Skip to main content

Graceland’s stay and play package has a beautiful setting and top class accomodation and golf course (Picture: Emperor’s Palace) 

Choose one of the five rides below as the Emperor’s Palace Ride Of The Month and email your vote to and you can win the below fantastic prize:

1 x Night stay at Graceland for 2 including breakfast
1 x round of golf for 2
1 x Dinner Voucher



Nominees for Emperor’s Palace Ride Of The Month:


1. Kabelo Matsunyane on the Robyn Klaasen-trained Purple Pitcher Turffontein Standside 1400m 02/03/2024

It is tough to carve out a substantial lead and still hold on on the testing Turffontein Standside track, especially in a Gr 1 race. However, when Kabelo Matsunyane found himself in front on the Robyn Klaasen-trained New Predator colt Purple Pitcher it wasn’t part of the original plan, but he did not mind because he had won from the front on this horse over course and distance before and also knew that this horse was a galloping type characterised by his ability to find extra in the pressure of the finish. He duly kept on rolling despite strong challengers from the market leaders and recorded a first Gr 1 win for both Klaasen and owner Stincky Pooe.



2: Richard Fourie on the Vaughan Marshall-trained Sahara Cat Hollywoodbets Kenilworth 1000m 05/03/2024

The champion jockey elect had a lot riding on him in this race as the One World filly jumped at odds of 36/10. She broke well from draw three and assumed command. However, in the latter stages the Var first-timer filly Tanneron produced a strong finish and collared Sahara Cat. It looked all over for favourite backers. However, Fourie kept on working at Sahara Cat and somehow produced extra from a beaten looking horse. She had not only been overtaken, but had about a length to make up with about 75m to go. He managed to get her head down on the line to win it by the shortest of shortheads.



3. JP van der Merwe on the Piet Botha-trained Tyrion Lannister over 1400m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on 09/03/2024

The whip can be useful, but is often detrimental and JP van der Merwe proved that on this Royal Mo colt. He started at odds of 11/2 in the six horse field Newlands Stakes and carrying just 51.5kg set the pace from draw three. He duly looked likely to be swamped by the principles at the 400m mark. However, Van der Merwe crouched low in the saddle and coaxed his mount to keep going. He only drew the stick after he had gained enough momentum to have a chance and they were just backhander reminders and included a deft change of whip hand with just over 100m to go. When the horse started hanging in the latter stages he wisely put the whip away. Just six rhythmical backhanders were used in all to get the horse to fight back and win by 0,75 lengths.



4. Marco van Rensburg on the Mike de Kock-trained Marauding Horde in the Listed TAB Hawwaam Stakes over 2000m at Turffontein Standside o n 09/03/2024.

The stoutly bred colt by Vercongetorix started at odds of 33/10 after impressing in three runs in the maidens, but the concern was he was stepping up to 2000m with first time blinkers on from a wide draw. However, Van Rensburg left him alone jumping out and managed to rein him back in to last place, where he had plenty of cover and settled well. He switched out from the rail and got on to the one wide train coming up the hill. This enabled him to get a clear run on the outside of horses in the straight. The reason De Kock had fitted the blinkers then became evident as Marauding Horde went through the gears in classy style, concentrating all the way,  and powered to an impressive 4,25 length victory. Van Rensburg had ensured a good experience with the first-time blinkers and the progression with this promising horse will surely continue.



5. Mathew Thackeray on the Mike Miller-trained Narina Trogo in the Listed King’s Cup over 1600m at Hollywoodbets Greyville on 24/03/2024.

Mathew Thackeray does not get many chances and has in fact only had six wins this whole season in South Africa (plus a few in Zimbabwe), but he took the chance given to him on the decent Narina Trogon with both hands in the King’s Cup. The Silvano gelding started at 10/1 and from draw two Thackeray managed to find the rail and settled him going at a good clip. The horses coming from wide draws had to do some work to get over in front of him. Thackeray sat with a beautiful long rein on the rail behind the vanguard. Diving for the rail as soon as he came off the false rail Narina Trogon duly found plenty. The son of a former Durban darling, Beach Beauty, sped to the front under the hands. Thackeray gave him three left-handed backhanders in the closing stages to ensure he kept his lead and he ran out an easy 2,30 length winner. The favourite Celestial City was drawn in pole and finished second, so the early move Thackeray made to secure the rail ahead of him might have been the key to victory as the latter had plenty of traffic to negotiate  in the straight.