THE VAAL straight course today stages an interesting eight race meeting which should see punters coming out on top.

The meeting starts with a workriders’ maiden over 1400m and Mr Livingston will be hard to beat. He finished a 6,75 length fourth last time out over 1200m but the three in front of him, William Robertson, Dyce and Angel Of War are all talented. He has plenty of scope and should relish the step up in trip on pedigree being by Global View, whose two Graded wins were over 1600m and 1700m, out of a Labeeb mare who placed over 2600m. He is only a two-year-old but looks to have plenty of scope and likely has a bright future ahead of him. Phenesile Mongqawa is aboard and is an ultra consistent rider. The Sean Tarry-trained first-timer Willtowin is a three-year-old gelding by Willow Magic and is a half-brother to the seven-time winning Listed runner up Euphoria, a Kahal filly who won from 1200m up to 1600m. Champion workrider Joe Gwingwizha is aboard. Fort Commander’s best form has been over 1200m so the step up to this trip could be a concern but Tshepiso Matsoele is aboard and he has won five of his last six races.

The second is a Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1200m and Sicilian Tiger is the one to beat after making a good debut over 1200m where he showed pace and hung on for third although he did not receive any betting support so the even money quoted at present might be a touch skinny. An interesting first-timer appears called Ice And Fire. He is a gelding by What A Winter and is a half-brother to the Dingaans winner Shango. He is also a half-brother to Captain And Master who looked like he would go to the top after running on for third in the Grade 2 Durban Golden Horsehoe for two-year-olds over 1400m but was ultimately a disappointment although he has won a few races. Chief Rafeef has run some fair races and might enjoy the step back down in trip so is not out of it either.

The third race is a Miaden Juvenile Plate over 1200m in which only three of the 13 runners have raced before. Quest From Afar was only 1.15 lengths behind the smart Desert Miracle over 1160m in her penultimate start so is the one to beat. Meteoric has shown some ability and could still improve. First-timer Code Zero is by Master Of My Fate and is a half-sister to twice Listed winner in PE Sammy Jo whose six career wins ranged from 1000m to 2000m. First-timer Perfect Witness is by Flower Alley and is a half-sister to four-time winner in KZN from 1200m to 2000m Diamonds And Pearls (Jackson). Alabama Anna is by the exciting new sire The United States out of an unraced Hawk Wing mare and this first-timer is a half-sister to three-time winner Radiant Love.  

In the fourth race over 1000m Brief Crusade strikes as being a scopey sort who can improve and his run last time out, a 4,75 length third to the promising Alesian Chief, looks to be the best form. Maraca Ginger and Night King look to be moderate but could be the main dangers.

In the fifth race over 1000m What A Miracle jumped outward last time over 1000m and was run out of it late so can make amends here in a moderate field. She is by What A Winter and is a full sister to four-time winner Tripod. Two first-timers could be the chief dangers. Vuitton is by Vercingetorix and is a full-sister to the one-time winner over 1750m Parallax. Moonshiningthrough is by Rafeef and is a half-sister to the twice winner in KZN Purple Moon’s Up (What A Winter).

In the sixth race, a MR 80 Handicap over 1000m, Alesian Chief won comfortably last time out over this trip and off a reasonable opening merit rating of 88 this two-year-old could be the one to side with. Successful Secret is 3.5 kg better off with Country Squire for a 3.05 length beating so might be the chief threat in this relatively open race. Country Squire is in fine form and won going away last time so it would not be a great surprise to see him overcome a seven point raise. Godswood was disappointing in that race and is better than that and he is also now 4kg better off with Country Squire for a 6,25 length beating. Look To The Sky speedy can never be ignored as he has plummeted down the merit ratings and might one day blitz a field over the minimum trip, although he is officially 1kg under sufferance here. 

In the seventh race, a Graduation Plate over 1100m Captain Morisco is the choice as he holds Portico on a line through Vaseem. However, the two-year-old Dockofthebay could well be a big danger despite not having run since his winning debut in early January. He is a big, long-striding sort and might well have benefited from the layoff. Portico did compete with the best as a two-year-old and finished a narrow second in the Grade 2 Golden Horseshoe over 1400m. He showed signs of returning to his best last time and is also a contender to win.

In the last race, a Maiden over 1400m, McKenna Sky is by Act Of War and is a half-sister to MK’s Pride so she should improve on her fifth place effort on debut over 1200m. She did show quite a lot of speed there but on pedigree will enjoy this step up in trip and can reverse a 1,65 length beating by the hard-knocking maiden Lady Of The Flame, who is having her twelfth start. Thiselton