‘Bling set to shine on Purple Pitcher

S'manga Khumalo (Photo by Candiese Lenferna)

Highveld Champion Stayer, Purple Pitcher, is the star attraction on Sunday when he puts the finishing touches to his Hollywoodbets Durban July preparations in the Grade 3 Jubilee Stakes over 1800m on Turffontein’s Standside track.

This son of New Predator has been a revelation since joining trainer Robyn Klaasen’s stable. He has won seven of his eight outings for the yard, including both course-and-distance appearances, with one of those track-and-trip successes achieved in the Grade 1 SA Classic.

However, all seven of Purple Pitcher’s career victories have come under Kabelo Matsunyane who is committed to riding last year’s winner Winchester Mansion for Brett Crawford in the Saturday 6 July showpiece over 2200m at Hollywoodbets Greyville.

This has presented an ideal opportunity for S’manga ‘Bling’ Khumalo to add to his tally in Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event.

Khumalo first won the Durban July in 2013 aboard Heavy Metal for Sean Tarry and waited nine years for his next July success on Mike de Kock-trained Sparkling Water who ran on out an impressive winner of the 2022 edition.

In Purple Pitcher, Khumalo has picked up a plum big-race ride with the pair likely to cement their place in the final field with victory in Race 7 on Sunday’s eight-race card.

Klaasen’s charge has to concede weight to best-weighted rivals None Other and Perfect Witness but is good value to give weight and a beating to his female opposition.

Crawford-trained Western Cape raider Pomodoro’s Jet is Matsunyane’s ride in the race and this late-maturing five-year-old son of former July winner Pomodoro could emerge as the biggest danger to Purple Pitcher.

Earlier on the card, Tony Peter and Calvin Habib will likely enjoy a feature-race double at the meeting. Gimmethegreenlight filly VJ’s Angel impressed when running out a wide-margin winner of her last start over 1400m and she returns to the scene of that victory in Race 5 for the Highveld Winter Juvenile Fillies Stakes.

Miss Scaletta and World Of Alice, both of whom won over 1600m last time out, will be competitive but are likely to fill the Exacta and Trifecta berths with VJ’s Angel expected to be too quick in the finish for those rivals.

In Race 6, Just As Well gelding Judgement Day could extend his winning run if overcoming the widest starting stall in the Egoli Mile.

This three-year-old grey has thrived since fitted with blinkers, winning three of four starts in the headgear. Habib completed a hat-trick of wins aboard Judgement Day with back-to-back 1800m victories on the Inside track but a return to the mile should hold no fears for the progressive sophomore who won his only course-and-distance appearance.

If Purple Pitcher, VJ’s Angel and Judgement Day are to preserve their unbeaten course-and-distance records, then including them in a TAB Pick 3 from Races 5 to 7 should pay handsome dividends.

Clive Robinson

Author: Melissa