MARCHINGONTOGETHER has always been on the verge of being one of the country’s top stayers, but whenever he has looked to have an outstanding chance, he has fluffed his lines. He appeared to have had the perfect prep for the WSB Gold Cup but came up short behind Paths Of Victory last season.
In his defence, the race was a peculiar affair, being run some seven seconds slower than average time, that suggests that he was beaten by a lack of pace rather than any lack of ability.
He is unlikely have things all his own way at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Sunday but he does have a longer straight in which to wind up for his finishing effort and stable rider Warren Kennedy should have a good idea of what to expect.
Stuart Randolph was aboard in the Michael Roberts Handicap with Kennedy holed up in Cape Town, and the gelding was nearer last than first turning for home. But Marchingontogether got it all together in the home stretch, passing all but the two lightweights News Stream and Mr Fitz.
Van Zyl also has the game soldier Blackball in the race who races in the same silks as Marchingontogether, and he may well be used as the hare.
Marchingontogether stretches to a more suitable 1950m and given a decent gallop he should be running at them late.
But it will not be easy going. Paul Lafferty has always held Share Holder in high regard and while he may not have reached the heights expected he is more than just useful.
He got caught in the dying strides by Marchingontogether, beaten a head, and is now 3.5kg better off so in theory he should have his rival’s measure. What’s at play here is that Share Holder is untested over the trip while it holds no fears for Marchingontogether.
Alyson Wright has two live contenders in the mare Flichity By Farr and Matterhorn. The latter was in mustard form before a lay-off, his last run in October last year, but he has a handy weight and cannot be written off. Flichity By Farr needed her last run and will enjoy the extra. She has a handy weight and like Marchingontogether will benefit from a solid gallop.
The opening leg of the PA is a tricky sprint where the one-eyed Traces will be looking to get back on the winning trail.
It has taken time but Traces has finally produced the form he showed early in his career. He was a beaten favourite last run after winning two on the bounce but is now 4kg better off with the winner Fillipo and should be able to turn the tables. Winter Chill was quietly fancied in a tough handicap last time out but ran a ‘flat’ race. He could possibly prefer Greyville but is way better than that last showing. Louis Goosen is a master at training sprinters and veteran galloper Di Mazzio will think he’s running loose with only 48.5kg to shoulder. Although this is a fixed weights event, he has taken a further drop in the ratings and if he finds his best form the rest could be chasing shadows.
The opening leg of the Pick 6 will have punter’s treading warily after Legislate’s Dance let the side down. He started favourite last run but was upstaged by stable companion Fat Cigar. However, now that he has had a look at the Scottsville track, he can make amends in an open race. Dry Var finished ahead of Legislate’s Dance so that needs to be taken into consideration however, Legislate’s Dance should have improvement to come. Of the balance, Valencia has a tricky draw but has improved in blinkers and was narrowly beaten over the distance last time out.
The fifth is another competitive maiden. Jacob’s Ladder appears to have come to hand and showed up well over course and distance and with Goosen booking Anton Marcus for the ride, the inference is obvious. Let’s Go Fly has drawn wide and makes his turf debut but has put in two useful recent efforts. The blinkers go on so there could be more to come. Jackinapot found heavy market support at his second start when tried in blinkers and only just failed. A repeat should see him in the firing line but he has not been out since October last year which is a concern. The regally bred and cleverly named Broadway looks the pick of the Forbes pair, her comment being; “Very nice horse may just need the experience but could run in the money.”
The sixth has upset written all over it and punters may well be advised to load up in the exotics. Mambo Symphony appears to be coming along the right way and has his third run after a lengthy break but Techno Captain has been up against much stronger at recent outings and not been far back. He goes well this trip and at best should make a bold bid. Presumptuous disappointed last run after an improved previous effort and takes a slight drop in class. Rainbow Rising was a narrow maiden winner last start but that form has been franked. He jumps in trip from a difficult draw but on pedigree should see this out.
Another open affair faces punters in the eighth. Avenir enjoyed the extra last run and from a good draw so should at least be competitive. High Velocity has a difficult draw but won second time out and appears to have some scope which may be good enough to see him home. Tromso steps up in trip again after two good showings over shorter while the joker in the pack could be Greenlighttoheaven who has been a little disappointing but has shown flashes of ability and is one to keep an eye on.
If getting through to the last in the exotics, tighten your seat belt because you could be in for another torrid ride. Final Destiny, may be aptly named here, but has come on nicely in three starts. He was narrowly beaten over course and distance last run and can go one better. Cupid’s Song was close-up last start and is improving quickly. The blinkers go on and he can make further improvement. Casimiro made a cracking debut over course and distance at long odds and if he comes on from that he will be competitive again. Another with a chance is Cauldron who has come on nicely with blinkers and is another in with a strong winning chance.
Andrew Harrison – www.goldcircle.co.za