The conditions of the big race state:
The winners of the following Grade 1 races in the current season will qualify automatically save that, where appropriate, Gold Circle reserves the right to request a public gallop to determine the well-being / fitness in the event that any of these winners have not raced within three months of the date of final declaration (given the timing of these races, this would practically speaking only apply to winners of Events 1; 2 & 3):-
1. The L’Ormarins Queens Plate
2. World Sports Betting Cape Town Met
3. Jonsson Workwear Cape Derby
4. World Sports Betting SA Classic
5. Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic
6. World Sports Betting SA Derby
7. Premier’s Champions Challenge
8. Daily News 2000
9. Woolavington 2000
10. Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge
Winners of the following races in the current season will enjoy preferential consideration for inclusion in the final field:-
1. World Sports Betting Gauteng Summer Cup (Gr 1)
2. World Sports Betting 1900 (Gr 2)
3. Cup Trial (Gr 3)
Almost half of the log places have been taken by winners of those races above which have been completed.
In position one is Queen’s Plate winner Jet Dark.
In position two is Met winner Kommetdieding.
In position three is Champions Challenge winner Astrix.
In position four is Cape Derby winner Pomp And Power.
In position five is SA Fillies Classic winner and Triple Tiara heroine Rain In Holland.
In position six is SA Classic winner Red Saxon.
In position seven is SA Derby winner Aragosta.
In position eight is WSB 1900 and dual Durban July winner Do It Again.
In position 12 is Summer Cup winner Flying Carpet
In position nine is Linebacker, the first non-winner of any of these races but he was runner up in the Queen’s Plate and finished third in the Met,
In position ten is Double Superlative, who won the prestigious Grade 1 Cape Guineas and finished fourth in the Met and third in the Cape Derby.
In position eleven is Belgarion, who finished sixth out of seven in his only race this season, a Hybrid Stakes race over 1600m two weeks ago. However, his status as both a July winner and the joint highest merit rated horse in the country must has counted in his favour.
In position thirteen is Puerto Manzano, who was second in the Grade 1 wfa Wilgerbosdrift HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m and third in the Champions Challenge.
In position fourteen is Grade 2 Glorious Goodwood Premier Trophy winner Hoedspruit, who was unplaced in the Met.
In position fifteen is Zapatillas, winner of the Grade 2 WSB Guineas, fourth in the Cape Guineas and a close third in the Grade 3 Politician Stakes over 1800m.
In position sixteen is Grade 2 WSB Gauteng Guineas winner and SA Classic runner up Safe Passage.
In position seventeen is Grade 2 New Turf Western Cape Stayers winner Sparkling Water, who was runner up in the Champions Challenge.
In position eighteen is Grade 2 Colorado King Stakes winner Second Base.
In position nineteen is the narrow Grade 1 Cartier Paddock Stakes third-placed Marina.
To digress, it is somewhat surprising the Paddock Stakes winner does not gain automatic entry as it is likely the premier Grade 1 wfa middle distance fillies and mares race in the country.
In 20th place is WSB R10 000 1st Deposit Match Caradoc Gold Cup and Grade 3 Citizen Gold Bowl winner Nebraas.
The six horses looking in are:
Al Muthana, who has some good form but has to prove he stays;
Bingwa, who won the Grade 2 Allied-Steelrode Onamission Mile well but has not shone since;
Firealley, who won the Grade 2 Peninsula Handicap over 1800m;
Russian Rock, who still has to prove he stays;
Sovereign Spirit, who was sixth last year and a close fourth in the Premier Trophy;
Zillzaal, a former Summer Cup winner who won the Listed Drum Star Handicap over 1800m this season and finished a close second in the Colorado King.
Sprinkles is probably the unluckiest one to not appear considering she finished second to Rain Holland in both the Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas and the SA Fillies Classic, although she has blotted her copybook a touch in her last two starts.
She can put her hand up in the Grade 1 Wooloavington 2000.
Senso Unico caught the eye running on in the WSB Guineas and will be looking for a big run in the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 to force his way on to the log. If he fails there he will still have the Cup Trial as an option.
The talented Waterberry Lane will have to prove he stays in either of those races.
Warrior is well regarded and the Cup Trial might be his best chance of showing his worth.
Chollima won the East Cape Derby in fine style and can also try and force his way in with a good run in the Cup Trial.
Picture: Jet Dark (Wayne Marks)