Khumalo may be the jockey to follow

PUBLISHED: 23 October 2019

Bien Venue (JC Photographics)

The Vaal Classic track has an eight race meeting tomorrow and hopefully the rainfall earlier in the week should have eased the ground.  

In the first over 1200m the first-timer Karino is by Duke Of Marmalade out of Grade 1 Empress Club Stakes winner Stratos, meaning she is a half-sister to Orpheus, the runaway winner of the Listed Sledgehammer. The Azzie yard have described Karino thus, “A nice filly, could run a decent race, will be a bit green.” She will not have to be a superstar to beat this field and jumps from a fair draw with S’Manga Khumalo aboard, so is selected to win on debut. Orchid Express could improve on her first two starts over a step up in trip she will appreciate, provided she gets a better start. Varnica showed pace with first-time blinkers on over 1200m last time and finished third, although she now has a tougher draw. Stormy Weathers will be dangerous with a 4kg claimer on from a good draw. Sapphire Rock has been highly tried so must be well regarded but she still has to live up to it and has a wide draw.

Bien Venue (JC Photographics)
Bien Venue (JC Photographics)

In the second race, a maiden for three-year-old fillies over 1600m, Flower Season has a nice long-striding action and has scope for improvement. She has been thereabouts in all three of her starts from 1160m to 1450m and should appreciate the step up in trip, so is selected to win under S’Manga Khumalo, despite a tricky draw of eight. Fluorescent stayed on from way back over 1200m on debut and will relish the step up in trip, although she has a tricky draw. Bat Orchid stayed on quite well over this trip last time from pole position on the Turffonftein Inside track and could be involved with a repeat from a good draw of two. Flaming Opal ran a cracker in her last start as a juvenile when stepped up to this trip and has a chance on that form, but she has not raced for 131 days and has a tough draw. Super Duper is another to consider having shown improvement to finish third when stepped up to 1600m.

In the third race over 1600m, a MR 88 handicap, Ragoon comes off a run over 2000m where he pulled, brushed the rail and cast a shoe. However, his record over this course and distance is three wins, a second and a third in five starts so he can bounce back. Nordic Rebel looks to be the main danger being 3,5kg better off with Finchattion for a one length beating over this distance. Hidden Agenda has been ultra consistent lately and proved he was up to his current merit rating last time out.

In the first leg of the Jackpot, a MR 72 handicap over 1800m, the promising Heart Stwings has a plum draw and will relish the step up in trip. Big Myth is an effective front-runner and this distance looks ideal but she does have a wide draw. Itsmydarlin has been in fine form, but does have a tough draw here. Plum Field stayed on over 1600m last time and should enjoy this step back up in trip.  Passion Peach ran an encouraging race over 1600m last time and could earn here with a repeat. Picadilly Square is also worth considering.

In the fifth race over 1800m Jive Express has mixed it with the talented Jacko Boy recently and on that form is the one to beat from a good draw under 2,5kg claimer Juglall. Littlewood was a head in front of Jive Express in the latter race but is effectively 2,5 kg worse off due to Juglall’s  claim. Illuminate ran a good race with first time blinkers on over 2000m last time and is 1,5kg bettter off with Circle Of Latitude for a 1,15 length beating. Circle Of Latitude is well drawn but was well beaten by Jive Express and Littlewood last time out over 2000m. Pink and No More Words can be considered.

The sixth race, a Graduation Plate over 1000m, Crown Guardian is a talented speedster and is the best weighted male in the race. The race sees the return of Grade 2 Golden Horseshoe third-placed Invidia. He has won over this trip and is the second best weighted male. Scoop is only half-a-kilogram worse off with Invidia accoridng to official merit ratings and can earn. Snow Palace is the best weighted runner but might find this a touch sharp. Singforafa is better weighted than any of the males and will enjoy this trip. 

In the seventh race over 1200m Hear The Trumpet has dropped to a competitive mark and has a 4kg claimer up so looks the one to beat. Rosalina and Nordic Queen come off good races over this trip and look to be the chief dangers.

In the last race, a Maiden Handicap over 1450m, Gentleman’s Wager has caught the eye a couple of times. This long-striding sort should not mind the drop in trip considering he quickened some way from home last time out when just failing over 1800m. He does have a tricky draw but jockey Chase Maujean is particularly good when coming from off the pace. Stone Judgement ran two good races over sprints and then found little extra 1600m, so he should enjoy the step down in trip. Whipping Boy has also disappointed over 1600m, twice, but if reproducing his previous run over 1400m when running on from far back he could be in the shake up.

By David Thiselton