BOOKMAKERS cannot be accused of recklessness when it comes to the Grade 1 South African Derby at Turffontein on Saturday, writes Mike Moon of TAB News.

Chalking up ante-post prices for the 2450m classic at the weekend, the pencil men offered a mingy 1-6 about Hawwaam – the new boom horse on the local scene.

Hawwaam was certainly impressive in winning the SA Classic at the city course a month ago, but is untested over this marathon distance.

The Mike de Kock-trained three-year-old son of Silvano makes his sixth start, having posted four victories and a second. That solitary defeat came in the Gauteng Guineas, when he had a wide draw and a less than ideal passage and could not make up lost ground on a flying National Park.

Next on the Derby betting board is Sean Tarry-trained Zillzal, who has also contested the first two legs of the Triple Crown series – rather less impressively than Hawwaam. He is offered at 7-1.

Punters can pretty much name their price for the rest of the runners, with possibly some decent 28-1 value about De Kock-trained Alyaasaat and Tyrone Zackey’s Gift For The Gap, upset winner of the Derby Trial.

Another precocious De Kock-trained horse, Soqrat, is out on his own at 19-20 at the top of the betting for the meeting’s companion feature, the HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m.

This three-year-old imported son of Epaulette is on track to claim a third Grade 1 trophy following victories in the Thekwini Stakes and the Cape Guineas. The latter success was particularly impressive and it was a major shock when Soqrat was only able to get third place as an odds-on favourite in the recent Hawaii Stakes.

Punters with a modicum of memory will see 4-1 about Legal Eagle as rather tempting. One of the country’s greatest-ever milers, this seven-year-old champion has won this very race three times – not to mention hat-tricks in the Green Point Stakes and Queen’s Plate as well.

Trainer Tarry has warned that he is not one of those who believe Legal Eagle is washed up.

Also quoted at 4-1 is Soqrat’s stable mate Cascapedia, who can beat most horses on her day, while Summer Cup victor Tilbury Fort is a distant 8-1.

Grade 1 SA Derby, 2450m, R2 million:

1-6 Hawwaam
7-1 Zillzal
18-1 Atyaab
28-1 Alyaasaat, Gift For The Gap
35-1 and upwards the others

Grade 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes, 1600m, R1 million:

19-20 Soqrat
4-1 Cascapedia, Legal Eagle
8-1 Tilbury Fort
13-1 Zouaves
18-1 Cirillo
28-1 and upwards the others

Grade 2 Wilgerbosdrift SA Oaks, 2450m, R1 million:

19-10 Blossom
5-2 Return Path
9-2 Storm Destiny
9-1 Second Request
14-1 Bize
16-1 Seville Orange
18-1 and upwards the others

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