Mount Anderson gave hope for local participants in South Africa’s Champion Season Classics and Guru’s Pride could be added to that list after tonight’s meeting at Hollywoodbets Greyville. Gavin van Zyl’s gelding lines up in the Soccer Any 15 Handicap on the poly and although he steps up in class, he does appear to have a touch of class himself.
“He’s a very, very nice horse,” confirmed Van Zyl after his recent win. “The owners can look forward to some fun.”
“He came up on us a bit when he won over 1000m. I think the Natal (KZN) Guineas will be the ideal race for him.”
“I rode work on him on Monday and thought ‘wow this is a nice horse.’ I was very confident going into this race,” according to stand-in pilot Serino Moodley who was deputising for stable rider Warren Kennedy that day.
Guru’s Pride put to bed a fairly smart field in that race and looks capable of taking the step up in spite of the presence of the more experienced and exposed older runners Caliente, Gimme Peace and Q The Music.
If he can’t, then the swan may just be an ordinary goose.
An indication of Guru’s Pride’s chance could come early where African Sunrise, second when the two met, lines up in a Novice Plate, second race on the card.
However, Wendy Whitehead’s gelding was clearly second best behind Guru’s Pride but prior to that hacked up in his maiden. A win for African Sunrise will add plenty of gloss to Guru’s Pride’s prospects but a better proposition could come in the form of Nathan Kotzen’s runner, Arizona Silk.
He has been close-up in useful older company and a repeat of his narrow defeat to Stream Ahead three runs back will put him in with a strong chance.
The filly Electric Surge and the consistent Lundy’s Lad are others to consider.
Lowly fillies and mare’s handicaps are seldom races to plunge on and the Track & Ball Gaming Handicap poses similar problems and is not a race to cut down on expenses. But the two who could fight it out are Satin Slipper and Ms Rosa Parks. The two met last time out with Mr Rosa Parks finishing two lengths ahead of tonight’s rival who jumped from the extreme outside gate. Satin Slipper is also 2kg better off and drawn inside of Ms Rosa Parks which should bring them a lot closer together.
Brave Lass looks capable of getting off the mark in the fifth, a modest maiden field. Lightly raced, she has come into her own recently and the trip holds no fears. Duchess Of Malfi, having her first run in KZN and also making her poly debut, started favourite for Glen Kotzen but a wide draw and an unfamiliar surface may have been her undoing. Anton Marcus has picked up the ride and replaces Warren Kennedy who has switched to Brave Lass which could prove a subtle pointer. Of the balance, Sacred Blues was a little disappointing last run after a much improved previous sprint but she jumps in trip and is one to watch.
By Andrew Harrison