The arrival of many long-shots at recent Hollywoodbets Greyville meetings these past couple of weeks has made it difficult for an army of punters. However, the flip side is decent pay outs for those that got it right. But it is another one of ‘those’ cards on the poly at the same venue today and although the field sizes are relatively small, it has not made finding winners any easier.
With the Western Cape Summer season on the horizon one could reasonably speculate that Sunset Eyes would have a date with some of the big sprint races during their season. But Brett Crawford elected to keep the gelding in KZN with assistant Peter Muscutt after his win in the Umgeni Handicap on the last Saturday of last season.
Sunset Eyes romped home in that race, beating Filippo who will be in opposition again today. In contrast, Yogas Govender has kept Filippo on the boil since the Umgeni Handicap and may strip the fitter horse this afternoon. He followed up his Umgeni second with victory at Scottsville and turned in a useful effort in a strong Pinnacle Stakes last time out, finish just over a length back to the promising Ultra Magnus.
Govender has declared blinkers on his charge for the first time, no doubt on the advice of regular pilot Sherman Brown, so there should be very little between Filippo and Sunset Eyes.
The balance of the eight-horse field have smart sprint credentials so it would be unwise to write any of them off lightly although it would be pointless going through their individual credentials, but Filippo and Sunset Eyes look the principal contenders.
After two good showings in barrier trials, admittedly eight months apart, James Peter made his debut as favourite early last month over course and distance and can get punter’s off to a good start. In spite of his two educationals in barrier trials, the penny still had to drop for Gavin van Zyl’s runner on debut and he arrived on the scene too late to trouble Treading Water.
With that experience under his girth he can make amends in the card opener.
The second is something of a head-scratcher. Annaberg has shown up well in both starts to date and from a good draw should contest the finish although she faces difficult opposition. Arianos Spinner has improved at her last two on the poly and has a good draw while At Your Request needed her last run, her first for a new stable. She makes her poly debut and is one to watch in the betting. Trap Queen makes her local debut after showing some improvement at her last two in the Cape and is another in with a winning chance.
Unlike some trainers with big strings where the attrition rate is not always of paramount importance, small yards have to nurture what they have. Mai Tai has been off the track since June after pulling up lame in the Devon Air stakes, some four lengths off the winner, that after making a winning debut. Wayne Badenhorst will have been ever cautious with what is possibly the best horse in his small string and has picked a race with a favourable draw.
Dive Captain and Accidental Tourist should be there to pick up the pieces should Mai Tai let the side down.
By Andrew Harrison