From desperately dry to desperately wet within a week. The weather patterns in KZN are so changeable these days that a senior weather forecaster has admitted that even three-day forecasts can be dodgy.
Racing is scheduled for the turf at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Sunday but punters are advised to keep an eye on the weather as a switch to the poly track is a distinct possibility should any more rain add to the 119mm recorded over the past week.
The wet will also have affected training schedules but the Summerveld poly track will have been in high demand this past week.
Mark Dixon holds three high cards for the Pinnacle Stakes that heads the programme where Silent Crusade can confirm that she is a contender for South Africa’s Champions Season that starts in May next year.
Dixon has gone easy on the daughter of Crusade, as she has only her ninth start in two seasons, but she has kicked off the current term on the right note, although Keagan de Melo may disagree.
Parting company with Silent Crusade at Hollywoodbets Scottsville last month will still be fresh in De Melo’s mind. It was a fearful fall and a miracle that he escaped serious injury.
De Melo was back on board the filly at her next start where he rode a cracking finish on the favourite. Tracking the pace, Silent Crusade shifted into top gear 400m out but didn’t look at all comfortable as she hung out and seemingly not too keen to go on with her effort. But De Melo kept hard at her and she gamely held off a charging phalanx headed by Generous Lady and Exclusive Quantity.
That was only her second outing since a break and given the weights and some further improvement she does rate the horse to beat.
Generous Lady will be in opposition again and she followed up that outing with a close-up seventh in a tough handicap against males, beaten under two lengths by GG’s Dynasty.
However, she is 0.5kg worse off with Silent Crusade and although she has the better draw, she does look held.
Michael Roberts, who shares a ring at Summerveld with Dixon, will know exactly what he is up against as he saddles Statute, the fill sister to Vodacom Durban July winner Legislate. The daughter of Dynasty is in good form of late and with a light weight should be competitive. The Dixon-trained She’s A Dream got it all together with a tongue-tie last start. She has ability and also has a light weight. Apprentice Ashton Arries comes out of his time shortly and a win will boost his confidence before he faces the reality of free-lance riding.
Anton Marcus is back in the hunt for the best rides after a lengthy spell on the sidelines and he was quickly on the phone to Duncan Howells for the ride on High Voltage in the first.
At first glance the form may looks a little patchy but if one takes into account that he has some useful feature company form and is still a maiden, Marcus appears to have picked another plum even though Howells is of the opinion that the 1000m may be a touch on the short side.
By Andrew Harrison