Horses for courses is a well-worn phrase but does hold a lot of water and there are a few course specialists lining up for the Michael Roberts Handicap at Hollywoodbets Scottsville on Sunday. This could well apply to GG’S Dynasty as Brett Crawford’s runner has won three of his five starts at the track and finished second in another.
More pertinently was his performance last time out as he quickened away from his rivals to win as he liked. Granted, it was not the strongest of fields but it was the manner of victory that impressed and he can take it to another level when he takes on some hard-knocking handicappers. He has the best of the draw, a handy weight and Anton Marcus to help his cause but he will need a lot to go his way in a seriously competitive handicap.
Born To Perform has done very little wrong for Dennis Bosch and finished ahead of GG’S Dynasty when the two met at their penultimate start. The former has a 1kg pull in the weights to add to his appeal, that coupled with the fact that he only has 53.5kg to shoulder.
In their only previous meeting, GG’S Dynasty ran out a narrow winner over Sunday’s course and distance so there should again be very little between the two.
Another course specialist and last year’s winner is Wealthy. Dennis Drier’s charge has recorded five of his six wins on the course and gave notice of a return to form when running the much improved Merin From Berlin to a neck in a Chapter Challenge final, giving his rival 9kg. Merlin From Berlin subsequently won again to bolster Wealthy’s form.
Two other runners with solid credentials are The Dazzler and Blackball.
Few who were at Scottsville when The Dazzler shed his maiden will forget that run. Making his debut against winners for James Goodman, he motored home from a seemingly hopeless position beating some useful performers in the process. When Goodman handed in his licence The Dazzler went to Mike de Kock where he won another three races.
The gelding has his issues but Gareth Van Zyl appears to have got on top of them and in a performance reminiscent of his maiden win, he cut down Born To Perform like he was standing still to win the Christmas Handicap.
Given his style of running, 14 draw will not be a problem but finding a way through the traffic may be!
Blackball has been in good form and although finishing out of the money in the Christmas Handicap he was little over a length behind The Dazzler and finishing off nicely. The extra furlong will also suit so he is a must inclusion in all exotics.
Punters face a generally tricky card but two that stand out as possible bankers are Baby Shooz in the fifth and Marsanne in the sixth.
Baby Shooz was unlucky last run when close-up from a wide draw and Anton Marcus losing his off-side rein for a couple of strides which may have cost him the race. Baby Shooz looks useful and can make amends. Admiral’s Guest has a tricky draw to contend with but has been close-up in his last three while Galway was a recent maiden winner but has only had two runs back after a lengthy break and looks to be on the up.
Marsanne too was a touch unlucky when touched off by course specialist Celebration Rock in a Chapter Challenge final. She looks the part but if she fails then the list of possible winners is a long one. Naoshima has her third run after a lengthy break and should strip at her peak and turn the tables on Petra who is always dangerous and only got going late last run. She can do better over the extra furlong. Purple Nkanyezi showed up well first run out of the maidens and although she takes on stronger she has a handy weight while Talia Al Ghul and Linear should also be considered although the latter is a difficult customer; more than capable but not always reliable.
By Andrew Harrison