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Richard Fourie drives former Equus Champion Sprinter Rio Querari to his first win for exactly two years at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth recently and he rides the six-year-old gelding from draw 13 out of 16 in the Gr 1 Golden Horse Sprint on Saturday (Picture: Wayne Marks). 


Draw bias was at one stage a big problem at Hollywoodbets Scottsville and although it is much better these days it is perceived once again that the highest draw is not where one wants to be down the straight. The runners have started shifting towards the inside again.

Richard Fourie fans might therefore be in a dilemma ahead of Saturday’s big Festival Of Speed meeting, because the top rider’s mounts in the four Grade 1s are on the 2nd favourite Mrs Geriatrix from draw 12 out of 12, on the favourite Lucky Lad from draw 11 out of 11, the favourite Princess Calla from draw 1 of 10 and the second favourite Rio Querari from draw 13 of 16.
However, they need not be overly anxious.
In the penultimate race that has taken place down the straight at Hollywoodbets Scottsville, the 8th race on May 22, the Vaughan Marshall-trained Ensuing proved you can win from a wide draw. He won from draw 13 out of 15. The jockey was able to sit behind horses towards the outside and, although this bunch drifted inward and Ensuing also switched inward for his final effort, it was not a case of their being one thin road-like strip on the inside, which was the case at the height of the problem.
In fact Fourie most likely regards Princess Calla as having the worst draw of his rides.
In the days when the going was palpably favourable on the inside, the number one draw sometimes ended up being a bad draw … a rider sitting from the off could end up stuck behind a wall of horses making their way over to that side of the track. The alternative was to push early to hold position, but that would then have an effect on the horse’s energy reserves.
So, although the cramming on to the inside strip is not as bad, Princess Calla, who likes to come from off the pace, might encounter one or two traffic problems. However, the momentum she builds up coupled with Fourie’s skills should give her every chance of powering through the gaps in a relatively small field. She runs in the Gr 1 SA Fillies Sprint.
Fourie produced one of the rides of the season on the unbeaten Mrs Geriatrix in the Gr 2 SA Fillies Nursery. The low draws are unfavourable down the Turffontein Standside straight and he managed to switch her all the way to the outside rail from where she produced a late surge. However, she will have a tough task downing the favourite in the Gr 1 Allan Robertson Championship on Saturday, the impressive Winter Cloud.
The unbeaten Lucky Lad was simply superior in the Gr 2 SA Nursery and won effortlessly by 2,75 lengths despite a tardy start. Fourie is sure to have a plan up his sleeve from that wide draw in Saturday’s Gr 1 Gold Medallion and the Gimmethegreenlight colt will take a power of beating.
In the Gr 1 Golden Horse Sprint Rio Querari is back to his best, or close to it, although on paper he does have a tough task at the weights with Gimme A Prince on their last clash over this trip.
All Of Mrs Geriatrix, Lucky Lad and Princess Calla are trained by the King Of Hollywoodbets Scottsville, Sean Tarry, who has won a record 15 Grade 1s at the Pietermaritzburg venue.
Mrs Geriatrix is by Vercingetorix, whose progeny have already won three Grade 1’s at Hollywoodbets Scottsville.
Lucky Lad is by Gimmethegreenlight, a champion sire whose son Gimme A Prince is the favourite for the Golden Horse Sprint despite carrying topweight.
Princess Calla is by Flower Alley, who seems to produce outstanding fillies, and she is the finest example.    
The Justin Snaith-trained Rio Querari, who is a former Equus Champion Sprinter, is by top sire Querari.
All in all nobody would back against Fourie and Tarry adding to their formidable Gr 1 tally on Saturday and Snaith can add to his equally formidable one too.