Skip to main content
Picture: Humdinger (What A Winter) makes it three on the trot in the Grade 2 Topbet Jo’burg Spring Fillies And Mares Challenge (JC Photos). 

The worry for trainer Gareth van Zyl is whether his five-time winner can overcome a wide draw

David Mollett (Business Day)
The end-of-year fortunes for jockey Ryan Munger and his favourite football team, Arsenal, are similar with the former off to a good start to the new season and the London side enjoying great success in the Premier League.
Munger, educated at Dainfern College, will be delighted to have got the call from Dainfern resident Mike de Kock to partner the filly Humdinger in Saturday’s Allied Steelrode On A Mission Charity Mile at Turffontein.
When the daughter of What A Winter got beaten when favourite in two races in April and May 2021, her owners, the International Racing Club, probably doubted she would ever contest a race with a first prize of R500,000.
However, Humdinger has reeled off three wins in a row including nearly getting the better of William Robertson in the Topbet Mike O’Connor Spring Challenge. The filly was a 33-1 chance for that race but highveld bookmaker Lance Michael reports “three claims” on the De Kock inmate. Yes, the four-year-old is 2kg under sufferance, but she’s got an ideal draw of three which makes life easier for Munger.
No surprise to see De Kock’s star performer Safe Passage — winner of last season’s Daily News 2000 — top the betting boards and this writer chatted to the former champion trainer this week.
“I have gone with Grant van Niekerk, but he’s got no easy task. I don’t want Safe Passage to have a hard race ahead of the Summer Cup, but hope to take this good stake en route to that.”
Sean Tarry’s five-year-old, Pyromaniac, is second favourite in the betting but — like After The Rain — has a wide draw. Still, the gelding arrives in good form and should go well in the hands of Calvin Habib.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that this R2.3m son of Silvano ran second to Safe Passage in last season’s Gauteng Guineas over Saturday’s course and distance.
Quite amazing that De Kock’s quartet of runners have all drawn well with Safe Passage in stall three and MK’s Pride — making his debut for the stable — in stall two.
A bet which makes plenty of appeal is the swinger coupling Humdinger with Gareth van Zyl’s KwaZulu-Natal raider, After The Rain. The striking white horse is 7kg better off with Bingwa and 3.5kg better with Hoedspruit.
But — apart from two road trips to the highveld — the worry for trainer Van Zyl is whether his five-time winner can overcome a wide draw.
Trainer Brett Crawford and Grant Knowles can be forgiven if they uttered an expletive on learning seven-time Irish Tractor had drawn somewhere near the Rand Stadium. Even so, the five-year-old has clearly thrived on the highveld and he warrants inclusion in trifecta and quartet bets.
One of three charities San Michele Home (Safe Passage), Soweto Equestrian Centre (Humdinger) and St Francis Care Centre (After The Rain) are the most likely to be celebrating after the running of one of the racing calendar’s most popular events.
1st Race: (6) Black Egret (12) Munchkin (11) Marquez (16) Sylvan Theater
2nd Race: (10) Efficient Trader (3) Gregarious Gal (4) Splendid Season (9) Back To The Future
3rd Race: (2) Rain In Holland (4) Bon Vivant (1) Under Your Spell (5) Follow Me
4th Race: (9) None Other (2) Feather Boa (3) Captain Peg (6) Gimme A Shot
5th Race: (3) Royal Victory (1) Thunderstruck (4) Unzen (12) Shoemaker
6th Race: (6) Gallic Chief (10) Far Away Winter (1) Sheela (3) Vaseem
7th Race: (12) Humdinger (11) After The Rain (3) Safe Passage (13) Irish Tractor
8th Race: (7) Gilded Butterfly (1) Pink Tourmaline (2) Bold Fortune (9) Southern Song
9th Race: (3) Black Thorn (2) Imperial Ruby (4) Light Of The Moon (6) Marchingontogether
10th Race: (6) Bard Of Avon (10) Back To Black (7) Vanderbilt (9) Another Level
Allied Steelrode Charity Mile
(Betting supplied by Lance Michael)
3-1 Safe Passage
5-1 Pyromaniac
7-1 Humdinger
8-1 MK’s Pride
12-1 Astrix, Irish Tractor
14-1 After The Rain, Forever Mine, Puerto Manzano, Bingwa, Hoedspruit

20-1 Others