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Picture: Munchkin (JC Photos).

The trainer’s three-year-old is on an upward curve and can win the sixth race at the Vaal on Thursday


David Mollett (Business Day)


Trainer Lucky Houdalakis can only pray he finds another superstar like JJ The Jet Plane, but his three-year-old, Munchkin, is on an upward curve and can win the sixth race at the Vaal on Thursday.

JJ The Jet Plane won 15 races in four countries with his most notable success coming in the grade 1 Hong Kong Sprint in 2010.

He cost just R70,000 as a yearling while owner David Shawe had to go to R500,000 to purchase Munchkin from the Wilgerbosdrift/Mauritzfontein operation.

It might still be money well spent as Munchkin was mighty impressive as he raced to his maiden win at Turffontein last month.

The Rafeef colt was a 3-10 chance that day but his odds for Thursday’s race are a lot more attractive at 17-10. This is due to the fact that his opposition includes Sean Tarry’s three-year-old, Golden Prospect.

A R50,000 buy from Klawervlei Stud, Golden Prospect won his first start in April in fine style and then found the company too hot in two juvenile feature events.

The son of Pomodoro has been gelded and — back in calmer waters — should go well with Rachel Venniker claiming her 1.5kg allowance.

Golden Prospect’s stablemate, Twice The Storm, also comes into the equation with Calvin Habib seeming to prefer the two-time winner to Venniker’s mount.

The progeny of Trippi have been making hay this year and his daughter, Sound Of Warning, will be chasing a fourth career win when she takes on just five rivals in the second race.

With a merit-rating of 112, Sound Of Warning looks well treated in this 1,450m contest though her unplaced run in last month’s Merchants Handicap is a concern.

Sprinkles was bought by owner Laurence Wernars at the Paul Peter dispersal sale and last season’s Fillies Guineas runner-up makes her debut for Johan Janse van Vuuren’s stable.

Hennie Greyling, booked for three rides for Van Vuuren, will be delighted to be partnering such a well-performing filly and the market will be the best guide to her chance.

Homely Girl and Shivers also do duty for the stable in this Progress Plate with apprentice Siyanda Sosibo claiming his 4kg allowance on the first-named.
Sosibo’s claim will also help his fifth race mount, Flag Bearer, whom he piloted to a two-lengths win at Turffontein 10 days ago. Though the four-year-old should make a bold bid for another win, preference is for Roy Magner’s runner, Apache Fighter, who ran well on her handicap debut when second behind San Quintin.
Player, co-owned by golf legend Gary Player, will bid to complete a hat-trick when he lines up against seven opponents in the final leg of the jackpot.
A superb ride by Keagan De Melo got Player home on his most recent outing but this season’s leading jockey isn’t riding at the meeting and Habib is entrusted with the mount for the first time.
Luthului is better off at the weights with Player this time and may prove the main threat with S’manga Khumalo’s mount, Wondering Star.


1st race: (3) Prime Example (2) Top Sail (7) Sassy (6) Ballycotton

2nd race: (6) Sound Of Warning (1) Sprinkles (3) Homely Girl (4) Hollywoodbound
3rd race: (7) Bee In My Bonnet (1) Island Beauty (5) Sky Velocity (4) Efficient Trader

4th race: (1) Robert Burns (5) Bowl First (7) Pembroke (8) Silvano’s Song

5th race: (7) Apache Fighter (1) Flag Bearer (3) Cape Bouquet (2) Liverpool Legend
6th race: (5) Munchkin (3) Golden Prospect (1) Twice The Storm (4) Ridgerunner

7th race: (6) Stunning Kitten (4) Cerulean Dancer (1) Dark Travel (9) Coffeeberry

8th race: (2) Player (8) Luthuli (1) Wondering Star (5) Lidl Miss Sunshine
9th race: (10) Billy Spellbound (9) Southern Blaze (4) Twin Turbo (5) Eye Of The Prophet