The KZN winter’s Champions Season coincides with the height of the British Flat season and with the Triple Crown season in the USA, whilst some jurisdictions have top class racing all year round, so there is a full program of top class racing for South African fans to enjoy this weekend.
The local highlight is today’s Grade 2 World Sports Betting 1900 and the big question is whether twice Hollywoodbets Durban July-winner Do It Again (Twice Over) can make it a fourth winning start to a Champions Season in his fifth campaign.
The other question is whether the Gareth van Zyl-trained She’s A Keeper (Gimmethegreenlight) can get back to winning ways in the supporting feature, the Listed KRA East Coast Cup.
There is one other stakes race in SA on the weekend, the Listed Syringa Handicap for fillies and mares at Turffontein Inside tomorrow. High-flying Keagan de Melo could land another stakes win here aboard the Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained Homely Girl (Querari).
Overseas the highlight is undoubtedly the reappearance of one of the best horses in the world at present, the unbeaten Baaeed (Sea The Stars). This William Haggas-trained four-year-old colt closed last season by winning the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp over a mile and then the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile on Champions Day at Ascot.
Today, Baaeed runs in the Group 1 Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury over a mile at 16h20 South African time.
Today at Morphettville in Australia two South Africans, Callan Murray and Barend Vorster, have mounts in the Group 1 Thomas Farms South Australia Derby. at 11h52 SA time.
In Hong Kong tomorrow high-flying SA Champion jockey Lyle Hewitson has eight rides for the third successive meeting.
The Group 3 Peter Pan Stakes, a major pointer race to the last leg of the Triple Crown, the Group 1 Belmont Stakes, will be run today at Belmont Park in the USA.
Tomorrow the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) takes place at Longchamp. and all eyes will be on the impressive Dubawi colt Modern Games.
The Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches is also being run (French 1000 Guineas) and James Doyle will try and do the double on the English 1000 Guineas winner Cachet (Aclaim).
Doyle, who did the English 2000 and 1000 Guineas double, also has a good ride in the French 2000 Guineas on Scherzo (Wootton Basset).
Meanwhile, the rags to riches Kentucky Derby hero Rich Strike shocked the world for the second time in a few days when it was announced he would not run in The Preakness, so there will not be a Triple Crown winner this year.
Picture: Baaeed (Getty)
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