Good draw puts Fort Ember in contention

PUBLISHED: 05 April 2019

Fort Ember (Nkosi Hlophe)

The nine race meeting at Turffontein Standside tomorrow features the Grade 2 Colorado King Stakes over 2000m in which a few horses will be putting up their hands for a berth in the Vodacom Durban July.

The race is run under weight for age conditions plus a 2kg penalty for a Grade 1 win and a 1kg penalty for a Grade 2.

Fort Ember is an effective front-runner who lacks early pace so a good draw is vital and she has landed one here. Last year in this race she carried a Grade 2 penalty to second place behind Coral Fever from draw nine of nine and now has no penalty, so will be a big runner. She is the third best in at the weights. 

Fort Ember (Nkosi Hlophe)
Fort Ember

Sylvan On Fire won well in her last start over course and distance. She has a good turn of foot so can be dropped out from a wide draw. She is 2,5kg under sufferance with the best weighted Secret Potion but is in better form than the latter. 

Cash Time is 7kg under sufferance with Secret Potion but caught the eye last time when rallying late with first time blinkers on in the Listed Drum Star Handicap over 1800m. He should relish the course and distance and is drawn well in two. Furthermore, Piere Strydom keeps the ride.

The second best weighted horse is Dawn Assault and he is ideally course and distance suited having finished second in the G-Bets Summer Cup. He has had some tough races this season and ran a lacklustre race last time in the Drum Star. However, he is courageous and had an even worse draw than this one in the Summer Cup, so is tough to ignore.

Divine Odyssey is better than his overall form suggests and proved it last time when winning the Drum Star despite having been under sufferance. He is 7,5kg under sufferance with Secret Potion here but if having another on day it would be no surprise to see him going close.

The Dazzler is well regarded but does have a tough draw over this ideal course and distance. He is 1,5kg better off with Drum Star winner Divine Odyssey for a two length beating but does have a tough draw. 

Secret Potion won last season’s Grade 1 SA Fillies Classic and is a classy, long-striding sort who is ideally course and distance suited. She likely needed her last start when downfield in the London News over 1800m on January 6, beaten eight lengths by Dawn Assault, but she might need this run too.

Liege and Social Order have shown their capabilities over this course and distance before. Liege won the Summer Cup last season and Social Order was a close third in this race last year. 

However, they both have clouds hanging over them. Liege is off form and Social Order was reported making a breathing noise when finishing last in the Drum Star.

It is a tough race to assess but the selection is Fort Ember to beat Sylvan On Fire with Cash Time, Dawn Assault and Divine Odyssey next best. 

The second feature is the Grade 3 Sycamore Sprint, a handicap for fillies and mares over 1160m.

Schippers is the one to beat. She has won three times and finished second twice over course and distance and comes off a fine fourth to Mardi Gras in the Grade 2 Senor Santa over course and distance. 

Pretty Penny is coming into her own and has a favourable high draw by trends. 

Desert Rhythm is 1kg better off with Pretty Penny for a quarter of a length beating and is interesting with blinkers on. 

Dancing Queen has turned the corner and represents the flying Roy Magner yard. 

See You Tyger won well over 1000m last time and was going away at the line. She sneaks into the handicap with the minimum weight so must have a shout. 

San Fermin has always been held in high regard and having won well last time she might now be coming into her own and can’t be ignored. 

In an open race Mary O’Reilly and Covered In Snow are hard to leave out.

By David Thiselton