Lyle Hewitson and Muzi Yeni take their title fight to Kenilworth today with Yeni on 185 and leading the current champion by one after yesterday’s Flamingo Park treble.
Four-time champion Anton Marcus takes the day off but, with 180 on the board and an infinitely better strike rate, his shadow looms ominously over the other two.
The tireless Yeni is not far short of 1 600 rides so far this term and Hewitson (who missed the early part of the season) has ridden in some 1 325 races. Marcus, an astute judge of form who picks his rides accordingly, has had just over 600 rides.
Hewitson rides in all eight races today and, according to the bookmakers at least, he has the stronger hand with one favourite (Russet Air), a joint favourite (Lesedi La Rona) and a second favourite whereas Yeni, with five rides, partners favourite Stormin Norman in the first and one joint second favourite.
Stormin Norman does not have much to spare over Matchless Captain (who disappointed last time, possibly because he got worked up down at the pens) and Fighter but Joey Ramsden is fitting blinkers and that may just swing the balance.
Fortunately the ground will not be as soft as it was on Saturday when the change in going cost punters dear but there will be a bit more give in it than at earlier meetings so backers need to tread carefully.
Lesedi La Rona is 33-10 joint favourite with stable companion Crowded House and Vaughan Marshall’s Charge D’Affaires for the Play Soccer 6 Pinnacle but she was beaten nearly 11 lengths in the Olympic Duel and over six in the Sweet Chestnut on her previous start. Candice Bass-Robinson is fitting blinkers and a tongue tie in a bid to get her back to her best.
Glen Kotzen is responsible for three of the six runners and his trio come out best on adjusted ratings. However they have all been off since January and February. Crowded House is, theoretically at least, the worst in at the weights but she has good recent form and has won with give in the ground so she gets the vote.
Hewitson has a good chance on 9-2 chance Indian Song for the Bass-Robinson stable in the Tellytrack.com Handicap but the Snaiths have a high opinion of Sleeping Single. True, she has gone up three points for last time’s win – and it was only by half a length – and she has not raced on anything softer than good but the 33-10 favourite is a name to note and hopefully she can make it three on the bounce here.
By Michael Clower