The Vaal meeting tomorrow features the Listed Spook Express Handicap over 2400m and purists will also be looking forward to race three of the eight events as this sees the promising Ehsaan attempting to exact revenge on another potentially good horse, Got The Greenlight.
Got The Greenlight was defeated by the prospect Frosted Gold on debut and second time out beat Ehsaan over 1200m down the Vaal straight when stealing a march. Ehsaan got going late that day and was finishing fast. Ehsaan duly followed up with a win over 1200m on the Turffontein Inside track. Gavin Lerena will know this time what he has underneath him and will know something about his chief opponent. So Ehsaan is given the nod although there won’t be much in it. De La Cruz could also have a say having won well on debut over 1000m and being one who should relish the step up in trip.
The Spook Express could also turn into a match race between Forest Express and Gottalottaluv. Forest Express is a rangy daughter of Oracy out of a Fort Wood mare. She is improving all the time and has come into her own since being sent back over staying trips, winning two of her last three starts comfortably and narrowly beaten in the other. Her draw of seven out of seven will be tricky and she will require a bit of luck, but if things go her way she is the one to beat. Gottalottaluv has always struck as one with some class but needed maturing. She has now come into her own and has proved she stays this trip when winning her penultimate start over 2400m comfortably.
Last time she was not herself but she is now reunited with Diego De Gouveia, who has been aboard for both of her last two wins. Topweight Silver Thursday has overall been a disappointment since finishing a narrow second in the Gauteng Fillies Guineas last season. The reason why that run was so promising was that she had seemed to be staying type. However, she disappointed in both the SA Fillies Classic and the Oaks when stepped up in trip. She has won over 1800m this season though and has been one-paced in the finish in her last two over 1600m and 1800m respectively in feature races, so she might now be ready to take on a staying trip again.
Earlier in race six Galactic Warrior should get it right over his favourite 1000m trip. This horse was well regarded from day one so has turned out to be a touch disappointing. However, he has not been at all disgraced in his last two races over this trip in stronger fields than this one and he remains on his same 75 merit rating with the same 4kg claimer in the saddle. What A Captain could provide fair value in this race. He has got some pace and as a typically long-striding son of What A Winter he should also be improving. He finished six lengths back to Donny G when he last tried this trip and could have got closer but for having to be switched late. He is now 14 points lower in the merit ratings, so could have a say.
The last leg of the Pick Six looks to be the trickiest race on the card. In this MR 74 Handicap over 1800m Defy Gravity comes out best on formlines. Verdier is not far behind and if Wild Fire settles better than he did last time he can go close from pole position having been transformed by blinkers. However, Kurt’s Approval, Manitoba, Street Flyer, Mambo Symphony and Storm Outgoing also need to be included.
The second leg of the Pick 6 over 1800m could be fought out by Jive Express and Flirty Girty. The former is a three parts sister to Dancewiththedevil, whose multiple Grade 1 victories included the Summer Cup over 2000m, so this filly should relish the step up in trip. Flirty Girty has proven her stamina capabilities and is well drawn.
The next race looks to be a three cornered contest between three improving sorts, Maroon Bells, Lasair and Movie Magic, who should all enjoys the step up to 1800m. They should be enough to get punters through.
By David Thiselton