Tellina bids to add to Woodruff's Derby tally
Preview: South Africa, Saturday 3.05pm BST
Turffontein: South African Derby (Grade 1) 1m4f (2,450m), turf, 3yo
THIS is South Africa's richest raceday of the year and Tellina (Geoff Woodruff/Robbie Fradd), winner of the SA Guineas and beaten a controversial short head in the SA Classic, is a warm favourite to give the five-time champion trainer his fifth Derby in 13 seasons.
The former Kent-based top point-to-point rider told Tabonline: "Tellina is a compact, high-quality horse who I believe will enjoy the 2,450 metres although only the race will really tell."
Tellina had War Horse (Corne Spies/Fanie Chambers) and American Storm (Spike Lerena/Ian Sturgeon) two and a half lengths behind in the Classic and the betting suggests that he has most to fear from Tequila Sunrise (Mike de Kock/Anton Marcus), who won over a furlong less here in February and has been campaigned at a lower level. De Kock has won two of the last four runnings.
Also on Saturday
Turffontein: SA Nursery (Grade 1) 6f (1,160m), turf, 2yo (12.00pm BST)
This looks at the mercy of Red Ray (Joey Ramsden/Anton Marcus) who has looked in a league of his own when destroying the opposition in his three Cape Town starts and earning rave reviews.
His work has been even more phenomenal and on one notable occasion he gave Grade 1 winner Blueridge Mountain 20 kilos more than weight-for-age and beat her 20 lengths!
Ramsden said: "He's very similar to [Horse of the Year] Variety Club but probably better. I've never seen one like him."
The colt is 1-2 in the ante-post market and course winner Olympic Owen (Corne Spies/Gavin Lerena) at 8-1 is the only other quoted in single figures.
Turffontein: BetXChange Computaform Sprint (Grade 1) 5f, turf, 3yo+ (1.10pm BST)
The rematch between What A Winter (Mike Bass/Bernard Fayd'Herbe) and Via Africa (Duncan Howells/Alec Forbes) has produced more column inches than the other three Grade 1s put together.
In the Cape Flying Championship at Kenilworth in January What A Winter proved three-quarters of a length the better but there is tremendous confidence in the filly's camp.
Howells said: "She has got a lot stronger since the Cape Flying and What A Winter will battle to confirm the form."
Bass commented: "What A Winter is fit and well, and he is a better horse than the last time he was at Turffontein [he was third a year ago]. But I expect Via Africa to be hard to beat and hard to peg back."
Turffontein: President's Champions Challenge (Grade 1) 1m 2f, turf, 3yo+ (2.25pm BST)
Mujaarib (Mike de Kock/Anton Marcus), in the Hamdan Al Maktoum colours, is 3-1 favourite locally to reverse last month's Horse Chestnut Stakes form with Whiteline Fever (Sean Tarry/Bernard Fayd'Herbe) and give the country's champion trainer his second successive win in this race.