With the Highveld feature race season fast approaching trainers will be revving engines for some of those big races. This can prove a tricky time for punters who will need to take form on trust, hoping that the obvious are fit enough to deliver.
Two that fit into that category at Turffontein tomorrow, where racing is on the stand-side track, are Gin Fizz in the fourth and Swept Of My Feet in the last.
Fortunately for punters, both trainers Mike de Kock and Paul Peter are in a rich vein of form at present and both runners, given their class, could go into their respective races a little underdone but still have enough class to carry them home.
The De Kock-trained Gin Fizz makes her seasonal debut and the fact that she has not been out since early May where she finished fourth in the Gr2 Fillies Nursery behind Basadi Faith. That she has been out for so long is a slight concern and she may be short of a gallop but should prove a touch too classy for this line-up. The year older Captain’s Reward is lightly raced, having only had two starts and winning on debut. She may have been just short of a run at her second start and given that she is relatively unexposed, she does rate a threat to Gin Fizz and is a must inclusion in the Pick 6.
Paul Peter and Warren Kenney are currently both top of the national trainers and jockey logs respectively. They look set for another decent afternoon but their best chance of a winner could be in the ninth where Swept Off My Feet could prove a little too good for the rest.
She also makes her seasonal debut, not having been out since contesting the Gr1 Thekwini Stakes on Gold Cup Day. She did not enjoy the best of passages that day and it is probably best to draw a line through that outing. She had only shed her maiden before going into that race but after showing up well in two sprints, she came into her own when sent over a bit of ground.
Her draw of 10 over this 1450m event is a concern but like Gin Fizz, she could prove too classy for her field. If there is to be a party pooper it could again come from a Sean Tarry runner. Colour Of Light came from a long way back when a close-up third last time out so gate seven should not be an issue and a repeat performance will make her dangerous.
With a day’s work of first timers in the opening leg of the Place Accumulator, it will pay to keep a close eye on the betting. Golden Belle and Empress Josephine are the two shortest first timers in the ante-post marker with Robbie Sage’s runner Varnica at the top of the boards. She was a beaten odds-on chance last time out but with first time blinkers, the best of the draw and Muzi Yeni still hungry for winners after the championship was snatched from his grasp last season, Varnica can make amends. Piere Strydom has two rides for Ashley Fortune, and with husband Andrew in the background, this could prove a deadly combination. They team up with Single Red who was running on well from off them on debut and although she has drawn wide, Strydom is a master of the late arrival.
Pelican Bay is a warm 16-10 favourite for the eighth after a hat-trick of second places and could have his consistency rewarded. However, Strydom will be aboard the lightly raced Fortune-trained Etched In Blue. He ran a cracker in Graduation company first run out of the maidens and looks progressive enough to keep Pelican Bay out of the winner’s circle.
The Peter-trained Sarah is more than useful and although she shoulders top weight in the fifth, she does get 4kg relief in the form of apprentice Thabiso Gumede who has a number of rides for the stable. She is currently 15-10 in the ante-post market but she could face an uphill struggle against the likes of Double ‘O Eight, who came good last time out and Dorrie Sham’s filly Royal Lily.
At 7-1, Royal Lily looks fair value after some forward showings in good company last season. She has been rested but does have a touch of class.
By Andrew Harrison