Bettors often have the problem when confronted with a low-level handicap whether to go with moderate runners with proven form or put their hopes in a recent maiden winner who has only raced three times, but could have decent prospects.
That could be the case in Race 8 on the Inside track at Turffontein on Thursday when Mike de Kock sends out Lilliana in a MR 66 Handicap for fillies and mares over 1800m.
This daughter of Vercingetorix is a full sister to Nartjie who has run some encouraging races but has not gone on with his early promise. Lilliana suffered an injury in her first run and was then touched off over 1400m in her second start. Third time out, over 1600m, she beat Code Zero by two lengths.
There are two concerns about her chances this time. The handicappers are often a little harsh on young horses who win early in their careers, and she will only be receiving 1.5kg from four-year-old Dark Travel who has shown good form at this track.
The second is she was already racing with blinkers in her second start. The late great George Azzie always advised punters to be wary of any horse who needs the headgear so soon after they start racing.
In her favour, she is drawn No 1 and has Warren Kennedy, who won on her last time, in the irons.
This will be a test for the three-year-old filly, so it is worth including the Brett Webber-trained pair of Dark Travel and Fasinada as back up.
Trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren sends out a bunch of first-timers in the first two races. Perhaps the most interesting of the group is Sonnenstrahl (the German word for Sunbeam), who runs in Race 2. The three-year-old Var gelding is a full brother to Sommerlied, a top-class filly trained by Dennis Drier. She won seven of her 11 races, including the Grade 1 SA Fillies Sprint at Scottsville.
Gavin Lerena takes the ride.
Jack Milner’s selections
Race 1: 3 Just Be Nice, 2 Abbacadabra, 5 Permesso Avanti, 6 Red Carpet Girl
Race 2: 6 Sonnenstrahl, 7 French Joy, 5 Outofthedarkness, 1 Maraca Ginger
Race 3: 9 Miss United States, 2 Pick A Lily, 1 Caruso, 4 Frosted Ice
Race 4: 5 Magnum P I, 4 About To Storm, 2 Eights Enough, 3 Flashy Apache
Race 5: 1 Two Fools Collide, 4 Lady Fair, 2 Bold Decision, 3 Oceans Pride
Race 6: 6 Scottadito, 1 Bureau Des Legende, 2 Stay The Course, 5 Twosidestoastory
Race 7: 2 Traveling Wilbury, 3 Rock You, 5 Princess Kesh, 7 Masaaken
Race 8: 7 Lilliana, 5 Dark Travel, 2 Fasinada, 11 Tinder Dry
Race 9: 7 Princess Queen, 9 Miss Costa Rica, 6 Samoa, 4 Princess Sabrina
Race 6 No 6 Scottadito
Race 3 No 9 Miss United States
Race 6 1×6