DENNIS Drier will today be going for his seventh Grade 1 Golden Horse Medallion win since 2010 and his eighth overall and he has a strong coupling this year in Tempting Fate and Pray For Rain, writes DAVID THISELTON.

Later in this Hollywoodbets Festival of Speed meeting he has a chance of winning the Grade 1 Golden Horse Sprint with Cartel Captain. 

Tempting Fate by Master Of My Fate is out of the speedy Drier-trained filly Miss October whose Trippi daughter Spring Break ran a 4,20 length eighth against the boys in last years Medallion before going on to finish a close second in the Umkhomazi Stakes over this same 1200m distance at Hollywoodbets Greyville.

Tempting Fate is unbeaten in two starts and last time out showed good pace and a strong kick to win the Grade 3 Godolphin Barb Stakes over 1100m at Hollywoodbets Scottsville in a time 0,30 seconds quicker than the Strelitzia on the same day. His stablemate Pray For Rain by Soft Falling Rain was a 0,60 length second at level weights after playing up at the start. 

Drier said, “Both came out of that last race superbly and I couldn’t be happier with them going into this race.” 

He put Pray For Rain’s antics at the start down to ring rustiness.

He added, “Tempting Fate is the choice on what they have shown.”

However, he concluded by saying they were two-year-olds so it was difficult to say and they would show what they were made of in the race. 

The pair face a strong field and are priced up as 7/2 second favourite and 16/1 with Track And Ball. The favourite Erik The Red is at 23/10.

Tempting Fate is ridden by stable jockey Sean Veale from draw 12 and Pray For Rain has Ant Mgudlwa up from draw one. 

Cartel Captain has come into his own this season. Drier said he was in a “tough” renewal of the Golden Horse Sprint but on the other hand had a light weight “along with most of the field.” He said he also could not be happier with his preparation. He has Sean Veale up from draw eight. 

Vaughan Marshall has two runners in the Medallion, Joseph Barry and No Laying Up. 

Both have been at Summerveld since March. 

He said Joseph Barry had come on a lot from his third place finish in the Godolphin Barb and he believed he could “definitely” reverse form with Tempting Fate and Pray For Rain. 

He agreed No Laying Up would be suited to Hollywoodbets Scottsville based on his debut win over the tough Kenilworth 1000m when showing good pace and then fending off the horse he became involved in a dual with to win cosily. However, No Laying Up suffered a “hiccup” after arriving at Summerveld and is a “bit behind” Joseph Barry. Nevertheless, Marshall said he had been doing very well and could finish in the frame. 

Joseph Barry has Anton Marcus up from draw eleven and it looks likely that Keagan de Melo will get the ride on No Laying Up, who jumps from draw six. 

Gareth van Zyl has a chance of landing his first Grade 1 in the Allan Robertson with the second favourite Vernichey. He said he had been surprised how green she had been last time when winning the Strelitzia over 1100m at Hollywoodbets Scottsville as he had regarded her as a “forward” filly. He added she had come on a lot from the run but acknowledged that most of the opposition would also have improved. 

Van Zyl mentioned the Ashley Fortune-trained favourite Winter Smoke as the one he had been hearing a lot about.

Warren Kennedy retains the ride on Vernichey who is drawn ten. 

Van Zyl runs the biggest outsider Princekresh in the Medallion. He will have to do a lot to reverse a 4,75 length defeat by Tempting Fate in the Godolphin Barb. Van Zyl said fitting blinkers could help his cause but admitted he would be very happy if he just made the frame. 

Ashley Fortune, meanwhile, said they hoped Winter Smoke proved to be as good as her debut win combined with the favourite tag suggested she was. She added that a number of jockeys who had ridden her had said she had given them the feeling of being “special.”

Afternoon Tea also runs in the Allan Robertson as the Fortunes are mindful that there are only so many chances a horse has of running in a Grade 1 race. Ashley described her as consistent and expected “a nice run”. 

Imvidia. (Gold Circle).
Imvidia. (Gold Circle).

