Michael Clower - Triple Crown winner Louis The King (Geoff Woodruff/Piere Strydom) is hot favourite to put ‘Striker' Strydom in the headlines for the second successive Saturday after riding his 5,000th winner on the Joey Ramsden-trained classic hope Act Of War last weekend.
The four-year-old finished like a train, and a certain future winner, on his reappearance in the Charity Mile here four weeks ago and has pleased his trainer since.
Woodruff said: "We thought he would run well in the Charity Mile and I was thrilled with him. He will be cherry-ripe here and I think he can do it."
Strydom, an astute student of the form book, added: "The horses with the form are Louis The King and No Worries (Gavin van Zyl/Keagan de Milo) who came from draw 16 out of 16 last time and finished in front of Louis The King - although we are hoping that my horse will have come on a bit."
Epsom-born five times champion trainer Woodruff runs four including the first three in the betting and said: "I would imagine that Rake's Chestnut (S'Manga Khumalo) will be right there and the question mark with Lockheed Jetstar (Richard Fourie) is whether he will get the trip."
Alec Laird also runs four and three of them are high up in the market. He said: "This race has been on the cards for As You Like (Marthinus Mienie) for quite some time and he may have needed the Charity Mile run more than Louis The King. Bezanova (Weichong Marwing) won that race and has picked up a penalty making this a little bit harder but Bouclette Top (Grant van Niekerk) comes into the race off a good weight and is tip-top."
What can you say about Louis The King that hasn't already been said? He was flying at the end of the Charity Mile and I've been delighted with him since. He has that brilliance and a fantastic constitution to go with it. "Striker" Strydom has ridden him just once before but both horse and rider are laid-back characters who fit each other like a glove.
For me Rake's Chestnut is a class horse and still an unknown quantity. Against that, I'm very worried about his ability to act on a soft surface and if there is a lot of rain that would be a concern. He likes to get a lead and that can mean you hit traffic but you make your own luck at this game.
I would put Lockheed Jetstar very close together with the horse we had to scratch, Master Sabina. He put up a very good effort in the Charity Mile, but going 2000m is new territory for him. Although he doesn't look like a Summer Cup horse, on breeding he has a good shot of getting the distance. He also has a great turn of foot that I expect his jockey to unleash late.
Killua Castle has that consistent quality but has more weight than last year, as well as a tricky draw to overcome. He finished well that day. He pops up every now and again.
As You Like has had one run, in the Charity Mile four weeks ago when I think he needed it more than Louis The King. When he was second to that horse in the Derby off a rating of 100 I thought it made sense to try to keep him on that mark for the Summer Cup. He's pleased me in his gallops since and has a 5kg swing. He's in very good order.
Bezanova is an improving horse and not out of it but by going up 1.5kg for winning his trial he has made life difficult for himself. If you look at the handicapping of a horse like Rake's Chestnut, then that one has got us beat. I just think he has a tough task at the weights.
Earl Of Derby will ride his luck from off the pace and we'll see what he can do. He's competing off the same weight as As You Like and isn't as good as him, which tells you he may struggle.
Bouclette Top got a bit crowded in the Charity Mile but has done everything asked of him since being gelded. That was a nice prep and I thought he'd win. The key is to give him some cover early and then switch out to deliver his late kick. I think he'll get the trip and that he's a big runner.
Jet Belle ran well in the July and then in a Grade 2 race, also in Durban. She's a strong filly who is a bit gassy and needs cover in order to settle. Her jockey has won on her and his job will be to try to avoid traffic from a deep draw that is going to make life difficult for them.
Sovereign Mint started favourite for the Charity Mile but didn't enjoy the best of runs, finishing just out of the money. That slight interference possibly cost him, because although he's a galloper with a big stride he can also change gear. From that draw out wide we need to try to get an early position and then keep our fingers crossed that he stays.
Looking at the field there are only three runners that have won a Grade 1 race and Athina is one of them. I think there isn't much between the three-year-old colts and fillies. She likes to be held up off a strong pace and then make her bid at the last moment. I think we are capable of running a big race but for me the horse who wins might well come from the bottom of the weights.
Personally, I make Judicial one of the best Place bets at the meeting. He is improving daily and as long as nothing goes wrong during the running of the race he will finish on top of them. He loved the wet in the Victory Moon but it doesn't matter whether the ground is hard or soft, he has to be a good horse to have beaten that field. He took that race very well and there's not much we have to do with him but keep him fit. On Tuesday we gave him his final preparation run. It was just a pipe opener. I don't think I can get him any better. The stable is in very good form and if horses like Augustinus and Mirage Drive can do well in similar company, then I have to have a lot of confidence about Judicial.
Gavin van Zyl
No Worries does have the burden of 60kg and history suggests it's a tough ask, he is working well and enjoys a better draw for a change. We can expect another honest performance from him.
Disco Al won well in Port Elizabeth and it depends on how he takes the 20-hour box journey. It will be his first run at Turffontein but he's a dual winner on a right-handed track, has a reasonable weight and we know he stays 2000m. The travelling is huge, though. It's all about altitude.
Bold Inspiration's prep has gone perfectly to plan. He's performed well in far lesser company and is looking to make it five wins in a row. This is of course a big step up but he seems well in himself and will enjoy the track with its long home straight.
St John Gray
Glorious Jet and Everest: "I'm happy to have two runners but I'm not going to Turffontein with much confidence. It's one helluva field and neither of mine had luck in the draw so it's going to be difficult for them. Everest could be a runner if he can get cover."
Enchanted Silk is fit and well and has had a nice prep but she's up against it in a strong field. I think whatever beats As You Like will win, he's so well in at the weights.
Losing a run always affects the prep to a degree because there's nothing like a race to bring a horse to peak fitness. In a perfect world we would have loved to have the run that was rained out but Wavin' Flag is that type of horse we can get fit at home. Right now he is doing very well. In spite of winning a Grade 1 race he only has a merit rating of 99 so I think he's very well handicapped for this race. I'm confident the long straight will suit him and although people may feel 2000m is too short for him, he did run only 2.30 lengths behind Futura in the Greyville 1900 Consolation. We could have stayed in Cape Town and gone for the J&B Reserve Stayers on Met Day but that is a conditions race and he would have had to give weight to Hot Ticket, which is ridiculous. Louis The King is a multiple Grade 1 winner and is the runner to beat, but after that I believe the race is quite open. Louis The King loves the track and will definitely stay. Other than him the only two Grade 1 winners are Athina and Wavin' Flag. The rest are all in the same ball park."
Extracts from Racing Post and Tab Online