With roughly six weeks to go before the inaugural R500 000 Emperors Palace Ready To Run Sweepstakes over 1400m on Saturday, 3 November, one promising 2006 Ready To Run graduate after another is emerging from the pack and making his presence felt. There is still time for horses to get at least one, possibly two runs under their belt before the field is finalized.
It’s also worth noting that Phumelela are planning a Consolation race (R80 000) for those who don’t make the cut, so connections shouldn’t be discouraged if they aren’t quite in the firing line as yet. Competition is going to be intense for the 14 places in the Big One as there are going to be a number of real quality horses in the field. The logical step for the smart performers following the Sweepstakes will be the Dingaans.
Listed below are several obvious early contenders in what is sure to shape as one of the most exciting new races in recent years.
Ecole Militaire (Des MacLachlan) : Extremely impressive first time out winner last weekend, he will be among the favourites for the event.
Galant Gagnant (Mike de Kock) : One win from one start to date. Highly regarded and will be one of the starting favourites.
Gymnast (Gary Alexander) : Three starts for a win and two seconds; a progressive colt who looks to have Black Type within his compass.
Haizi (Justin Snaith) : Gavin Venter’s purchase, two wins, four places from six starts to date, and Champion East Cape Two Year Old Filly of last season. Eligibility is in doubt, but OK for the Consolation race.
Holimoli (“Hekkie” Strydom) : One of the first graduates to win, this filly is a half sister to Fanyana. Consolation material?
Imbongi (Mike de Kock) : Three starts for two very impressive wins and a third to date. He will just about top the betting boards.
Moscow Circus (Gavin Smith) : Sufficiently highly regarded by his Champion trainer, he was brought to Durban for both his starts, and performed with great credit.
Mzwilili (Paul Matchett) : Seven starts, two wins and three places including the Grade 3 Pretty Polly Stakes.
Prize Flower (Mark Dixon) : An impressive winner first time out, and placed first time out of the Maidens. Another good run could get her there.
Nomafashini (Gary Alexander) : Two runs, one win, one second. Very promising.
Regal Runner (Andre Kirsten) : Two wins (including the Storm Bird Stakes) and two places from seven starts to date. Eligibility is in doubt, but OK for the Consolation race.
Simply Red (Basil Marcus) : A winner first time out for this daughter of Russian Revival.
Springbok Summer (Bill Human) : One win, two places from five starts, and a Group One contender during the past season.
Volovolo (Lyle Anderson) : His recent game win tells us he may just be a contender.
We will run more updates as the weeks go by and the plot thickens. Remember that the Ready To Run Breeze Up Gallops will take place on Friday, 19 October. Have you made your plans to visit us yet?