The Vaal straight course stages an eight race meeting and the exotics look the best way to play it.
In the first over 1200m Arabian Sniper is a Bipot must-include having been left too far out of his ground on debut over this course and distance before running on in eyecatching style with long strides. With the experience under the belt he should be closer to the action and can run on to win. Potjie does not have a long stride but has been thereabouts a few times and over this distance last time finished a fair second with second-time blinkers on. Lion King showed good pace throughout last time over course and distance when finishing one-and-a-half lengths clear of Arabian Sniper. However, he now has a potentially unfavourable number one draw. Apache Too is a chip off his sire The Apache and won a barrier trial in a slow time on the Greyville poly over 1000m back in November.
However, he accelerated smartly in the straight. One Of Our Own is drawn on the right side by trends and ran a fair second last time over course and distance with first-time blinkers on when caught late, but the form is suspect. Succession is a two-year-old gelding debutant trained by Sean Tarry. He is by Captain Al out of an unraced USA-bred Dynaformer mare whose mother won the Group 1 Prix de Moulin over 1600m at Longchamp and she also finished second in the Group 1 Juddmonte International. However, she did not produce much at stud. The other two-year-old Land Of The Brave is by What A Winter and is a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Croc Valley and Listed winner Galileo’s Night. He made a fair debut when drawn on the wrong side in a good field, finishing seven lengths behind Look To The Sky. The two-year-olds are receiving only 3kg from the three-year-olds but in a weight for age race would receive 8.5kg so they have tough tasks.
In the second race over 1400m, the first leg of the PA, My Elusive is the choice. She has substance and was too strong in the running last time when handy over 2000m, yet still managed to stay on. So despite her form suggesting this will be too sharp, it might be just what she is looking for and she is drawn on the right side too. Notquitethereyet also gets a good high draw and this is a suitable trip. He showed good pace to get handy from a tricky draw on his Highveld debut on the Turffontein Inside track and then showed a good turn of foot before being overtaken late.
In the third race over 1400m Alyaasaat beat Soqrat the last time he ran over this trip and he has a favourable high draw. He is hard to oppose at the weights. Reach For The Line is well regarded and on debut was beaten just a length by Hawwaam over this trip, so he can be considered for Pick 6 inclusion receiving 3kg from Alyaasaat.
In the fourth race over 1600m Steady Way is a progressive daughter of Dynasty who will relish this step up in trip. Serendipity is 5,5kg better off with Samarra, if apprentice claims are included, for a one length beating over this trip. She moved up well last time over 1800m before finding no extra so should relish the step back to this trip and has a nice high draw. Walnut Dash just failed from a tough low draw the last time she tried this trip. She is by Crusade, who won a Group 1 over six furlongs but who appears to get them to stay further, and she is out of a Fort Wood mare who won over 1400m. However, she does have a low draw. Samarra is in fine form at present and this front-runner to handy type will likely try and steal a march from the number one draw. Elusive Coral has won her only start over course and distance and from a nice high draw with a 4kg claimer up is hard to ignore.
The fifth over 1200m is a competitive sprint handicap and Danza is the choice. He beat the classy Mardi Gras easily the last time he went this course and distance. That race was in soft going. He then only just failed to beat the promising Old Man Tyme over 1100m. He has gone up in the weights as a result but dropping back to this trip will suit. Palace Chapel is progressive and has to handle a four point raise for his last win. Silver God is the dark horse from a nice high draw of ten as he likely needed his last run when making up ground late over this course and distance. Clever Guy, Torre Del Oro and Angel’s Power also warrant consideration. Raasmaal’s betting should be monitored as he is useful but returns from a rest of over a year.
In the next over 1200m Certifiable is the choice as one who loves this course and distance, although he has to handle a three point raise. Bold Coast was a revelation with blinkers and must be included alongside Life Is Good. Tarsus is hard to ignore and the talented Sugoi, who has been effective over 1000m, has another crack at 1200m.
In the seventh over 1000m Mademoiselle is admirably consistent and is drawn on the right side. Dalai’s Promise should be right alongside her on form but has a low draw. The speedy Miss Khalifa can’t be ignored off a plummeting merit rating.
The last over 1000m is a competitive Apprentice Handicap and Rebel Renegade is the form choice. Brigtnumberten has a chance although he does not enjoy the soft. Hear The Trumpet won well last time when under sufferance so could follow up. However, as many as possible should be included.
By David Thiselton