While Highveld trainers are warming up for the spring season, we have a few local trainers out to spike their guns in the Gr1 Gauteng Summer Cup.

However, both Donald McDonald and Origami, the only two nominations from KZN, will have to up their game in the next month or so with final declarations in early November.

With merit ratings of 92 and 90 respectively it could be a tall ask for both but the have to start somewhere and could be a valuable pointer for punters. 

Donald McDonald kicks-off on the Hollywoodbets Greyville Poly in the second today, an MR 90 Handicap over 1900m.

Gavin van Zyl has labelled Donald McDonald for the Cup and the gelding has had two promising warm-up runs since a lengthy break.

He just ran out of condition when three lengths off Gentleman’s Wager in his comeback and built on that effort by finishing off nicely behind Midlands Magic. The blinkers are back on and this could be make or break for his chances of making the Cup field.

If he does not run up to expectations then things get tricky with plenty in with chances. Flying Bull has shown up well in two post maiden starts and although he takes on some fair opposition, he has a strong 4kg claimer up and can make things difficult. Run To Denmark is never far off and his consistency has seen his MR stay constant. But he has a handy weight and can feature prominently.

 In the card opener, a Maiden Plate over 1200m, there is not much form to go on but Venerable raced green in a promising debut and the experience should tell in a modest maiden field. Bless Me Fred has been rested but has shown a glimpse of ability and with a 4kg claimer up he is one to watch.

Dennis Drier has been around the block for many decades and knows all about the ups and downs of the sport. The secret is to try and hang in when the wheel is at the bottom of the spin and the wheel has been on the up over the past couple of weeks. He saddles Red Sole in the third, a Maiden over a mile, and he looks primed for this. He was deemed good enough to make the trip to Cape Town for Drier’s summer ‘holiday’ but ran two disappointing races.

Gelded shortly after his return home, Red Sole finally got his mind on the job and has finished runner-up in his last two and the mile should be right up his street.

Royal Monarch could be a threat as he was much improved when tried in blinkers and switched to the poly. Dark horse is Broadway. A big horse with a mind of his own, he has been gelded and has his first run for a new stable. He has shown ability and the gelding could bring out the best in him.

The fourth, a handicap over a mile, Airways Law won in impressively when shedding his maiden at just his second start, coming from off the pace to beat the heavily supported Quizz Master. Andre Nel’s runner takes on more seasoned campaigners here but he is a late starter and should benefit from the experience. Mike Miller sends out Edgartown who has been confined to sprints but his pedigree suggests that he should be more at home over this trip. He showed early ability and this could be his game. Don’t Touch Me has blossomed since joining Duncan Howells but he does have a tricky draw to overcome if he is to make it three on the trot.

The fifth is a difficult handicap with many in with chances. Gallic Chief showed plenty of promise early in his career and has been competing in features. He has been rested by Gareth van Zyl but with a 4kg claimer up he could prove a touch too classy for some older hard-knockers including veterans Di Mazzio who is back over his best course and distance and has dropped in the handicap. With a 4kg claimer up from a good draw has can earn his ninth win. Highveld raider Cold Fact takes on males in her poly debut but comes with solid form over the trip while Coldhardcash is also back over his best course and distance and has his third run after a break.

In the sixth, Big Eyed Girl has not been out of the money in her five starts and makes her poly debut. But she is quick so the surface should suit. Sofia Erin is not the easiest but has plenty of ability. All going well she will be concerned in the finish.

It’s been a long time between drinks for Sniper Shot but he has been dropping in the handicap. He has a plum draw with a strong apprentice up so this looks to be the right race for him to earn his fifth win. In another open race, Socrates was not far back last start and will enjoy the extra while Tread Swiftly has the worst draw but has useful form in smart company. Chatterton’s Keeper, Good Rhythm and Hard To Play are others to consider.

In the last, a filly’s handicap over 1200m, Loving The Victory took on much stronger last outing. Her best form has been on the poly and she should feature prominently. Maidens Prayer has been costly to follow but may have found the right race here.  She goes well on the poly and the drop in trip could suit. Birdwatcher has come good in her new stable and won well enough last start to suggest that she can follow up in what is a modest handicap.

goldcircle.co.za-Andrew Harrison