Bernie could be worth a chance in in the MR 90 Handicap when Durbanville stages its final meeting of the year this afternoon.
The five-year-old was a little bit unlucky over 1 000m here last month as he started slowly, losing more ground than the extended length he was beaten. He still finished two lengths in front of Power Grid and, on only a kilo worse terms, he should do so again. Furthermore third-placed Roi Querari has since emphatically franked the form.
Frank Lloyd Wright is an obvious danger even if his last two runs suggest that the handicappers have taken his measure once again. Nasty Harry’s stable is in fantastic form but the biggest threat may come from Spectra Force who has been a revelation in recent months, winning three of his last four.
“He has got sounder as he has got older and I think that is the reason for the improvement,” says Michelle Rix. “He went to the farm for a couple of months and came back a hassle-free horse. This is a little bit on the short side for him but there is no other suitable race.”
The shorter trip, coupled with a seven-point increase in the ratings for his last win, is the reason Bernie is preferred but it would be no surprise to see M.J. Byleveld’s mount go in again.
Latest betting sees Spectra Force sharing favouritism with Frank Lloyd Wright at 22-10 while Nasty Harry is on 7-2 and Bernie a 4-1 shot.
Queen Of Quiet is hard to oppose in the opening maiden. She was no match for comfortable winner Missisippi Burning at Kenilworth last time but she has less on her plate here and, given the way the Snaith horses have been mopping up maidens, it is not surprise to her quoted at odds-on.
Adam Marcus, trainer of Missisipppi Burning, again provides what looks the strongest opposition in Noble Freedom who ran well over this course and distance at the end of last month.
Marcus’s Quintay has proved horribly expensive to follow and, despite being the best on ratings and on form, it seems folly to risk even more money on him in the Betting World Maiden.
Maybe a more sensible solution is to go for Richard Fourie’s mount Lead Singer although it is worth noting that Matchless Captain was six lengths clear at the turn when fifth over this 1 400m earlier in the month.
Warren Kennedy, who rides Quintay for a third time, has a more straightforward task on Freedom Of Speech in the next.
By Michael Clower