Picture: Alesian Chief will be out to add R625,000 to his sire Vercingetorix’s stakes tally for the season in Saturday’s Grade 1 R1 million Mercury Sprint (Candiese Lenferna).
The late Silvano was R1,402,738 clear after yesterday’s racing in his bid to be champion stallion for the sixth time and his son Vercingetorix is the only one who can catch him.
Maine Chance Farms will probably be hoping Vercingetorix can do it considering he is their chief resident stallion at present.
It will be a remarkable achievement and great for his CV if he can become champion stallion in the season his first crop are only five year olds, although the great Jet Master did it when his first crop were only four.
Vercingetorix’s hopes will rest with the big guns who are representing him on Marshalls World Of Sport Gold Cup day, although some wins from his progeny this week will make a tough task a touch easier.
In the day’s main feature, the Grade 3 R750,000 Gold Cup, Vercingetorix’s son Nebraas is the favourite and can net the stallion R468,750 for a win.
However, Silvano has a few representatives here in Smoking Hot, Imperial Ruby and Chewbaca, although they are all outsiders ranging in price from 33/1 to 50/1.
In the Grade 1 R1 million weight for age (wfa) HKJC World Pool Champions Cup, Vercingetorix’s son Astrix has drawn two out of the nine runners.
He is an ultra tough galloper, who is improving all the time.
He is generally priced up at 14/1, but is not without a chance of upsetting the applecart and claiming the R625,000 winner’s cheque.
The second and third cheques of R200,000 and R100,000 respectively could also be helpful.
The Grade 1 R1 million wfa Mercury Sprint will give Vercingetorix his biggest chance of closing that gap. He will be represented in this race by the well drawn pair Alesian Chief (drawn five) and Val D’Orcia (drawn one) and also by the widely drawn Gallic Princess (drawn 14).
Alesian Chief is the 5/1 third favourite and Val D’Orcia is 14/1, whilst Gallic Princess is the race’s 33/1 biggest outsider.
The trio will be out to net those first three cheques of R625,000, R200,000 and R100,000 respectively.
Silvano has no runners in either the Champions Cup or Mercury Sprint.
Vercingetorix has the favourite Cousin Casey in the Grade 1 R500,000 Premiers Champion Stakes.
He has a tricky draw of nine out of 14, but displayed an exceptional turn of foot when winning the Grade 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe over 1400m.
The winner’s cheque of R312,500 will give Vercingetorix’s chances a boost and second prize of R100,000 will also be useful.
Silvano has no runners in that race, but does have one runner in the Grade 1 R500,000 Thekwini Stakes in Littlemarysunshime, who is drawn seven and is around 14/1.
Vercingetorix has no runners in the Thekwini.
If Vercingetorix does close the gap during the meeting, Silvano will have the Grade 2 R250,000 Gold Bracelet to help his cause.
As is often the case in this race he is well represented with no few than six runners, including the 14/10 favourite Marina. He also has Keep On Dancing (10/1), Silver Maria (12/1), Follow The Star (12/1), Monoshada (20/1) and Princess Anastasia (20/1).
Vercingetorix has one represntative in that race, the biggest outsider, 33/1 shot Lyrical Dance.
First prize in that race is R156,250.
In the Grade 2 R200,000 Prosport International Debutante, where the first prize is R125,000, Vercingetorix has the well regarded Bevies Delight, who finished just 2,95 lengths back in the Grade 2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper after being backed in from long odds to 25/2.
However, she has drawn 12 out of 12 in this 1200m contest, although she is still quoted at around 8/1.
Neither of the stallions have any runners in the Grade 2 R200,000 Epol Umkhomazi Stakes.
Silvano has one runner in Silvano’s Timer in the Listed R150,000 Marshalls World Of Sport Darley Arabian, where the first prize is R93,750.
He has drawm wide in 11 but is nevertheless the 11/2 third favourite.
In the last race of the day, the Listed R150,000 Marshalls World Of Sport Umngeni Handicap, Vercingetorix is represented by the number seven and eight drawn pair Vaseem and Gallic Chief, who are quoted at around 10/1 and 12/1 respectively.
It is going to be an intriguing battle but Vercingetorix’s progeny are going to have to pull out all the stops to get him ahead.
Silvano’s key to success was the R5 million Holywoodbets Durban July, where he netted over R4 million for the championships via the winner Sparkling Water and third-placed Safe Passage.
Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein will be the champion breeders, as they are more than R5 million clear of reigning champions Klawervlei Stud.
Erupt will likely be Champion Freshman sire as he is close to R700,000 clear of nearest rival Gold Standard.
The actual leading first season sire is Canford Cliffs, whose 15 winners and other placed runners have netted almost R500,000 more than Erupt’s eight winner’s and placed runners. However, Canford Cliffs is not eligible having stood overseas before.
In the race for champion damsire Jet Master is more than a R1 million clear of Captain Al and this pair are nearly R5 million clear of third-placed Fort Wood.
Drakenstein Stud are breeders of a phenomenal 17 stakes winners this season of 23 races and won’t go home empty-handed as they are close to R3 million clear of nearest rivals the Hollywood Syndicate in the Owners Championship.
Warren Kennedy and Rachel Venniker have wrapped up the National Jockeys and Apprentice Championships respectively.
Sam Mosia is the Champion Workrider.
Paul Peter is more than R2,5 million clear of Justin Snaith in the Trainers Championship and can’t be caught.