It is not an easy time of year for punters but there do look to be some opportunities at the Vaal tomorrow.
In the second race over 1600m Greenwood Drive is an effective front-runner who was swamped last time over 1450m in a big field but he should be able to dictate the pace here over a step up in trip he will appreciate in a field of just five runners. He has a big weight to carry but Muzi Yeni knows him well and he has come down one point in the merit ratings. Manitoba finished second in a useful field last week and could be the chief threat.
It usually pays to follow in form trainers in the month of August and Starting Line may provide another winner for Paul Matchett in the third over 1400m. Matchett has already had two winners this season, which is not even a week old, and Starting Line ran on well last time over 1450m after having to come from some way off the pace due to a high draw. He looks to have scope for improvement and should be closer to the pace down the straight. Theatre Of Dreams moved up well from last place over 1200m on debut before her run petered out, but her tongue was found to be over the bit and she now wears a tongue tie. She will appreciate the step up in trip too. Princess Penelope has proved disappointing being a R1,4 million filly by Silvano out of the multiple Grade 1 winner Princess Victoria but she should earn here and Little Sparrow and Princess Nicole have to be respected too.
In the fourth race over 1400m Pink bumped a good one last time but off only a one point higher mark she has a fine chance here as she has always struck as being a touch better than her current lowly rating of 63. Sammi Moosa had a wide draw last week when disappointing over 1450m around the turn but in her last three runs over this straight course and distance she has finished a close second every time, so should be right there. Seattle Tango beat Sammi Moosa by half-a-length on one of those occasions and is only half-a-kilogram worse off so should be right there too.
In the fifth race over 1800m Seventh Of June from the in form Paul Peter yard just failed last time from the front over this trip and off only a one point higher mark he can go close again. He does have another tricky draw to overcome but Warren Kennedy now climbs aboard which will give his chances a big boost. Powered Beauty will be a big threat despite going four points up in the merit ratings for his win last time over 1600m because he will appreciate the step up in trip. Corrido goes for a hattrick for the Peter yard and the trip is suitable but he has to overcome a five point raise and Kennedy has jumped ship. Master And Man is always thereabouts and jumps from a plum draw over a suitable trip. Kurt’s Approval’s last win was over this trip and he is better drawn this time so he can be involved despite being four points higher in the merit ratings.
In the sixth race over 1200m What A Red disappointed last time having made an impressive debut on the Highveld but it was not a bad run. She was perhaps a touch handy that day in a race run at a blistering pace so with the blinkers now off she can bounce back as she is likely still ahead of the handicapper. Fictitious should go close with the accomplished 1,5kg claimer Jason Gates aboard as she is off a competitive mark over a suitable course and distance. I Ain’t Trippin is in good form and should be considered and Hear The Trumpet and Only To Win could also earn.
In the seventh race, an apprentice handicap over 1000m, Lithuanian’s Dream was bounced out last time over this trip under this same 4kg claimer and waltzed in start to finish by 4,50 lengths. He has the same number one draw and a maximum eight point raise might not be enough to stop him if the same tactics are employed. Snow In Seattle sneaks into the handicap with the minimum weight and has won over this course and distance before. He has accomplished apprentice Ashton Arries aboard. Battle Creek will be thereabouts if maintaining his recent form and Tripod and Alex The Great also warrant consideration.
In the eighth race over 2000m the in form Alec Laird yard could have a winner with Circle Of Latitude. The last time she went over this trip she stayed on and just failed. After one more run she had a year’s layoff. She has recently had two comeback runs over 1400m and now steps back up to her right trip. She also gets blinkers on. The courageous Rabia The Rebel can be relied on to try her hardest over this suitable trip and she has a fair draw. Pilgrim’s Progress beat Rabia The Rebel by 2,25 lengths last time over this trip but is now 2,5kg worse off and has a tough draw.
The last race over 2000m is tricky. African Sunbird is well drawn and is distance suited so is the selection but all of Emerald Bay, Itsmydarlin, Always Red, Jacko Boy and Angelic Appeal warrant consideration for the Pick 6.
By David Thiselton