Andre Kirsten and Catmandu
(Gold Circle)

The R300 000 Astrapak 1900 (Gr 2) to be run at Greyville this Friday evening is a key race on the Champions Season programme. This race is a vital stepping stone to the 112th running of the Vodacom Durban July with the winner being almost guaranteed a place in the starting line-up.

From a Summerhill perspective Catmandu (Makaarem x Gypsey Spirit) from the yard of Andre Kirsten, has gotten better with each run this season. The four-year-old has an excellent record of five wins and nine places from eighteen starts including placings in the Wolf Power Handicap, the Drumstar Handicap and the Horse Chestnut. A repeat of his recent Gomma Gomma Challenge effort would see him going close here despite having to lug 58kg and concede up to 5,5kg to his rivals.

However, the 3-year-olds have been faring well against their older rivals - witness Eddington and Imbongi - and the latter’s stablemate Rudra, from the yard of Mike de Kock, must also be a strong fancy as he has form over this course and distance and races from the bottom of the weights. Mike Bass’ Floatyourboat, Charles Laird’s Hunting Tower and Dean Kannemeyer’s Jagged Ice are all sufficiently classy to win here if they can turn up at the top of their games, whilst Dean Kannemeyer’s Wonder Lawn and Mike Bass’ River Jetez, have shown enough to warrant respect.

Look out too for Michael Millar-trained Outcome (Muhtafal x Culminate) who is a decent filly and having seven career victories to date, is yet to let her connections down. Also Sean Tarry’s Run Angel Run (Makaarem x Foxy Angel) is yet to run a really bad race, however this is the first time she is taking on this level of male competition.

Watch Catmandu’s run in the Gomma Gomma Challenge 2008