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Summerveld trainer Mike Miller, known for his excellence with two-year-olds, has a number of promising youngsters this season who are being aimed at features and there look to be one or two hitherto unraced ones who will also put up their hands.

Rulership (William Longsword) had looked the outright winner over 1000m at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on debut on February 13 but was green and hesitated close to home so in the end had to share after being caught by the Wendy Whitehead-trained Sundance Kid (Master Of My Fate).  

A week later Return To Russia (Pomodoro) won in good style by 1,40 lengths  on debut over the Hollywoodbets Scottsville 1200m. 

The yard recently took both Rulership and Return To Russia for a gallop on the Hollywoodbets Greyville poly chiefly to show them the course.

There reasoning was twofold and could well have been a shrewd move.

Return To Russia’s long-term goals are Hollywoodbets Greyville races, but the yard are also mindful that scheduled Hollywoodbets Scottsville races could be subject to weather-induced venue changes so it might well pay if Rulership has seen Greyville.  

Mike’s assistant trainer and son Sterling said at the time of Return To Russia’s win, “He was certainly not tuned up for his debut and had never had any grass gallops, so he did surprise us. It was very impressive.”

Furthermore, Pomodoro is turning out to be a good producer of two-year-old feature performers.

Sterling said today, “Return To Russia has come on nicely since his win. He will possibly go for a winner’s race over 1200m next but his main goals are the Gatecrasher Stakes (Listed 1400m event on June 11) and the Durban Golden Horseshoe (Hollywoodbets July day Grade 2 over 1400m).”

He continued, “Rulership has improved a helluva lot. His work has been extremely promising. Let’s just hope everything goes his way. He is being aimed at the Godolphin Barb (Grade 3 race over 1100m at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on May 1) and all going well he will go for the Gold Medallion (Grade 1 over 1200m at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on June 4). We will then likely put him away until his three-year-old season because he is a very, very smart horse.”

Mike aims to win the first juvenile race every season and usually achieves it.

This season was no different and they won the 1000m event at Hollywoodbets Greyville with Royal Sovereign (Querari).

Sterling said, “Royal Sovereign has been gelded  and has taken it well and improved. His main aim will be the Gatecrasher Stakes.”

He continued, “From the fillies point of view Sabbatini (What A Winter) won her last start well and she’s come on a lot. She looks extremely forward as a two-year-old and so I think she will be well suited to the Strelitzia (Grade 3 over 1100m May 1). She’s got pace and she quickens well, so her main goals will be that race and the Allan Robertson (1200m Grade 1 Hollywoodbets Scottsville June 4).”

He added, “A lurker among the fillies is Air Of Mystery (William Longsword). She ran quite a nice race when just needing it last time after winning her maiden first time out. She’s come on quite a lot and could be a dark horse for the season.”

He continued, “Only Hearts (Quaerari), although she is a maiden, has run three seconds. She shows incredible work and she’s been stiff, so she is also one to follow.”

“Woodland Retreat (Pomodoro) is another one who has won and hasn’t been exposed yet. She’s improved and she’s fit and we’re just waiting for a winners race. Obviously the season gets very competitive but we’ll take our chances.”

“We do still have one or two nice babies to step out. We have a filly called Classical  Chord (William Longsword). People should look out for her, she has showed very, very nice work. She is due to run soon and we’ll be excited to see her on the racecourse.”

Among their decent older horses they are going to put Full Blast, October Song and Party Time back in merit rated handicaps until they can notch up more wins before campaigning them in features again. 

Sterling continued, “A lurker for the season is Super Silver. He was supposed to run in the WSB SA Derby and in a prep run he finished fifth, 3,10 lengths behind Zeus at Turffontein. However, he ended up having an abscess and came home. He’s come back in good condition from Johan Janse van Vuuren and we will target some of the long distance races with him.”   

“Area Fifty One (Vercingetorix) is a filly we bought from Justin Snaith and she will be aimed at the Poinsettia (Grade 3 Hollywoodbets Scottsville May 1).” 

Picture: Return To Russia (Candiese Lenferna Photography)