BABY SHOOZ was among the lowest rated entries in the list of 54 nominations for the Vodacom Durban July that were revealed on Wednesday. It may have been an optimistic entry by Peter Muscutt but it is best to get in at the bottom if you think there is a possibility for improvement given that supplementary entries are not cheap.

Baby Shooz has always been held in high regard and a race like the WSB 1900 could well prove a stepping stone into the July for a horse of his ilk.

He lines up in a seven-horse field in the opening leg of the Pick 6 on the poly at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday and the race can go some way into showing which way he is headed.

There was little to write home about in his come-back run in the Kings Cup where he hardly got out of first gear from his 12 draw and finished 12th.

It was not his run and Muscutt has exchanged apprentice Jabu Jacobs for Anton Marcus.

So, the jury is out at this stage and while you cannot leave Baby Shooz out of any combinations with any confidence it may prove prudent to look elsewhere for the winner.

Justin Snaith was priming Native Tongue for a possible raid on a Highveld feature earlier in the season after a cracking effort behind Share Holder in a Novice Plate. A relatively disappointing effort next time out when favourite saw all plans on hold in spite of turning the tables on Share Holder on more beneficial weight terms.

Native Tongue has had one run back since that win and there was a lot to like about the way he was finishing behind Quick Star. He is over a more suitable trip here.

Sir Michael was in that same race behind Quick Star and was running at them late. He too was returning from a break and Dean Kannemeyer should have him fit and fighting.

Punters face a particularly tricky card but one of the more interesting races is the seventh. Duncan Howells entered Quepid for the WSB Fillies Guineas on May 2 but said that given the likely strength of that field, Sunday’s race was a more realistic option.

The daughter of Querari has taken time to come to hand but is in cracking form of late. Howells was mystified by her defeat to Freestate Star at her penultimate outing but a slight change of tactics in her first start on the poly saw apprentice Thabiso Gumede ride a cracker to get his mount up on the line.

On that showing the 1900m of this race should suit and the Guineas may still remain an option.

Emerald Palace made short work of Laurel Lane when shedding her maiden over course and distance last time out, cantering to a 14-length victory. Laurel Lane subsequently franked that form but Howells will have a good line on Gavin van Zyl’s filly as she was a victim of Quepid in the maidens.

Likely favourite is the year-old Silver Maria. She warmed up nicely at Hollywoodbets Scottsville last time out, staying on well behind Keep On Dancing. Her Cape form before arriving in KZN was solid and if she takes to the poly, Quepid will need to pick up her feet.

www.tabgold.co.za-Andrew Harrison

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