Dennis Drier has won six of the last nine renewals of the Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion over 1200m and he has a shout at ending this decade with an incredible seven wins of this prestigious two-year-old event.
He is fielding two livewires in Cartel Captain and Master Of Illusion tomorrow at Scottsville.
Drier also won the race way back in 1990.
The Gold Medallion forms the second leg of Saturday’s Jackpot of Grade 1s at Scottsville’s big Festival Of Speed meeting.
The jackpot features a R100,000 carryover with the final pool expected to top R500,000 and possibly reach R1 million – so the option of a banker will be good news to punters.
Master Of Illusion won on debut over 1200m at Greyville and followed up by finishing a short-head second in the Grade 3 Godolphin Barb Stakes over 1100m at Greyville on 3 May.
This gelding is by a Drier-trained horse, Master Of My Fate, whose racing career was cut short by injury before he was able to fulfil his huge potential. Master Of Illusion is out of Captain Al mare Victorian Secret and is thus from the family of the like of All Is Secret and The Secret Is Out, who both won the Grade 1 Allan Robertson Championship at the Festival Of Speed meeting.
Drier’s assistant trainer Stuart Ferrie said it was hard to call between the pair. He said on pure ability he would probably side with Cartel Captain and this colt’s work had also been very good at home. However, he added Master Of Illusion had more experience, which counted for a lot at this age.
Leading the Johannesburg raiders is Frosted Gold, priced up as the 5-2 favourite. This New Zealand-bred won the Grade 2 SA Nursery.
He has all the credentials of a horse who will enjoy Scottsville – enough pace to stay in touch as they hurtle down the hill in the early part and a resolute gallop for the tough climb to the finish line from the 500m mark onward. And he has the advantage of Anton Marcus aboard.
It will no doubt be a humdinger of a race – possibly the day’s classiest event.
While the four Grade 1 sprints will rightly garner most of the attention at Scottsville on Saturday, the best betting opportunities are to be had in less glamourous surroundings, writes Ken Nicol.
Chief among those is Stage Dance in Race 1, a Juvenile Plate for fillies over 1600m.
Mike de Kock’s charge made good improvement second time out a few weeks ago to score from off the pace over this trip at the Vaal, beating a reasonable looking maiden field.
He now meets a formless looking bunch, apart from fellow Gauteng raider, and the only previous winner, Shivers.
But Stage Dance finished a couple of lengths ahead of that one when both made their debut behind Rio’s Winter, and is strongly fancied to do so again.
Otherwise, there are a few Eachway selections which appeal.
First of these is Mighty High in Race 7, the Grade 1 SA Fillies Sprint. This Pathfork filly has had a pleasing prep for this race, and won the Allan Robertson Championship the only previous time she visited Scottsville, exactly a year ago.
In Race 9, Before Noon looks a lively threat. This Sean Tarry-trained gelding looks certain to put in a spirited challenge in this limited MR 66 Handicap line-up at what should be reasonable odds. – Gold Circle