBRAAS; (12) Shangani; (5) Black Thorn;
(7) Aragosta


Defending World Pool Champions Cup winner, Jet Dark, could stake a claim for Horse-of-the-Year honours when he goes toe-to-toe with Kommetdieding and Linebacker in the 2022 renewal of this great race. Run at weight-for-age terms, the cream is expected to rise to the top and Jet Dark has maintained a very high level of performance throughout the season, including his gallant second under top weight behind Sparkling Water in the recent Hollywoodbets Durban July. Having beaten Jet Dark in the WSB Cape Town Met during January, Kommetdieding is a worthy adversary but on the evidence of the July run, Jet Dark could come out on top on this occasion.

Linebacker’s run in the Hollywoodbets Durban July is best ignored and Vaughan Marshall’s runner is too classy to discard lightly, as evidenced by his good third in the Met and his storming second in the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge. Al Muthana reverts to a more suitable trip but the manner in which both Jet Dark and Linebacker were closing over the last 200m of the Gold Challenge suggests he may be hard pressed to ward them off over the extra 200m of the Champions Cup.

SELECTION: (5) JET DARK; (4) Kommetdieding; (8) Linebacker;
(6) Al Muthana

MERCURY SPRINT – 1200M – (Grade 1)

The 2022 Mercury Sprint has attracted an extremely strong and competitive field and finding the winner is no easy task. The draw and luck in running will play a huge role but I am going to stick my neck out and suggest an each way play on the very talented 3yo filly Big Burn. She is overdue to win a big Grade 1 prize and from an inside stall she could use her good initial speed to get the run of the race. Captain’s Ransom finished in front of her in the SA Fillies Sprint and is well drawn right alongside Big Burn. However, Big Burn has more natural gate speed than Captain’s Ransom and it is of some concern that Justin Snaith’s star filly has twice fluffed her lines at Hollywoodbets Greyville.

But the list of potential winners is long! Val D’Orcia and Good Traveller finished 1st and 2nd in the Post Merchants (Gr2) on Hollywoodbets Durban July day, with Good Traveller now 4kgs better off at the weights. Alesian Chief won the Golden Horse Sprint (Gr1) but goes around the turn for the first time in his career. Master Archie won the Computaform Sprint (Gr1) in April and is definite contender while Bohica won the Cape Flying Championship (Gr1) over 1000m at Kenilworth back in January.

This season’s major sprint winners are thus all doing battle in the Mercury Sprint on Saturday and it’s going to be a fascinating race.

SELECTION: (2) BIG BURN; (7) Good Traveller; (1) Val D’Orcia;
(4) Captain’s Ransom

PREMIER’S CHAMPION STAKES (2yo’s) – 1600M – (Grade 1)

Cousin Casey has won his last three starts coming into this race, including the Cell C Sharks Gatecrasher Stakes over 1400m and the Gr 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe over the same distance. Both these races were at Hollywoodbets Greyville and there is no reason why the son of Vercingetorix will not step up successfully to the 1600m trip of the Premier’s Champion Stakes. Royal Victory and Superior Force have both finished behind Cousin Casey and should be held again, although Royal Victory does have the benefit of a good draw this time around.

Quantum Theory and Now I Got You have shown tremendous potential while the filly River Queraress could be the surprise package in the race. Prophet, Countdown, Laguna Verde and Acorn appear the pick of the balance but the form book and course experience all points to Cousin Casey.

SELECTION: (9) COUSIN CASEY; (1) Quantum Theory; (2) Royal Victory; (13) Countdown.

THEKWINI STAKES (2yo fillies) – 1600M – (Grade 1)

Tricky race but it may pay to follow the form of the Gr 2 Golden Slipper run on July Day. Ameena came out on top winning her third race from only four starts and the manner of her victory suggests there should be more to come. She should again have the measure of Woodland Retreat but, from the worst of the draw, Ameena is going to need more than her fair share of luck in running. Exotic punters are advised to go wide.

SELECTION: (14) AMEENA; (5) Bless My Stars; (1) Canadian Summer; (11) Rock The Fox

Gold Circle 

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