The eight race meeting on the Turffontein Inside course should provide plenty of interest as there are some decent prospects turning out.
In the first race Date Palm was dropped out from the widest draw of all on debut over course and distance and ran on well for fifth, 4,25 lengths behind the promising Port Key. He is the only one of the first six in that race to have not run since and every one of the other five won next time out, so the form has been franked over and over again. Warren Kennedy is up and the horse should have improved so if he manages to drop him out again he should run on again and go close.
Arnica Montana looks to have ability having gone close from a wide draw over 1450m on debut. S’Manga Khumalo is one of the best jockeys in the country and keeps the ride from a slightly better draw, nine out of 14 instead of nine out of ten. This three-year-old gelding’s sire Flower Alley fathered a Kentucky Derby winner so he should enjoy the step up in trip and will be staying on strongly again. Those two can get punters through the Bipot.
In the second race over 2600m Il Mondo is officially 2,5kg under sufferance but carries a featherweight and caught the eye as a stayer with some ability when staying on strongly to win her penultimate start over 2400m. She now has the accomplished Marco van Rensburg up and has a shout. Factor Fifth has topweight but has shown good form over staying trips and should come into her own this season being a daughter of Marchfield, so she looks to be the other one to include in the PA and Bipot.
The third over 1200m sees an intriguing clash between Wisteria Walk and Balletto. The former won over this trip by ten lengths and the latter by a cosy three lengths on their respective debuts. Looking at collateral form, Wisteria Walk beat a horse called Kisimu by eleven lengths and Balleto beat that same horse by six, so even with Wisteria Walk having to give Balletto 1,5kg she comes out ahead. However, Balletto is drawn in pole and as a smaller, athletic sort should be suited to this tight track, while the bigger, more scopey Wisteria Walk might have to rely on a strong finish to overhaul Balletto after jumping from a draw of four. Balletto gets the vote albeit narrowly.
In the next race the Paul Peter and Warren Kennedy combination are in fine form at present and the progressive Lighthearted looks capable of overcoming a four point raise for his last win over this suitable 1450m trip. African Rock has gone close over this 1450m course and distance before and from pole position can use his front-running style to full advantage. Lazarus Tree has always struck as one with plenty of ability but his record of three wins and only one place is reflective of his inconsistency. He has to be included in case he has an on day.
In the fifth race Heartstwings has struck as one with plenty of scope from day one so he should continually improve this season. She looks to be off a reasonable handicap mark and it depends whether Kennedy can overcome a draw of eleven, because if he is able to she should stay on strongly. Viscountess Vivien won well over this trip last time and this Duke Of Marmalade filly’s breeding suggests she will now start coming into her own so she can progress from here. The Sash is unbeaten in two starts over this trip so has a chance from a fair draw, although she does have to bounce back from two below par runs over shorter and has been given zero relief by the handicapper for those efforts.
In the sixth race over 2600m American Indian is developing into a useful sort and in his previous attempt at a staying trip he ran on well and just failed to beat the smart stayer Horace despite giving the latter 2kg. That form should be too good for this field. The back up could be Indy Ice as he has always struck as promising and a good win over 2400m last time when running on strongly suggests he could be coming into his own and will also enjoy the step up in trip. Fact can’t be ignored either as a progressive stayer from the yard of Weiho Marwing, renowned for his expertise with stayers.
In the seventh race over 2000m Jagesa Jagesa is drawn in pole and after losing two lengths at the start and running on for third over 1800m last time he looks cherry ripe to succeed over this trip as long as he jumps on terms. Prince Of Promise had not had much luck before his last start and proved it by winning that 1800m contest at healthy odds of 15/2. S’Manga Khumalo stays aboard from a middle draw and he could earn again off a four point higher mark. Flattley shouldn’t be far behind Prince Of Promise on paper and is now off a competitive mark.
In the last race over 1800m Matloob came out of a strong maiden race over 1600m to win going away over that same 1600m trip and off an attractive merit rating can follow up from a plum draw over a step up in trip which should suit him down to the ground being by Silvano out of a Giant’s Causeway mare. He is made the best bet on the card as he should be able to find the box seat behind what looks to be a good paced race.
By David Thiselton