With the 3rd leg of the Triple Tiara, the Gr2 SA Oaks, due to be run on over 2450m at Turffontein on Saturday 2 May, the question on everyone’s lips is whether undefeated Summer Pudding is ready to lift the Crown.
“She is doing exceptionally well, both on and off the track,” says trainer Paul Peter. “Her work is really good and she’s eating up a storm. In fact, in my view, Summer Pudding has never been better,” added Peter.
“I have no doubts about Summer Pudding staying the trip and I fully expect her to win,” he concluded.
As far as the Derby is concerned, Paul is fairly bullish about the chances of Western Fort. The son of Elusive Fort, himself a former winner of the SA Derby, has won 2 of his 5 starts to date and is still maturing and improving.
“He had no luck in the Classic, finishing a little more than 5 lengths off Gotthegreenlight,” explains Peter.
“He was very badly drawn that day and Warren (Kennedy) just could not get a position. Under the circumstances it was a fair effort and, given his progress since, I expect him to make his presence felt in the Derby,” said Peter.
The stable will most likely run both Vistula and the useful 3yo Astrix in the Horse Chestnut Stakes but Peter concedes they face an uphill battle against the established stars at WFA terms.
Astrix, by the exciting new boy on the block Vercingetorix, has won 3 of his 10 starts, ran 4th in the Guineas and more recently 2nd to Al Mutawakel at level weights – both very decent efforts.
-Graeme Hawkins for Gold Circle
Image: Paul Peter // Candiese Lenferna