After the hype and extravaganza of the Vodacom Durban July last week, no jockey or trainer will be given a break as all the focus now turns to the Grade 1 Mercury Sprint at Clairwood this Saturday. Granted, it was only Mike Bass who had runners in the Durban July, but he now saddles two runners in this weekend's big sprint. Bass, along with the other trainers with runners in this race, provide us comments on their runners, and their feelings about what their chances are. Included is a preview on each of the runners.
|August Rush winning the 2011 Mercury Sprint|
The 2011 Grade 1 Mercury Sprint run at Clairwood over 1200m had a fairly moderate field with some of the top contenders missing from the contest. August Rush won the race by a length beating COPPER PARADE (11/1) who will take his place in this race once again. August Rush has been exported to Dubai since and will be running in the Dubai Carnival come early next year.
The sole filly in last year’s race was Covenant from the Mike Bass yard and she didn’t disgrace herself as she finished 4th beaten 1.35 lengths behind the winner and a head behind her stable companion Captain’s Secret.
With the scratching of Sean Tarry's GIVE ME FIVE from the field, only one filly will take part in this year's race in the form of CHOCOLICIOUS from the Herman Brown/Frank Robinson stable. The 12/1 shot will have Karis Teetan on board, who will want to get a another Grade 1 win under his belt after Jackson failed him in the Durban July.
In 2012 Mike Bass saddles joint favorite WHAT A WINTER (28/10) with stable jockey Bernard Fayd'Herbe on board (who rode August Rush to victory last year), as well as the Ingrid and Marcus Jooste owned RUSHING WIND (12/1). Although the former will be the stable elect, Winning Form's resident tipster eMeM has gone for the latter who will be ridden by in-form jockey MJ Byleveld. eMeM reckon's RUSHING WIND is the dark horse in this race after his impressive win over Galileo's Destiny in a Allowance Plate run at this same course last month. It's a drop in distance, but one to watch.
|Delago Deluxe winning the Golden Horseshoe Sprint|
The Ormond Ferraris trained horse SNOWDON, who ran 1.25 lengths behind DELAGO DELUXE in the Golden Horses Casino Sprint, will have the services of Anthony Delpech for this weekend's race. He was 22/1 in his last run, and bookies could be well justified pricing him up at 9/2 for this weekend. The gelding is in good form and should be considered.
WINKING JACK (50/1) from the Lance Wiid stable can boast his brilliance by the fact that it defeated the champion JJ The Jet Plane over 1000m at Turffontein in April (but was unable to repeat that performance in the Computaform Sprint two weeks later). Although he has been rested for 11 weeks, the extra 200m in this race against strong competition might just be too much for this gelding.
Just a side note, J J The Jet Plane broke the course record in the Mercury Sprint, when he won it in 2010!
MIKE'S CHOICE (12/1) from the Michael Roberts stable enters this race on the back of a good win in the Post Merchants just over a month ago, but he has been penalized for that victory and will now carry the top weight at 60kg - making it a very tough task for this gelding.
Paul Peter's MAGICO (11/1) faded badly in his last sprint over 1000m on the sand a week ago, and is quite an unreliable sort. However, the trainer does feel he'll be better suited at the softer going at the coast and can't be written off.
SHADES OF INDIGO (20/1) from the Joey Ramsden stable will have a tough task carrying the top weight in this run, and other runners in MIKE'S CHOICE and DELAGO DELUXE have had the better of him. He'll have his work cut out to feature here.
MIDNIGHT SERENADE (20/1) cruised clear of his opposition in his most recent run at Turffontein winning by 5.50 lengths over 1000m, but he faces much tougher competition in this Grade 1 feature. However, Robbie Fradd retains the ride, and the horse is said to be fit and competitive. He may be one for the back-end of quartets.
