The Vaal Classic track has nine races for punters to look forward to tomorrow and there look to be some opportunities although it is generally competitive racing.
In the first race over 1000m May Queen dwelt on debut over 1160m before taking a hefty bump. She then made up ground quickly without too much effort before being run out of it late. She is a solidly built daughter of the promising sire Skit Skizzle and will take some beating if jumping on terms. The Sean Tarry-trained Dark Song makes most appeal of the first-timers. This Drakenstein Stud-bred filly is by the ill-fated Kingsbarns, who produced the Grade 1 winner Gabor in his first crop, and is out of a three-time winning Western Winter mare from 1000m to 1200m who was also Listed placed. She has been priced up as 3/1 favourite ante-post and May Queen is third favourite at 11/2.
In the second over 1000m Anatolio is the form horse of those to have raced but is no great shakes and will be vulnerable to any decent first-timer. Var Aglow is by Var out of Jet Master mare Jet Aglow, the Grade 1 Paddock Stakes runner up who also won a Grade 3 and Listed event, and Kennedy is an eye-catching booking. Bergerac is by Var out of a one-time winning Australian-bred by Dylan Thomas. Those two make most appeal of the first-timers. Bergerac has the Sean Tarry factor and has been priced up as favourite by WSB.
In the third over 1450m Fire To The Rein moved up well on debut over 1200m from some way back to be beaten only a neck. He should relish the step up in trip and is drawn well in two so will be hard to beat. Dads Roots has shown some ability and is well drawn in his return from a rest, gelding and a change of yard, so he could earn. Cairon is the only first-timer and makes some appeal being by Twice Over out of Sue For Peace, a five-time winning Western Winter speedster who has produced a two-time winner.
In the first leg of the Pick 6 over 1450m, Category Four is a progressive sort who would likely prefer further and has a tough draw. However, he has a nice action and is coming into his own so is selected as he is effective over this trip. Stop For Nothing showed good improvement with blinkers on over this trip last time when flying up from last to win his maiden. He has been accorded a reasonable merit rating and has a middle draw so has a chance of following up. Irrevocable Dream looks promising and should relish the step up in trip but he has not raced for 84 days.
In the first leg of the Jackpot over 1450m the improving Kapama could be the one to beat facing an uninspiring field. She has flown home in her last two starts over this category of trip to be beaten half-a-length and a length respectively and the small field should suit her as she will have less ground to make up. By the same token a small field will suit Black Tie, who was transformed last time by a change of headgear to blinkers and new front-running tactics. The other jockeys were caught napping in that race and off a reasonable opening handicap mark Tejash Juglall will try and repeat the tactic.
The sixth race could see a banker in Gemcutter, or it is otherwise wide open. The Var gelding won three out of four in Zimbabwe and on his South African debut he ran on well from an unfavourable low draw. He should have come on from that run and has changed yards to Paul Matchett. He has a fair draw of four and should be right there. Hartleyfour has always been well regarded and after finishing strongly to win comfortably over course and distance last time he can overcome a three-point raise. However, he does have a tougher draw this time so might have to be dropped out and will have to produce an even better finish. Snow In Seattle is also widely drawn but mowed them down from near last down the straight over 1160m in his penultimate start and off a three point higher mark should be able to go close if bouncing back from his below par run over 1000m last time. Hot August will finish close to Hartleyfour on paper being 1,5kg better off for a 1,5 length beating. Baahir is 3kg better off with Hartleyfour for a 2,75 length beating and this honest sort is capable of popping up.
In the seventh race over 1600m Ragoon was a promising sort at one stage and won three races but then lost his way a bit. However, he has now joined the high-flying Paul Peter yard and with Warren Kennedy up appears to be the stable elect. He is off a competitive merit rating and all three of his wins have been over this course and distance, although he does have a tough draw to overcome. Stablemate Defy Gravity has been knocking hard and is well drawn but the only concern is this trip is on the sharp side. I Am Batman has shown promise and put in good work late last time with first time cheek pieces on so could be involved. However, this race is very open and it is best to go as wide as possible.
In the eighth over 2000m topweight Jacko Boy makes plenty of appeal. She had to be switched last time and was making rapid inroads into Jive Express’s lead over this trip and is now half-a-kilogram better off for a head beating. She is progressive and can beat Jive Express with Always Red next best although there is very little between all three on paper.
In the last race over 2400m In For A Penny’s good draw will suit her front running style and she comes out well on form lines too. However, Gold Griffin and Slay The Dragon are must includes too.
By David Thiselton