The change of quality to bread and butter racing in KZN is an abrupt one but trainers with horses not good enough to compete during Champions Season usually prime their charges for the roughly two-month break before the ante is upped again.
The card at Hollywoodbets Scottsville today is headed by the Off To Stud Stakes but not all will be headed to the paddocks after the race with a number of recently-turned four-year-olds taking on their older counterparts but this is no easy race and one can make a case for many of the runners.
Two of those will be saddled by Glen Kotzen. Flower Of Saigon and Caya Coco still have another season ahead of them. Pick of the two may be Caya Coco. She contested the Gr1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes last time out where she showed good pace before compounding late, mainly due to her casting a front shoe. She finished runner-up behind the smart Princess Calla in her course debut so she has a lot in her favour.
Another recently turned four is the Duncan Howells-trained Quepid who was staying on resolutely behind Meet At The George last time out. She has a tricky draw but has been in good form of late.
Of the older runners, Keep On Dancing has been a revelation this season, Wendy Whitehead’s charge winning five of her last six starts. However, she has been racing over ground and the cut back to a mile could count against her if it boils down to a sprint home.
Others to consider are Georgina Rose, All Of Me, Star Vega and Fiftyshadesdarker who has her second local run.
Gareth van Zyl had an epic season rounded off by She’s A Keeper in the Gr2 Gold Bracelet last Saturday. He has already added to his new season tally and Ancient Epic can add another notch to his gun when the filly lines up in the opening leg of the Pick 6.
The daughter of Vercingetorix debuted well and then showed plenty improvement to nearly win her next start. She looks progressive and might prove a hard horse to beat in spite of there being some unexposed first timers in the race. Of others that have run, Ride The Lightning is showing glimpses of ability and should not be a maiden for too much longer and Shield Maiden made a fair debut after not really travelling well and she finished only five odd lengths off the winner. Plenty of improvement can be expected and she could be the value for the places.
The betting may be worth following here with two smartly bred first timers in Unconditional Love and Shield Maiden, a William Longsword half sister to the multiple Gr1 winner Via Africa.
Sons whose fathers have been besotted with a particular sport, especially a sport that can be seriously draining on the family coffers, can be put off early, but Nick Jonsson has embraced his father’s passion and is reaping the rewards.
Jonsson’s father, Benji seldom missed a race meeting and was always polite but firm in his views.
Justin Snaith has something of a nightmare Champions Season but his approach this term may not have been the best, giving his runners one run before a hit out at the intended target, and luck has just not been on his side given traffic congestion and in-race injuries but Jet Dark’s win in the Gr1 HKJK World Pool Champions Cup will have put something of a smile on his chops.
Jonsson has not been shy to spend on prime bloodstock and the UK-bred Different Face can get off the mark in the fourth. There was a lot to like about her debut effort and given that she is six-months behind her local rivals in development, she can make the required improvement in what could then turn into a difficult race where there are plenty in with chances, one of them being Miss Generosity.
Tienie Prinsloo’s filly finished ahead of Different Face when last they met over this course and she s deadly over this distance. If Different Face is to make anything of her English form she will need to win here.
Another to include is Garth Puller’s filly Travelling Light who also contested the race won by Gardenia. She found a ton of market support, starting 4-1 from and opening call of 10-1. She showed good pace before being run out of it late and gets first-time blinkers.
In the fifth, Space News has been running well, two wins and three close-up finishes, in his last five outings and goes well for apprentice Kaidan Brewer. He does drop in trip and could find himself up against a ‘fat cigar’.
Lezeanne Forbes’s gelding showed good improvement last time and if that was not just a flash in the pan, he could make a big showing. Izhiestia and Chewbaca can fill the minor placings.
The sixth is another difficult handicap but Alado’s Pride went a tad off form after winning his maiden but is showing encouraging signs of returning to his best. Smart William gets four valuable 4 kg’s off his back and has a very big chance of reeling off the hat-trick while Uplifted caught the eye in his post maiden run and should get even closer this time. Banzai Pipeline was not far off last time when running on strongly and is a must inclusion in all bets along with White Lighting that has come to hand of late but still dropping in the handicap.
goldcircle.co.za – Andrew Harrison