Let's see what the trainer's had to say:
The Mercury Sprint
Grade 1 - R600 000 - 1200m
Clairwood - Saturday 14 July 2012 - Race 8 - 15:35
|1||(7)||MAGICO||11/1||Paul Peter||S Randolph||60||115|
|2||(13)||WHAT A WINTER||28/10||Mike Bass||B Fayd'Herbe||60||115|
|3||(10)||ANTIOUS||20/1||H Brown/F Robinson||K Latham||60||110|
|4||(6)||SNOWDON||9/2||Ormond Ferraris||A Delpech||60||108|
|5||(5)||COPPER PARADE||11/1||Joey Ramsden||S Cormack||60||107|
|6||(3)||WINKING JACK||50/1||Lance Wiid||M Yeni||60||107|
|7||(8)||RUSHING WIND||12/1||Mike Bass||M Byleveld||60||105|
|8||(2)||MIKE'S CHOICE||12/1||Michael Roberts||B Lerena||60||101|
|9||(11)||SHADES OF INDIGO||20/1||Joey Ramsden||G Hatt||60||101|
|10||(9)||DELAGO DELUXE||28/10||Charles Laird||A Marcus||59.5||111|
|11||(4)||MIDNIGHT SERENADE||20/1||Dianne Stenger||R Fradd||59.5||100|
|12||(12)||CHOCOLICIOUS||12/1||H Brown/F Robinson||K Teetan||57.5||102|
Couplings: (2, 7) (3, 12) (5, 9)
Hollywood will be paying 3 fixed places.
Betting last updated 14h00 - Thursday 12th July
Betting last updated 14h00 - Thursday 12th July
For the Winning Form guide and print-out for this race, click here!
WINNING FORM caught up with the various trainers who gladly gave their insight on the progress of their runners.
ANTIOUS (20/1) – "His prep has gone very well. He had a slight wind problem, but he is over that now. If he maintains the form he is showing me in work then I expect him to beat CHOCOLICIOUS. WHAT A WINTER and DELAGO DELUXE will both be very hard to beat."
CHOCOLICIOUS (12/1) – "She has been working very well and I could not wish for better. She gets a little weight from her male competitors, but whether that will be enough to beat them only the race will show."
MIKE'S CHOICE (12/1) – "He is very well and I am happy with the way he has come on since he won the Post Merchants. That was a handicap so he did receive weight from some of his main rivals. This is a tough race and I make DELAGO DELUXE hard to beat. Any rain before the race will be a big factor in his favour."
DELAGO DELUXE (28/10) – "I was very happy with the way he won the Golden Horse Casino Sprint at Scottsville. His work has been good since then, but it must be remembered that he did receive weight in that race. He received 6kgs from WHAT A WINTER then so his task, this time, is a lot tougher."
WHAT A WINTER (28/10) – "He failed to reproduce his best in the Golden Horse Casino Sprint at Scottsville. He has been working well since then and if he brings his track work to the racecourse he will be the one to beat."
RUSHING WIND (12/1) – "He won his last race over a mile, but he often runs well over the sprint distances. I don't think it's asking too much for him to run into the placings."
SNOWDON (9/2) – "His last run was very good when second behind DELAGO DELUXE. He is holding his form and I expect him to again, give a good account of himself. I make DELAGO DELUXE the one to beat."
MIDNIGHT SERENADE (20/1) – "He is very fit and well and he has improved with blinkers. Robbie Fradd knows him well as he rode him to victory last time. He will be very competitive."
WINKING JACK (50/1) – "He is very well and sound and in-fact, he couldn't be better. I think he has improved since beating JJ The Jet Plane and I expect a very big run from him."
COPPER PARADE (11/1) – "His last two runs have been very encouraging and he has taken those runs well. I make him a big runner here."
SHADES OF INDIGO (20/1) – "He had a promising last run from a poor draw, but I think he has a lot more to do here."
MAGICO (11/1) – "After his very poor run on the sand, I took his blood and the results have come back showing that his blood is spot on. I can only put his bad run down to the fact that he didn't enjoy racing on the sand. He has shown no ill-effects from that race so I will let him take his chance here. The going at Clairwood should be a lot softer than it is on the Highveld and he could run much better here."
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