The Vaal straight course has an eight race meeting tomorrow and with three staying races, a handicap sprint and two fillies and mares 1 600m handicaps making up the Pick 6 there should be a big dividend.
In the first race over 1400m the long-striding Duke Of Marmalade gelding Lord Melbourne has been backed in but on the downside the in-form Marco van Rensburg is out for up to six weeks with a fractured collarbone and this is one of the first good rides he misses out on. He has been replaced by Mathew Thackeray. Lord Melbourne lost a length on debut over 1200m and ran on well for third and he should appreciate this step up in trip.
In the second race over 2 000m Ideal Wolff will relish the step up in trip and is progressive.
Magic Duke caught the eye staying on well over 1 600m on debut and although out of a National Emblem Grade 3 Poinsettia Stakes winner this Duke Of Marmalade gelding looks likely to enjoy the trip. Ideal Man disappointed last time but was found to have a nasal discharge.
If he finds the form of his debut when second over this trip to Imperial Ruby, he should be right there.
In the third race over 2 400m Heliocentric is n interesting runner as she looks to be crying out for this trip having plugged on over 1 600m last time.
She is by Visionaire out of Windrush mare Zodwa, who won over 2 600m. Wishonaire placed second over this course and distance in her penultimate start, albeit in a slow time.
Stratplan Dora has stayed on over 2 000m on the Hollywoodbets Greyville poly before despite being a bit headstrong, so has a chance here if settling.
Lightoftheunicorn was staying on over 2 000m last time after a slow start although was still five lengths back at the line and being by Gimmethegreenlight out of a Count Dubois mare who won from 1 000m to 1 450m she is not a certainty to stay. Grey Flyer tried 2 600m last time and did not have a smooth passage so can be given another chance.
Artscape has to be considered for the Pick 6 in this uninspiring field.
in the next race over 2 400m Emerald Bay has just failed in her last two starts over this trip and runs off the same mark as last time, although she does have a wide draw.
The Sash moved up before finding no extra last time and is now 2,5kg better off with Alicante for a two length beating. Alicante is 2kg worse of with Emerald Bay despite beating her by only a head, although she is a three-year-old so will be improving.
However, she comes out here three days after finishing ten lengths back in the Listed Ormond Ferraris Oaks Trial on Saturday which was run in testing going. Pink could be involved if using more conservative tactics than last time when leading in her first try at this trip and being beaten just four lengths by Alicante.
Ever Fair won her maiden easily over 2000m and must carry topweight in her first attempt at this trip.
Glamarous Scandal is four points higher than her mark when winning over this trip but could earn.
Wings Of Light could earn if reproducing her best.
The Joceleyn Tree won her maiden easily over this course and distance, albeit in a slow time.
In the next race, a Middle Stakes event over 2 800m, Fife will have to be bankered considering the difficulty of the rest of the card.
She won a Middle Stakes event easily over 2400m last time and now carries only 52,5kg and has a 2,5kg claimer aboard too. She is officially best in at the weights and has a classy pedigree being by Silvano out of Grade 1 Empress Club Stakes winner Stratos. Master And Man looks to be the back up for the risk averse.
In the sixth race over 1 000m Palace Assembly might find this a touch sharp but will be finishing strongly and with the recent rains the likely testing going could be in his favour.
Galactic Warrior will enjoy the step back down to the minimum trip.
Ring Of Fire is ultra consistent over this trip and is a must include.
Aqua Delta overraced over 1 200m in his first run as a gelding and is interesting dropped in trip.
Greasepaint is nine-years-old but goes for a hattrick under Piere Strydom.
Big Blue Marble is full of ability but tends to ruin it by being headstrong so he is interesting returning from a layoff. Touch Of Fate, Isphan, Battle Creek, Topmast and Mr Whatson are hard to ignore.
In the seventh race over 1 600m Ex’s ‘N Ohs has a 2,5kg claimer up and will enjoy the step back to this trip.
Circle Of Latitude has some class and will enjoy the step back down in trip. Elusive Force won easily from the front in the maidens last time and starts off
handicapping off a reasonable 82 merit rating.
Soul Of Wit has been right there in her last two starts including with the saddle slipping last time.
Afrostar has come down to a competitive merit rating. Loaralei is the favourite and represents the lethal Peter/Kennedy combination.
In the last race over 1 600m Fly North won going away over 1 400m last time so can overcome a four point raise if enjoying this trip.
Charlie’s Jet overraced over 2 000m last time and is interesting dropped in trip. Tigermil was plugging on over 1 200 last time and might be looking for this trip. Westwing Belter has been disappointing but has plummeted down the merit ratings and can start threatening a win.
Picadilly Square has a form chance.
Serendipity and Midnight Top are hard to ignore.
By David Thiselton