Lord Grantham to take on a classy field

PUBLISHED: 16 October 2019

Charles Ndlovu (SportingPost)

The first leg of the annual Workriders Challenge is staged on the Vaal Classic track tomorrow and this meeting is always exciting, especially for the friends and family of the riders who compete for total prize money over the three legs of R50,000.

In the first race over 1000m Lord Grantham has generally bumped good sorts. For example, he stayed on to finish a 6,5 length fourth to Donderweer over this trip last time and the latter then went on to beat a classy field on Saturday. Lord Grantham now faces an uninspiring maiden field and looks the one to beat. Golden Duke could be the chief danger. He has shown pace in both of his races to date and is still green and immature. He has plenty of scope and as he was just 1,40 lengths back last time he should go close. Urban Oasis has some fair form over 1000m so could enjoy the step back down in trip. Anatolio has finished a close up third in both starts with blinkers on over this trip and he should be thereabouts again. Titleist was just 1,25 lengths behind Golden Duke last time over course and distance and can earn again.

Charles Ndlovu (SportingPost)
Charles Ndlovu (SportingPost)

In the second over 1000m Tigermil stormed home on debut over this trip from way off the pace for a one length second, having been outpaced early on. She should be more prominent in the early stages second time out and will in that case be hard to beat. Madame Patrice has been knocking on the door over this trip and can pick up the pieces if Tigermil is left with too much to do. Malteza improved last time in a workrider’s maiden over 1200m where she showed some pace and she can improve further being by Oratorio.

In the third over 1200m Passionate Lad was not disgraced on debut over this trip and should have come on from the run so can beat this uninspiring field. For France stayed on over this trip on debut over 1200m and is a scopey sort so could be the main danger. First-timer Mabella is by the boom sire Vercingetorix out of an unplaced Not For Sale mare and would not have to be a star to beat this field.    

Seraphine is interesting in the fourth race, another uninspiring filles and mares maiden over 1450m. She showed pace with first time blinkers on over the too sharp 1000m last time but would prefer further. If dropped out from a high draw she could run on and go close. Flower Of Scotland and Super Fine both have the form to be able to win this and have fair draws, so they are likely to be the market leaders.   

The fifth race over 1450m could be won by the improving Crime Scene, who wasn’t disgraced on debut over 1160m and then ran a fair third over this course and distance last week. That should be good enough form to win this race although Paul Peter’s usual first choice workrider Charles Ndlovu is aboard the Fabian Habib-trained Kisimu, who has become a bit expensive to follow. Hope For Millions and Pucker Up are fancied to chase Crime Scene home. However, Kisimu and Sea Island can also be included in the Pick 6 and Jackpot. 

In the sixth race Arnica Montana failed at odds of 1/5 last time over 1700m at Greyville, only managing a 0,85 length third. However, he was left with a bit much to do and could be ridden handier from a fair draw of six out of 16 this time. Whipping Boy has improved with gelding and could be the chief threat. Ice Lord showed a fair action in a barrier trial in June when not asked to do a lot. 

In the seventh over 2400m Al Ragnar is the one to beat with Chamu Mabaya aboard. He was stepped up to 1800m last time with blinkers on and charged late to just fail. Being by Captain Al out of a Sadler’s Wells mare he should stay this trip. Petersham has run two fair races over 1800m and will be interesting over this trip. Left Hook has become disappointing as he is capable. He placed in his only start over this trip so is interesting with the blinkers removed.

In the last over 1800m Riqaaby stayed on steadily over 1450m on debut and will relish the step up to this trip. Flagship Fund has been knocking on the door over 1600m and should also enjoy the step up in trip as she is by Jackson whose father Dynasty produced a filly by this mare who won the Listed East Cape Oaks. Gimme A Rock Star was slow away over 1600m last time but managed to stay on into the frame and she can also improve further over this trip.

By David Thiselton