The yard runs Invidia in the Golden Horse Sprint. He is officially 2,5kg under sufferance but this was only because they decided not to take the six points penalty for running second in the Post Merchants, run recently over this same course and distance. He would otherwise be carrying 52,5kg instead of 52kg. He is thus 1kg better off with Post Merchant’s winner Eden Roc for a 0,5 length beating. 

The trainer said Invidia had come on from the Post Merchants, was in a good space and she expected a nice run. 

The first-timer Validus runs in the Golden Horse Medallion and throwing him into the deep end here was forced upon the connections by the interruption to horses’ programs lockdown had brought. However, Ashley said this Dynasty colt was definitely of “the quality” to take a chance with in this field. 

SEAN Tarry has a powerful string for the Festival Of Speed including five runners in the Grade 1 Golden Horse Sprint over 1200m.

Chimichuri Run, the defending champion, ran a 1,25 length third last Saturday in the Grade 1 Computaform Sprint over 1000m at Turffontein. Tarry said, “He has come out of the run well enough. It is not ideal being backed up but it’s a long time until the Mercury Sprint so why not. The 1000m in the fast winter going at Turffontein was definitely too sharp for him last weekend.”

Ikigai (JC Photos).
Ikigai (JC Photos).

Ikigai’s program has been affected by COVID-19 otherwise he might have taken part in either the WSB Guineas and Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge, or both. Tarry thus thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of this race where he gets weight, instead of running on weight for age terms, and the fact he had not raced for a while would make the 1200m distance suitable for a fresh start. He added, “He is well and has a lot of speed.”

Tarry said last year’s Gold Medallion winner Eden Roc was a different horse this season as he had strengthened a lot and he was now a 1200m to 1400m type. He added, “He is in top shape.”

Warrior’s Rest is known for his courage and resolute galloping style and Tarry said, “His run was pretty good last time (1,90 length fourth in the Post Merchants over course and distance). He comes in with a low weight and is also in top shape.” He carried 52,5kg and will be ridden by Callan Murray.

Tarry said about Wonderwall, “He is a kilogram-and-a-half under sufferance and would probably prefer the bend, but he has earned his place and has won four out of his last six starts.”

Tarry runs another defending champion, Celtic Sea, in the SA Fillies Sprint brought to you by The Witness. He said, “She has had a good prep and is doing well.”

The yard are expecting her to be right there in her bid to retain her title despite being second favourite behind Run Fox Run.

Gavin Lerena has ridden her all season and stays aboard.

In the Grade 1 Allan Robertson Tarry runs Ecstatic Green and Dubawi Princess.

He said, “Ecstatic Green comes from the strong Springs Of Carmel formline. She won very well last time and is a filly who seems to be improving.”

He continued, “Dubawi Princess will step up big time over this tough 1200m and will go even further, although this is a tougher race than she has experienced to date.”

He concluded by saying the pair were “very close” and he did not want to attempt to separate them.

Hewitson is aboard Ecstatic Green and Grant van Niekerk rides Dubawi Princess.

Tarry runs the filly Slalom Queen in the Grade 1 Golden Horse Medallion and said, “The outside draws could turn out to be disadvantageous so it made no sense to run three horses in the fillies race all from outside draws so I’ve put her in here (where she has a low draw of four).”

Slalom Queen ran a head second to Mount Pleasant at Turffontein over 1100m when giving him 0,5kg and the latter then came out and won the Grade 2 SA Nursery. 

Slalom Queen subsequently ran a 1,10 length second in the Grade 3 Strelitzia Stakes over 1100m, which gave her valuable experience of Hollywoodbets Scottsville. 

However, Tarry cautioned, “She is a speedy filly and the Scottsville 1200m might be a bit tough for her.” Hewitson is aboard. 

Tarry runs Tilbury Fort in the Grade 3 Cup Trial over 1750m.

He comes off a 13,25 length sixth in the Grade 1 Premier’s Champions Challenge over 2000m at Turffontein.

Tarry said, “He is fine, he has a tough task at the weights but I expect him to improve from that last run and he has quite a good record with Lyle. We can’t be bullish but I think he will run well.”  – Gold Circle.