Tough Champions Cup draw for July winner

The news would have been enough to make trainer Candice Bass-Robinson choke on her cornflakes. Her Vodacom Durban July winner Marinaresco has drawn the worst barrier position for the R1m World Sports Betting Champions Cup at Greyville next Saturday.

Along with the eLan Gold Cup — this year being run on the Sunday — it is the last big meeting of the season and the Champions Cup result is important in determining the Equus Horse of the Year.

Victory for Marinaresco in the Champions Cup would put him on that shortlist, but his outside draw will not make life easy for jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe.

Captain America, another of the leading fancies for this 1,800m race, will also have to beat a wide barrier. Brett Crawford’s talented performer drew in gate 14.

There was, however, good news for trainer Justin Snaith with Black Arthur and It’s My Turn drawing inside barriers. The Cape trainer will be looking for a top-four finish from Black Arthur, who failed to make the first six in the July.

Racing fans will be hoping Snaith runs Bela-Bela before she retires. She enhanced an already huge reputation by winning the Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes on July day.

The sponsors have priced up on the race and, despite his draw, have made Marinaresco the clear favourite at 22-10.

Captain America is second favourite at 9-2 followed by Bela-Bela at 11-2 and stablemates, It’s My Turn and Black Arthur, have been priced at 8-1 and 9-1.

Another horse bidding to put a disappointing July run behind him is Ten Gun Salute. Duncan Howells’ charge is one of the outsiders at 16-1.

Of all the horses in the powerful stable of Sean Tarry, three-year-old Pilou is probably the most frustrating for the champion trainer.

At the start of this campaign, the well-bred son of Western Winter had to be rated a possible classic prospect, but the gelding has managed just one win in seven starts.

Nevertheless, it is difficult to look beyond Pilou in Saturday’s seventh race at Turffontein with only Paul Matchett’s runner Dan The Lad his only apparent danger in the 1,600m event.

Dan The Lad ran second to Sporting Monarch during his most recent outing — and that form was franked when Sporting Monarch scored again at the Vaal on Tuesday.

Jockey S’manga Khumalo, who will be riding Pilou, has a good book of rides and should go close on Lucky Houdalakis’ filly, September Bloom, in the first leg of the jackpot.

The three-year-old is overdue a second win and could get it at the expense of recent course winner Emerald Bay.

Lady Starlett did this column a good turn when winning her last start at decent odds so it would be wrong to desert Coenie de Beer’s filly in the sixth race. The daughter of Overlord only got a two-point penalty for that victory, so another prominent run is on the cards.

The main opposition to Lady Starlett includes Magic and Manx Park, while five-year-old Duke Nukem is respected back in handicap company.

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