ANTE-post betting suggests that Sean Tarry and Mike de Kock’s six runners will dominate Saturday’s Gr1 SA Classic at Turffontein, but Gary Alexander’s charge Unagi is a 25-1 chance that comes into play on best form and could boost the Quartet dividend in a small field.

Alexander’s string is in good winning form, having taken last Saturday’s Gr2 Senor Santa Sprint with Champagne Haze and several other features this season, including the Joburg Spring Challenge, the Drum Star Handicap and the Java Handicap, in which he and Craig Zackey combined to win with The Elmo Effect.

Zackey will hold Unagi’s reins in Andrew Fortune’s absence and with a bit of class on his side – a four-time winner from 13 starts – the gelding by Admire Main has the ability to trouble the favourites.

Assistant trainer Dean Alexander commented: “On form it looks like we’re running for places, we’re not going into the race expecting to win, but Unagi’s preparation has gone very well and he has a definite place chance. The stake is good, so we’d be delighted with a place for his owners.”

Three of Unagi’s wins were recorded on the inside track, but Alexander noted: “He’s got no problems with the outside track and 1800m should suit him, he’s a stronger horse now than when he failed over 1800m last year.

“Another aspect in Unagi’s favour is that he quickens well and runs on. He came from a desperate draw in the Ready To Run Cup to finish fourth to Chile Con Carne.  It all depends on the pace of the race.”

Betting World’s latest betting:

SA Classic: 1-1 Al Sahem; 18-10 Heavenly Blue; 5-1 Janoobi; 10-1 Tilbury Fort; 12-1 Furiosa; 25-1 Alaadel, Unagi, Crowd Pleaser, Kampala Campari.

Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic: 12-10 Smiling Blue Eyes; 5-1 Orchid Island; 7-1 Safe Harbour; 15-2 Al Hawraa; 17-2 Captain Gambler; 10-1 Bi-Pot, 12-1 Babbling Brooke, 16-1 Belle Rose;  25-1Maleficent, Being Fabulous, 33-1 Oriental Oak, Philae, 40-1 My Friend Lee.


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