While some of the best horses in the country will contest Saturday's Peermont Emperors Palace Charity Mile at Turffontein, the biggest cheque at the meeting awaits the winning connections of the sixth race, the R3,85m Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup over 1,400m.
The winners prize for the first home in the Charity Mile is R375,000, but the Cup's winning owner will pocket R1,7million. Little wonder there has been keen competition in recent weeks to gain a slot in the 16-runner field.
Trainer Mike de Kock saddles four runners in the Cup and jockey arrangements suggest Dreamuponadream is the stable elect with Anthony Delpech booked for the Judpot gelding. However, there remains a suspicion that he is best over 1,200m and stablemate Lava Flow might be a safer bet. A R1,6million son of Western Winter, Lava Flow has won over the Cup trip and the worry about him is whether he'll find the distance too short. He will be doing his best work late under his talented rider, Bernard Fayd'Herbe.
Lava Flow is owned by Al Adiyaat SA who have another string to their bow in the form of Aussie-bred filly, Tamaanee. The daughter of Teofilio, trained by Sean Tarry, has impressed in her two outings and should go close in the hands of champion jockey S'manga Khumalo.
Punters know that any horse ridden by Anton Marcus warrants the utmost scrutiny and he partners another Aussie-bred in Rich Girl who makes the journey from Charles Laird's KwaZulu-Natal stable.
The filly is already a four-time winner, but Marcus will have to overcome a shocking draw.
Young Johan Janse van Vuuren has made a fine start to his training career and it would be a real feather in his cap if he took top honours with his runner, Silver Class. The daughter of Silvano looks a bargain buy at R225,000 and Gavin Lerena's mount is sure to have her supporters.
Pioneer Spirit probably needed his latest outing and has an each-way shout - he should certainly earn a cheque as even the 10th horse home will earn R75,000. The swinger coupling Lava Flow and Tamaanee could be a rewarding wager.
Trainer Geoff Woodruff has won the Charity Mile four times and has a great chance of adding to that total with five runners from his stable due to line up for Saturday's R600,000 contest. The Triple Crown hero, Louis The King, will attract plenty of punters' money but may find this 1,600m trip too sharp and the well-drawn Lockheed Jetstar is preferred.
The Jet Master gelding will be a chance ride for Francois Herholdt who will deputise for Derrick David who was injured in an accident at the Randjesfontein training centre on Tuesday. Marcus's mount Rake's Chestnut has to step up to the plate after an unplaced run in the Durban July, and Killua Castle is unpredictable but does have a favourable draw.
Alec Laird has three hopes in Bezanova, As You Like and Bouclette Top and the last-named - beaten three times by Louis The King last season - may get his revenge over what may be the Argentinian-bred gelding's optimum trip.
Sovereign Mint goes to post in great heart after a facile recent win and it will be five victories on the trot if jockey Gunter Wrogemann can bring his mount home in front. The gelding has an ideal draw and trainer Robbie Sage is confident of a big run by his four-year-old.
The Pick 6 pool kicks off with a carryover of R900,000 and is expected to reach R4million. The banker bet will be Aussie-bred filly, Majmu, who lost her unbeaten tag when caught up in traffic on her seasonal reappearance. She will start an odds-on favourite for the Princess Charlene Of Monaco Starling Stakes, yet the grey cannot be regarded as a 'shoo-in' with talented stable companion, One Fine Day, certain to throw down a challenge with Marcus booked for the first time.
Extract from Business Day