THE handicapper on Monday afternoon hiked four-year-old African Night Sky four points from 108 to 112 after his victory in Saturday’s Cup Trial over 1800m at Greyville, a reflection of the value they’ve given to the performance.
African Night Sky came from last to first and won the race well under Grant van Niekerk, confirming his excellent state of health and fitness in the run-up the 2018 Vodacom Durban July.
Handicapper Matthew Lips assessed: “We arrived at a four-point increase due to the fact that African Night Sky came from a long way back and had to weave his way through traffic for his win. In our opinion his winning margin of 0.75-lengths does not reflect the ease of his victory.”
With the 118-rated Coral Fever at the top of the July weight scale at 60kg, this means in effect that African Night Sky will have to carry fifth-top weight of 57kg below Coral Fever, Gold Standard, Abashiri and Elusive Silva.
Trainer Justin Snaith said: “The handicapper was fair, could’ve given him more. African Night Sky will still be a huge runner. I hope we get a decent draw. More important to us is that he pulled up very well, so we are looking forward to the race!”
Meanwhile Yakeen and Tilbury Fort, who fought out the Jubilee Handicap at Turffontein, have been raised four and three points respectively to 103 and at the scale would both come into the race with 53kg.
With several runners due to compete at the bottom of the scale for a place in the Top 16, there is likely to be the usual heated debate leading to the race. A number of scratchings in the current Top 18 are expected, however.