Sean Tarry seems to have unearthed another potentially top class galloper in the regally named Eagle Alley. Racing in the familiar Chris van Niekerk silks in partnership with Bernard Kantor, Eagle Alley has a pedigree out of the top draw being by champion stallion Silvano out of a Sadlers Wells mare.

Given his pedigree and his first two trips to the race course, Eagle Alley appears to be above average winning well first time out of the maidens to keep his clean sheet. He faces some tough older campaigners when he lines up over the straight mile at The Vaal this afternoon but will be a popular exotic bet banker on a card littered with potential landmines.

After the untimely death of popular trainer Romeo Francis, a few of his small string ended up in St John Gray’s yard, including Romeo’s Magic and Soul Of Wit.

Romeo’s Magic made major improvement first time out for his new stable and although Craig Zackey puts up 0.5kg over weight the gelding has a light weight that could see him give Eagle Alley a fright.

Gray has a number of outstanding chances on the card and saddles Soul Of Wit in the last. The mare has had a single outing for her new stable and improved nicely. She looks primed for this event, however, it will not be easy. Alec Laird sends out Contrail who has had three outings since returning from a long lay-off. He made smart improvement last time out and appears to have come to hand but he obviously has issues so it may not be wise to rely too heavily on him. The Dorrie Sham-trained Back To Black hardly ever runs a bad race and goes well over this trip. He stayed on well in the soft last run while the former KZN galloper Heart Of A Legend is always game and has done well over course and distance.

Mike Azzie’s runner White Fang faces a seasoned maiden field in the card opener but the gelding made a smart improvement when trying to make all the running at only his second start. He goes and extra 400m here but looks capable of further improvement with Hewitson keeping the ride. Ball Rolling has had a number of chances but does stay the trip and was possibly a little unlucky with his rider losing his stick when second to Passing Storm.

Paul Peter saddles Western Fort in a tricky first leg of the PA but a further drop in trip could play in his favour. West Fort has been trying further since being gelded but was run out of it late when sent out favourite for his last start over 2000m and the drop to 1800m could be what the doctor ordered. Seattle Force and Duke Of Spin both return from lengthy breaks. Seattle Force is back on the Highveld and is way better than his last two over much further and can do better this trip. Duke Of Spin has been a touch disappointing but is useful on his day and goes straight over ground suggesting that he’s racing fit.

St John Gray could get the Pick 6 off to a good start as Nabeela has made big improvement with blinkers and a tongue-tie and was a touch unlucky last run with a slipped saddle. Her last win was over course and distance with Hewitson up and she has a strong chance in what is a competitive race. Fsquadron, Palace Green and Littlewood are others that warrant serious consideration.

Gray sends out Liverpool Legend in the fourth who has been close-up at recent starts and was only outpaced late when trying a little further last time out.  S’Manga Khumalo takes over from an apprentice and with a light weight should be right there again. Dice The Bullet has yet to run a bad race and stayed on well when runner-up last time out. She was raced handy that day and similar tactics over today’s trip should suit. Rocky Path adds to Gray’s chances and she likes to race handy. With master judge of pace Piere Strydom aboard she should at least be competitive. Rabia The Rebel is obviously as sound as a bell and should also be superbly fit as she raced six times in the last two months. She took on stronger last start and only weakened late.

The fifth is a wide open handicap sprint. Chief Of State was reported not striding out last run but only tired late. With a top 2.5kg claimer aboard he rates a strong chance. Epic Dream was touched off by Singfonico when last they met and is now 1kg better off. Singfonico has since run well in top company and Corne Spies is never shy to back them up quickly. Visiway has excellent form in blinkers but may just prefer it a furlong further even though he shows good early toe.

Any Highveld meeting is seldom complete without Muzi Yeni visiting the winner’s enclosure and he gets a chance on Touch Of Fate for Clinton Binda. The gelding has early toe and goes well for Muzi Yeni. Binda has a chance of a 1-2 with King’s Road. He has patchy form but can put it together on his day helped by the ever-competitive Jason Gates.

goldcircle.co.za – Andrew Harrison

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