With most of the Highveld under water and a couple of wash-outs, one hopes that tomorrow’s Vaal meeting holds up. But we toil on in faith and one puzzle punters will need to solve is whether Basadi Faith is fit or good enough to get the better of Chimichuri Run.
These two look the principal contenders in an otherwise competitive sprint that makes up the fourth race. In Chimichuri’s favour is that Sean Tarry has given him two starts so far this season, beaten less than a length in his seasonal debut over 1450m at Turffontein and then finding Hawwaam a little too classy in a Pinnacle Stakes sprint.
Against him is that he may find the five-furlong short cut on the sharp side and with 62 kg to shoulder he is set to give the filly 10.5kg which is a lot of pudding in anyone’s form book.
Basadi Faith on the other hand, has not been out since finishing down the field in the Gr1 Allan Robertson Championship and slapped with an automatic three-month suspension after she bled. Paul Matchett extended that break to six months so Basadi Faith’s lengthy lay-off is of some concern.
She was due to have her first race of the season at The Vaal last Saturday but the meeting fell victim to the weather. Given that she won four on the bounce last season, including the Gr2 SA Fillies Nursery, the break may not be much of an issue over the minimum trip and a light weight could swing it in her favour.
Track & Ball have priced the pair up as joint 2-1 favourites with Rebel’s Champ, who had excuses for his last showing, on offer at 5-1.
Tobefair and Raqaaby, the only two with any decent form to boast about, should fight out the second, first leg of the PA.
Not so easy is the first leg of the Pick 6. Path To The Stars was one-paced on debut but did find some market support and is sure to come on from that effort. Not much was expected of Malvern on debut as she started at long. She was, however, was doing her best work late and can also make the required improvement. Anne Boleyn is another that featured prominently on debut and like the above two is likely to make good improvement.
With eight of the nine runners priced up at 10-1 and shorter, it goes without saying that the fifth will be a tricky contest. Solar Flare has her third run after a break and should strip close to her peak. She showed good pace before fading late last time out and could go all the way over this shorter trip. Arikel has been in good form over the minimum trip and Strydom stays aboard.
The sixth is another difficult race but Pidgeon Rock is in mustard form as is his rider and they should at least contest the finish. Tokolosh at 12-1 looks fair value as the gelding is quick and has been racing in fair company since shedding his maiden. With a light weight he could pinch it. Bockscar along with Pidgeon Rock give Tarry a strong hand in the race. He tends to get going late but under Gavin Lerena he should be closing late. Fitzwilliam has come good for his new stable and cannot be overlooked with any confidence.
The unbeaten Querari Ferrari, in spite of being something of a tricky customer, does have plenty of talent and won well first up out of the maidens Gallic Princess has her third run after a break and has been finishing off her races well. She will be a major contender along with Wild ‘N Grey that won well at second time of asking and will enjoy the extra.
The last is another wide-open affair where Ashbaal has his third run after being gelded and showed signs of life at his last outing when tried in blinkers. Waqaas has won over course and distance and is in very good form. A handy weight should see him staying on.
By Andrew Harrison