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Cousin Casey’s last win was in the Gr 2 Punters Cup, which will be run at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Sunday, meaning he has gone winless for a year (Picture: Wayne Marks)

The Citizen’s racing correspondent Mike Moon gives his views on Johannesburg’s premier race.

Mike Moon (The Citizen)

Bookmakers laying 5-1 the field in a race notorious for upsets

The bookmaker betting tells the story of prospects for the 2023 Grade 1 Betway Summer Cup at Turffontein on Saturday. It is 5-1 the field, with more than half the lineup at 20-1 and under. That means the race is very competitive at the sharp end but lacking quality in depth.

Hollywoodbets Durban July champion Winchester Mansion is the ruling favourite, having run once since his great day at Greyville, finishing a close-up fourth in the Charity Mile at Turffontein.

The five-year-old is trained by Cape Town’s Brett Crawford but has been resident on the Highveld since being gelded earlier this year and has clearly thrived. He carries 5kg more than he did in the July, but he has shown he can lug lead in feature company and, with his partner in glory Kabelo Matsunyane in the irons, must be included in all permutations.

Defending champ Puerto Manzano is “King of the Big T”, having posted all 10 of his wins at the city course.

Coincidentally, no jockey knows this racecourse as well as Gavin Lerena, who steered him to victory in the Charity Mile and does duty again. A wide draw is not the disadvantage it might be for lesser horses as this guy loves hauling them in from off the pace up the long Turffontein run-in. Another must inclusion.

Trainer Sean Tarry is bidding for a sixth Summer Cup trophy with three runners: Cousin Casey, Bless My Stars and Litigation. It’ll be a brave or foolish punter that leaves any of them out.

Atticus Finch from Alec Laird’s stable is another for whom the unkindest cut has worked wonders. Since they were lopped off a year ago, he has gone from one-time winner to serious contender for the main prize in Joburg’s most famous race.

He won four in a row to squeeze into this lineup and, though he has not yet tried this 2000m, the way he rallied to grab honours in the 1800m Victory Moon Handicap three weeks ago suggests he does have the stamina for the job.

Runner-up in the Victory Moon, Electric Gold, also squeaked into the field at the last moment and is yet another who seems to have benefitted from gelding. A light weight of 54kg and a handy draw might be all that the youthful combo of trainer Tony Peter and rider Jason Gates need to spring a surprise.

And the Summer Cup has been full of surprises in recent years.

Clearly punters need to put in as many horses as they can afford for this leg of a predicted R10-million Pick 6.

Luckily, they have two apparent “open goals” and obvious bankers for the popular exotic bet: Main Defender in the Grade 3 Merchants (Race 4, leg 1) and Sandringham Summit in the Grade 2 Dingaans (Race 6, Leg 3).

2 Cousin Casey, 3 Bless My Stars, 13 Atticus Finch, 1 Puerto Manzano

5-1 Winchester Mansion
11-2 Puerto Manzano
13-2 Cousin Casey
7-1 Bless My Stars
8-1 Atticus Finch
16-1 Safe Passage, Billy Bowlegs, Electric Gold, Son Of Raj
18-1 Zeus
20-1 Litigation
25-1 and upwards the others.

Suggested Pick 6 perm:
5 x 1,3,9,10 x 1 x 1,2,3,5,13,17,20 x 1,2,5 x 2,5,7,9,10,14,15 (R588)