In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
Champion trainer Mike de Kock will have a strong hand in the R600000 Emerald Cup to be run over 1450m at the Vaal on September 27.
When the final field was announced on Wednesday evening, De Kock was the only trainer with two runners, Braggadacio and Scrutinize, in the grade 2 race to be run on the sand track.
The race meeting is the climax of the Emerald Spring Festival that begins two days earlier at the same venue.
Braggadacio has only run once on the Vaal sand, which was over this distance, and was a runaway winner of that event.
He beat Fair Brutus by seven lengths but when they line up for the Emerald Cup, George Scott's runner will meet him on 3kg better terms.
Johnny Geroudis, who rode him to victory that day, will be back in the irons for the richest race on sand in the Southern Hemisphere.
De Kock was disappointed when Scrutinize failed to make the field for last year's race and his case was enhanced when the National Assembly gelding won the Emerald Cup Consolation in a faster time than Narc completed the main race.
Interestingly, De Kock has reunited Scrutinize with jockey Raymond Danielson, who has built up a great rapport with the runner. Danielson rode him on five occasions and won four times on him, including all three events the pair contested on the sand.
It is a testament to Kimberley-based trainer Peter Miller that his runner, Lawful Leader, will carry top weight of 60kg in this race.
The American-bred gelding was a maiden when joining the yard in the middle of last year but has gone on to win 11 races at Flamingo Park, including last month's Racing Association Mile.
Andrew Fortune will attempt to repeat that win at the Vaal and he will jump from barrier No 5.
There are four other visiting runners who will contest the race - three from KwaZulu-Natal and one from the Western Cape.
Michael Roberts has already stated that Tropical Empire's action makes him believe the six-year-old will relish the sand track.