Lester Piggott
(Frank Tewkesbury)

Scottsville Racecourse was often referred to in the days when it still boasted a dip on the far straight, as a “poor track,” so this scene of Lester Piggott’s greatest ever ride on a racehorse, has come a long way in its splendid history to host what are arguably the four most important Grade One sprints on the South African racing calendar.

Of interest to the “Summerhill followers” will obviously be the clash in the “Big One”, the Golden Horse Casino Sprint, between the new kid on the block, J.J. The Jet Plane, who’s rapidly cultivating something of a cult following beyond his excellent trainer, Lucky Houdalakis, and the Summerhill-bred, Rebel King.

On pure recent form, “J.J.” looks the proverbial shoe-in, but after a reassuring chat to big time trainer, Charles Laird this morning, it seems all is well with the “Rebel,” and an 8,5kg turnaround for a 2 length beating last time they met, might just be too much, even for a folk hero to endure. At 6-1, Rebel King, for our money anyway, looks very attractive.

In the S.A. Fillies Sprint, Hot Reception takes on much the same Grade One quality field (with the addition of the dangerous Dancer’s Daughter) she clobbered over the course and distance in the Poinsettia Stakes (Gr3) last month, and if she maintains that form, it’ll take more than just a good run from Grade One winners (all three previous Champions) Rat Burana, Ethereal Lady and Stratos, to turn the tables! Perhaps the real damper will come from a previous graduate of our paddocks’ daughter Oracle News. Who knows? You never do at Scottsville.

In the juvenile colts clash, the Gold Reef Medallion, Michael Azzie has curiously elected to take on the champion-in-waiting, Warm White Night, with Strelitzia Stakes heroine and Summerhill Ready To Run graduate, Thekkady, who might’ve been better served against her own sex in the Alan Robertson Fillies Championship (Gr1).

But you never know at Scottsville… stranger things have happened.