Pierre Jourdan will take his second step on Saturday 27 April in his attempt to write his name indelibly into the record books of South African horseracing when he lines up for the R2-million SA Classic, the second leg of the SASCOC Triple Crown.
Victory here would see him need to win the SA Derby over 2450m at Turffontein on April 25 to become only the second horse in South Africa, the other being Horse Chestnut, to capture the Triple Crown. It would also earn him a R2-million bonus. Standing in his path are four runners from Mike de Kock’s yard. De Kock has included Gauteng Guineas runner-up Havasha, as well as three new competitors in Ancestral Fore, Irish Flame and Happy Valley.
Ancestral Fore and Irish Flame are newcomers to the yard and have both moved up from Cape Town. Both have big reputations and must be huge contenders. Happy Valley has two wins from two starts and although the grey beat little of note, he could not have been more impressive when winning at Clairwood last weekend. Another newcomer to the scene is Orbison, who is from the KwaZulu-Natal-based yard of Herman Brown.
He has won three of his five starts in fine style and is highly regarded by the stable. The R1-million SA Fillies Classic, the second leg of the Triple Tiara, is also dominated by De Kock runners. He sends out six of the 16 runners and one of them is likely to walk off with first prize. Fisani won the Fillies Guineas and she will be looking to score a quick double and be in line to capture the Triple Tiara.
The third Grade 1 race on the day is the HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m, and this has attracted a potent field with a number of runners in line to claim the lion’s share of the R1-million stake money. De Kock sends out 2008 Summer Cup winner Rudra, Braggadacio, and J&B Met runner-up Mother Russia, who looks the pick of the trio.
Champion trainer Charles Laird has brought out the best of his stable to challenge De Kock and he runs Oracy, Smart Banker, Dan De Lago, Imperial Gesture and Eight Street. To add to the interest Sean Tarry has Buy And Sell in the race, and he should be ideally suited to this 1600m on the standside track.