LEADING tipster Darryl Maree, whose daily selections are available to clients of Betting World, feels that Heavenly Blue is the horse to beat in Saturday’s Gr1 SA Classic over 1800m at Turffontein.

Heavenly Blue is the 18-10 second-favourite to Al Sahem (1-1), to capture this second leg of the Triple Crown, but Maree, whose best bets on Betting World have won five of the last six times, feels that Heavenly Blue’s racing over 1800m will make the difference.

He said: “Everyone agrees that Heavenly Blue has been crying out for more ground and Mike de Kock has said he’d get better with age.  There was a glimpse of that after a rest last time when he got tight for a stride on the outside before finishing a good third to Janoobi and Al Sahem in the Guineas.

Darryl Maree, singing the blues.
Darryl Maree, singing the blues.

“Over the extra 200m there is every chance that Heavenly Blue can reverse the form and I’m picking him as my winner for this race and provisionally for the SA Derby too. We should start seeing the best of him now.”

Despite his relative confidence, Maree said he’d be including Al Sahem and Janoobi for safety. There is likely to be a good pace in the race which could affect the result.  “Janoobi, especially, comes into play for me. There is a perception that he is limited to a mile, but I am not so sure. He has a stout pedigree and things may go his way again, he was impressive in fighting of Al Sahem last time.”

In the Gr1 Fillies Classic, Maree is sticking with the 12-10 favourite Smiling Blue Eyes ahead of Belle Rose, to make it a Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum-owned Exacta.

Maree said: “When the betting opened I thought 12-10 was too short and that I’d probably play to beat Smiling Blue Eyes, but everything about her Guineas win was super impressive. She’s up against a good field, but she would have come on a few lengths and think she has the mettle to win again.

“My second selection, Belle Rose, impressed with her win in the Oaks Trial last weekend. She, too, will be at her best and rates a danger. Reports are that Safe Harbour is doing well, she needed her last run and she has the Gr1 Fillies Guineas form in Cape Town to her credit, she finished second to Just Sensual, and ahead of Captain Gambler. She can’t be ignored.

“Wild Orchid will be better over this trip, for me it’s a toss-up for the places between her and Bi-Pot, one I really fancied earlier but the form of runners behind her in her last win has been diabolical.”

Champion miler Legal Eagle looks hard to oppose on for in the Gr1 Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m and Maree agreed that he should win another good race. “I don’t think Legal Eagle will come into this race underdone after his rest. He’s top class. To my mind the value here lies in the Exacta taken with his stablemate French Navy, who will be right there if he’s improved after his decent run to Brazuca last Saturday.”