Benji can follow up

PUBLISHED: 19 February 2020

Captain And Master (Nkosi Hlophe)

There is an eight race meeting on the Vaal straight track tomorrow and there are one or two opportunities for punters.  

In the first race over 1200m, Soul Connection ran on over 1000m last time for third and Piere Strydom staying aboard is a good sign. Fists Of Fire moved up well last time over this trip last time but appeared to tire late and if that was the case he will be one to look out for going over 1000m.

However, the experienced connections have read it that he idled in front as they are fitting him with blinkers and if they are right he could well be the one to beat. Zig Zag has shown signs of ability and could improve further to earn a cheque.  

Captain And Master (Nkosi Hlophe)
Captain And Master

In the second race over 2000m Imperial Ruby has not been disgraced in his last two over 2400m and 1800m respectively behind two useful sorts. That last effort was in the Listed Secretariat Sakes and he has copped a harsh eight point raise. He consequently has to carry 61kg so it won’t be easy but Warren Kennedy is aboard which is a bonus. Diorama is a progressive filly who won well over this trip last time. She might have the SA Oaks on her agenda if defying the handicapper again here, but it is never easy against the boys. Christopher Robin has gone close over this trip recently despite being out of a speedy mare.

In the third race Wylie Wench is by the promising sire Wylie Hall and she was very green when going close on debut over 1000m. She should know more about it this time and hopefully won’t be surveying the scenery as she was in that last start and she should also appreciate the step up to 1200m. Persica has speed and could be a threat if getting a better start than last time. Sexy Cinderella also has some pace and is capable of staying on in to the frame.

In the fourth race over 1000m Arikel has earned a cheque in four out of five starts over this course and distance, although none of those were wins. It could change tomorrow as she comes out well on formlines. Hear The Trumpet has come into her own and goes for a hattrick. She proved last time she is effective over this trip when producing a strong late run. Gavin Lerena stays aboard which is a good sign, but it will be tough off a five point higher merit rating. Towards The Sun won her maiden well over this course and distance. It was in her eighth start, but she had bumped some fair company before that without being disgraced and she starts handicapping off a lenient merit rating of 67. Wings Of Honour is half-a-kilogram better off with Hear The Trumpet for a quarter if a length beating, so there should be nothing in it. However, she did make a respiratory noise last time, although on the plus side Warren Kennedy now takes the ride. Scarlet Tiger looked promising when winning her maiden in the July of her two-year-old year by 4,50 lengths over this trip. She has been well beaten in a Grade 2 feature and an ordinary handicap since then. However, she was laid off for 159 days after the latter start and in her return she can’t be ignored off a mark which has come down eight points considering she also has a 4kg claimer aboard. 

The fifth is a Progress Plate over 1100m and Benji could follow up on his last win over 1200m. He has always been well regarded and looks to have benefited from the layoff he was given. He now has his peak run and although this is a lot tougher he should give a good account of himself. On the downside he only beat Smoke by 0,30 lengths in that last race and is now 1kg worse off with him, which might not augur well as Smoke is hopelessly out at the weights here. However, Smoke did have some decent earlier form before a long layoff so might be coming back into his own. Epic Dream is 3kg better off with Benji for a 0,30 length beating so this horse, who struck as a decent sort from day one, can continue his recent good run of form. Land Of The Brav has pace and the ability to stay on so will be a threat. Captain And Master has a been a disappointing sort overall but as one who has sometimes overraced over further he is interesting running fresh over this trip as he does have class. What You Are is the best weighted and this is an easier task than she faced in Cape Town but it would appear she would prefer further.

In the sixth over 1600m Rooi Tom disappointed over 1400m last time but if repeating his previous start over this he will go close, especially considering he has a 2,5kg claimer up. Ice Lord won his first two starts over this trip and wasn’t disgraced last time over 1800m considering the winner was the classy Youcanthurrylove. Waqaas can do better than last time when failing to overcome a wide draw over this trip.

In the seventh over 1600m Destiny’s Game has shown ability over this trip and this consistent sort looks the one to beat on form. Now You See Me goes very well for Piere Strydom and is distance suited so should go close. Wordyness won well last time over this trip and the form was franked when Littlewood came out and won yesterday. Circle Of Latitude can never be discounted. Soul Of Wit ran a good race over this trip last time and also has a shout. 

In the last race over 1600m Oh Mercy Me has an impressively strong finish and should relish this course and distance. Gavin Lerena stays aboard and she is made a PA banker. The risk averse can also consider Franklin for the Pick 6 as she won her maiden well over 1400m and should relish the step up in trip so could upset running off a reasonable looking merit rating. 

By David Thiselton