The Vaal nine race card offers some fair opportunities tomorrow for both exotic and on the nose players.
In the second race over 1800m, a workrider’s event, Mighty Rock has everything in his favour and will be hard to beat. Last time over 2000m he had to be used up a little to get into the lead from a wide draw and he was sent for home early too. Under the circumstances he did well to only just fail, especially as he had been found to have cast a shoe. He now has the pole position draw and represents the lethal combination of Paul Peter and Charles Ndlovu. Wild Fire is never far off and represents the chief danger with first-time blinkers on. The filly Plum Field should also improve over this trip.
The third race is a Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1200m with a few first-timer involved. Got The Greenlight made a good impression on debut when matching it with an odds-on first-timer from the Mike de Kock yard. He was beaten only 2,2 lengths and the rest of the field were way back so he could also be hard to beat. However, he has to take on another ominously well-bred De Kock first-timer called Ehsaan. This Captain Al colt is out of an unraced More Than Ready mare whose dam by Red Ransom is a daughter of Tracy’s Element, a champion Australian-bred by Last Tycoon who graced the SA turf for Ormond Ferraris in the 1990s. The Bold Silvano colt Western Park is also an interestingly-bred first-timer being a full brother to Star Profile, who had useful juvenile form and finished third in the Grade 3 Pretty Polly Stakes over 1100m, just 3,25 lengths behind Green Plains and beating the like of Desert Rhythm.
In the fourth race over 1200m It Takes Two is made the best bet on the card. She has finished close up to three decent sorts in succession, Scent Of Evening, Florida Quays and Boutique, and has very little to beat from a high draw over an ideal trip. Gavin Lerena is booked and she has a high draw, which is usually favourable. Catch A Glimpse, who was 3,85 lengths behind It Takes Two last time, could be the chief danger. Hartleyfive can be involved if reproducing her debut run behind the useful Blonde Vision.
The fifth race over 1200m should be doddled by Celtic Sea, at least on paper, as she has speed and is well in at the weights. If she fluffs her lines then either Victor Forth of Benji could pick them up.
The sixth over 1200m is one of the more tricky races on an overall easy looking card. In this 1200m handicap Smoke could be the one to beat if reproducing his last run over course and distance when 5,25 lengths behind San Fermin in a race where he was under sufferance. He does make breathing noises and wore a tongue tie for the first time in the latter race. Certifiable is the most reliable PA choice in this race as he loves this course and distance and has Lerena up from a high draw. Moon Warrior has been kept mainly to 1000m but was charging home over that trip last time so might now get the 200m further trip. However, all of Snow In Seattle, Battle Creek and Prince Jordan have to also be included in the Pick 6 and Jackpot and the risk averse should consider going even wider.
In the seventh over 2400m Forest Express and Woodland’s Forest are both proven over the trip and well weighted so should fight it out. Forst Express is preferred as Woldland’s Forest will be having his first run at altitude, which will be a test over this marathon trip. Ryder can also be included in the exotics as he has eyecatching breeding for this distance, although he has admittedly failed in two previous attempts over staying trips. He is by Mambo In Seattle out of the Rakeen mare Winona, who won the Listed Queen Palm over 2600m.
The eighth is a tricky fillies and mares handicap over 1700m. The Sash represents the in form Mike and Adam Azzie yard and is drawn in pole. She has finished close to some decent sorts over distances of 1450m to 1800m and is drawn in pole. Mattina will enjoy this trip from a plum draw and Flowing Gown can never be ignored. Return To Power, Curbstone Shuffle, Elegancia, reserve runner Kapama, Poormanslady and Big Myth can also be included.
The last race over 1400m is an uninspiring maiden and should be fought out by two promising unexposed horses, Hareer and Fife. The hard knocking Targaryen Queen can also be included.
By David Thiselton - www.goldcircle.co.za