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There is strong Grade 1 form in all three of the feature races at Turffontein on Saturday and it should determine the outcome in all of them.

The Three Troikas Stakes, the Tony Ruffel Stakes, both for three-year-olds over 1400m, and the London News Stakes over 1800m, are all Grade 3 events, and they will start the new year off in style at Turffontein where racing takes place on the Standside track.

The Three Troikas is for three-year-old fillies and contains Rain In Holland, winner of the Grade 1 Thekwini Stakes over 1600m at Greyville in July.

The Sean Tarry-trained filly has had two runs since then, and although not winning either of them, performed well enough in both to indicate she will be in prime conditions for this race.

Her first was in a Pinnacle Stakes where she ran third to superstar War Of Athena and followed that up with a 0.75-length third behind Bold Fortune. She was beaten by older fillies in those races but now she returns to her own age group and that should make the difference.

Interestingly, Supreme Quest finished a 0.25-length third behind Rain In Holland in the Thekwini Stakes and is now 3kg better off so Corne Spies’ runner should be able to turn the tables.

They both suffered interference in a rough race so it will be a question of who has made the bigger improvement since July.

Whatever the fate of Supreme Quest, Spies should find himself in the winner’s enclosure after the running of the Tony Ruffel Stakes in which he saddles William Robertson.

The son of Rafeef looks well above average and has run six times for two wins and four places. Among his runs was a 1.35-length third behind Good Traveller in the Grade 1 Premiers Champion Stakes at Greyville.

While loaded with talent, William Robertson proved to be a tough ride and tended to hang badly. The connections made a wise decision and had him gelded. He has had one positive comeback run when a two-length second behind Winter Smoke over 1160m, a distance short of his best.       

He will come on strongly from that run and will be very hard to beat in this race.

There are a few unknown factors in the field and topping the list is Prince Of Fire who will have the services of Anton Marcus. 

This Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained runner has run five times for four wins and a second. He is maturing nicely but still looked a little “dumb” when winning well last time in his first attempt at 1400m.

The London News Stakes is almost a rerun of the Grade 1 Summer Cup. In fact, the horses who finished second, third, fourth and seventh are among the runners in this line-up. With the exception of Johnny Hero, fourth in the Summer Cup, who is 1kg worse off, the other three meet at the same weight differential.

The drop to 1800m will suit a couple of those specifically so it could be very close between Golden Pheasant, Majestic Mozart and Astrix, while Donald Macdonald, who made a winning debut on the Highveld, has to be in with a chance and needs to be included in all bets.

Jack Milner’s selections

Race 1: 10 Magic Dancer, 1 Naval Guard, 8 Carl Vinson, 2 Count Pablo

Race 2: 3 Pashasha, 4 Twice A Miracle, 5 Run For Isla, 10 Dhanteras

Race 3: 4 Motown Magic, 3 Humble Tune, 7 Kool Baikal, 6 Call Me Master

Race 4: 2 Marchingontogether, 5 Sparkling Water, 8 Smoking Hot, 9 Barak

Race 5: 1 Rain In Holland, 2 Supreme Quest, 6 Sprinkles, 3 Crimson Causeway

Race 6: 2 William Robertson, 3 Prince Of Fire, 8 Perfect Witness, 6 Outofthedarkness

Race 7: 4 Majestic Mozart, 5 Astrix, 7 Donald Mcdonald, 2 Johnny Hero

Race 8: 6 Clafoutis, 3 Only The Brave, 8 Phoenix, 9 Rosaprima

Race 9: 6 Waya Yire, 8 Escape Artist, 2 Flame Flower, 4 Trump My Queen


Race 8 No 6 Clafoutis


Race 9 No 6 Waya Yire


Race 5 1×2 – Jack Milner