THE excitement is starting to build for what could well be the best horse racing meeting at Fairview for some time.
On October 29, the running of the Algoa Cup will be the highlight at a meeting packed with quality.
The Algoa Cup and the Racing Association Stakes will be the main races on the day, but the Wedgwood Handicap and the Cradock Place Stakes will also be part of the meeting.
It was in 2009 when an East Cape stable, that of trainer Jacques Strydom, last won the prestigious Algoa Cup.
Since then the visitors have dominated the Eastern Cape’s biggest race and this year there is again enormous interest from outside of the province.
All indications are that a much stronger field than last year will contest the Algoa Cup, this time to fight it out for the R200 000 prize money that is up for grabs.
There are 45 entries, 26 from out of town, for the battle over 2 000m.
Last year there were 33 entries.
National champion trainer, Justin Snaith, has nominated seven horses and it will be very interesting to see which horses of this powerful stable will take up their positions in the race.
Gavin Smith has the most entries among the Fairview trainers, having nominated eight horses.
Strydom will also be back to try to get his name on that cup for a second time. He has two entries, Blackball and Christopher Robin, and both have only recently joined his stable.
The trainer admits that his preparation for the big race will be a bit rushed but he, and the other locals, will be trying their utmost to get a Bay horse in the Algoa Cup winners enclosure for a change.
The Racing Association Stakes for three-year-old horses has attracted 24 entries, with 13 coming from the Western Cape stables.
The last weekend of the month is really an important one for racing in the province as one of the local stars, Whatever Next, will be in action at the Kenilworth track in Cape Town the day after the Algoa Cup.
This three-year-old gelding, trained by the East Cape champion, Alan Greeff, will contest the R900 000 De Grendel Ready To Run Stakes.
He is highly regarded and it will be very exciting to see how he goes against top opposition.
There are still two Fairview meetings before Algoa Cup Day and things have been really competitive over the last couple of meetings.
A Fairview combination, which is becoming a real favourite with punters, is that of trainer, Juan Nel, and top Cape Town jockey, Richard Fourie.
Nel’s stable is going from strength to strength and Fourie has indicated he will be making regular trips from Cape Town to come and support Nel.
No-one is complaining, because Fourie was at his best at last Friday’s meeting, especially with the brilliant ride that secured victory for the Nel-trained Legend Has It.