South Africa: Abashiri odds-on to secure Triple Crown

Preview: South Africa Saturday 3.25pm BST

Turffontein: South African Derby (Grade 1) 1m4f, turf, 3-y-o

ABASHIRI (Mike Azzie/Karl Zechner) is almost unbackable – he is as short as 2-11 locally – to become only the second horse to land the South African Triple Crown since the legendary Horse Chestnut 17 years ago. He comfortably won the Gauteng Guineas and followed up in the nine furlong SA Classic here four weeks ago despite having a serious setback three weeks before the race.

Azzie said: “He stood on his coronet band and ripped his hoof to pieces – it was almost like a quarter crack all the way down – and for him to win like he did with the preparation he had was no mean feat.”

This is an extra three furlongs but on pedigree he should get it – his sire Go Deputy won an American Grade 1 over this trip – and Azzie said: “We have always maintained that the further they go the better it will be for him.”

Samurai Blade (Sean Tarry/S’Manga Khumalo) was beaten four and a half lengths into third in the SA Classic and is second favourite but there seems no logical reason why he should turn the tables.

Mike de Kock, who trained Horse Chestnut, has won this three times since and is two-handed with Jubilee Line (Anton Marcus) and Kinaan (Anthony Delpech). He is expecting a big run from Jubilee Line.

Also on Saturday

Turffontein: SA Nursery (Grade 1) 6f, turf, 2-y-o  12.45pm BST

Despite the race’s name it is not a handicap but a conditions race and it would appear to be dominated by the filly Cloth Of Cloud (Sean Tarry/ S’Manga Khumalo). She is unbeaten in two starts and is part-owned by Linda Shanahan and Diane Nagle. However she is extremely temperamental and slammed on the brakes as she reached the line when winning a Grade 3 here four weeks ago. She pulled herself up in three strides.

She is odds-on and probably has most to fear from course winners Janoobi (Mike de Kock/Weichong Marwing) and Rightful King (Sean Tarry/Anton Marcus).

Turffontein: World Sports Betting Computaform Sprint (Grade 1) 5f, turf, 3-y-o+  12.45pm BST

Carry On Alice (Sean Tarry/S’Manga Khumalo) is hot favourite to go one better than last year when she was second to Alboran Sea.

Barbosa (Dennis Drier/Ian Sturgeon) has some smart form but has not raced for three months while last year’s fourth Trip Tease (Louis Goosen/Gunter Wrogemann) comes from a yard that has a virus at the moment. Tar Heel (Joey Ramsden/Andrew Fortune) is the only three-year-old in the race but has shown plenty of speed.

Turffontein: Premier’s Champions Challenge (Grade 1) 1m2f, turf, 3-y-o+ 4.05pm BST

This looks at the mercy of Legal Eagle (Sean Tarry/Anton Marcus) who was second in the J B Met over this trip and over a mile here four weeks ago comfortably beat Captain America (Brett Crawford/Corne Orffer) who was also behind him in the Met.

However Crawford said: “Captain America is doing very well and what I like is that both times Legal Eagle beat him my horse was the only one coming back at him at the end.”

Inara (Mike Bass/Grant van Niekerk) travelled from Durban to win the Empress Club Stakes over a mile here a fortnight ago and makes the same six hour trip. However she has more on her plate here.

Candice Robinson, Bass’s assistant said: “She will have come on from her last run but it’s not going to be easy taking on the colts and going over ten furlongs.”


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