Delpech is still lining them up

Anthony Delpech is a shoo-in for the South African National Jockey’s championship and with just a fortnight to run to the end of the current season he is 38 winners ahead of nearest rival Gavin Lerena and is likely to add to his tally at The Vaal on Tuesday.

Being so far ahead in the championship race one could forgive him if he called time on his mid-week trips to the Highveld until at least the start of next season.

Anthony Delpech, picture Liesl King

However, Delpech is also first call jockey to Wilgerbosdrift and Mauritzfontein and will be aboard Dalley for his sponsors and Lucky Houdalakis in the Middle Stakes over 2400m, seventh race on the card. The daughter of Ideal World has developed into a useful stayer and was hardly off the bit when winning over course and distance last time out. She was given a six-pound penalty for the victory but that does not look to be enough given the quality of tomorrow’s field.

Dalley looks head-and-shoulders above the opposition, the only possible danger being top weight Bandola. Weiho Marwing has a way with staying horses and although Bandola has only won a work riders maiden she will improve on her last effort and has a pedigree that suggests that she will be at home over the extra ground.

Delpech can round off his afternoon aboard Sess for Mike Azzie. The Australian-bred son of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Pluck, was touched off over course and distance last time out and looks set to go one better this time around.

While Dalley and Sess look the pick of Delpech’s four rides, his other two are far from out of it. He teams up with Ice Art for Azzie in the All To Come Maiden plate and after two promising sprints the daughter of Querari is set to shed her maiden at third time of asking although you will probably have to take skinny odds.

More difficult could be Nordic Rebel for Erico Verdonese in the Handicap. The three-year-old was an easy maiden winner two runs back but was expected to do a lot better in his handicap debut where he finished tailed off behind Minnesota. That run was obviously way below expectations and Verdonese has given him an even stiffer task in this MR82 Handicap.

A better proposition could be St John Gray’s filly Shimmering Sea. She is a seasoned campaigner and was full of running when beating Spring Wonder over course and distance last time out.

Also in the hunt is Golden Man from the Grant Maroun yard. He has been close-up in his last two and was narrowly beaten by the speedy Riverine last time out. A repeat of that effort will see him in the mix.