Highveld trainers are putting pressure on the locals, especially at the bottom end of scale and Paul Matchett is another trying to make hay when he runs Informative in the card opener at Hollywoodbets Scottsville this afternoon.
Placed in all three starts to date, Informative shows good pace and was only touched off late when coming up empty over the final 100 m in his last start.
However, the Scottsville track is a little more testing than Turffontein and he could face serious opposition from Paul Lafferty’s first timer On The Bayou who has had the benefit of a gallop over the course and distance.
On The Bayou rocketed out of the gate and although this was only a barrier trial, the balance of the runners were left treading water. Stable companion Burmese Ruby made an early attempt to go with his stable companion but the others were left trailing nearly 13 lengths behind.
Time for the trial was not particularly fast but then On The Bayou was never put under pressure and cruised home under Mark Khan who will be in the hot seat again.
Of the balance, Man Of Action was not too far back in open company last outing and can feature again while Live By Night and Mister Minister must also be considered.
In the second, Winter Chill showed up well in his barrier trial behind the filly Maidens Prayer. The latter finished runner-up to recent Gr2 Golden Slipper winner Cockney Pride in her debut which augurs well for the chances of Winter Chill but 9-10 are skinny odds.
Puller holds a strong hand in the seven-horse line-up with Double Espresso and Krisnies Jet also in the field. The betting should provide some indication as to the stable fancy.
Kom Naidoo was a little miffed that Rainbow Unicorn did not make it into the field for the Gr2 Golden Slipper ahead of a couple of maidens and will be looking to make a point in the third.
Castellano and Rainbow Unicorn look principal protagonists in the third. Rainbow Unicorn opened her account from a poor draw last time out but is three gates better off here.
Glen Kotzen is in a terrific vein of form at present and Castellano looks the biggest threat to Rainbow Unicorn. She is drawn even wider than her rival but came from well back when shedding her maiden over 1600m at Greyville and her turn of foot should hold her in good stead.
The fourth is a touch tricky with many going the trip for the first time. Favour (9-2) was not far back in a promising debut and put in a good trial before that. He has the best of the draw and Dean Kannemeyer’s string is hitting its straps. Lyle Hewitson is slowly edging clear in the defence of his national jockey title and teams up with his staunch supporter Sean Tarry with 14-10 ante-post favourite Shango. In spite of having the worst of the draw he has shown up well in two Highveld sprints. The step up in trip should be right up his alley. Duncan Howells can put a spanner in the works with his two runners, All The Way Up and Saipan, both capable of improving on recent form.
Banking in a maiden event over 2400m is a risk but World Cruise (16-10) could fit the bill for the exotics in the fifth. Frank Robinson’s runner is consistent and more importantly proven over the trip. He may be the one to beat. What A Blast has not been far back since Dennis Bosch tried blinkers at his last two but has yet to go the trip. Just Prime and Belle Of Paris also warrant attention.
Don Pierro (7-1) has always been a bit of a handful but Tessa Rich did sterling work to get him settled before winning for her father Gary and his subsequent move to Bosch. The Australian-bred still has his quirks but is talented. He enjoyed the extra ground last start and with a light weight can follow up – but it will be close. Before Noon (4-1) was narrowly beaten by Don Pierro when last they met but was subsequently a touch disappointing on the poly. He can do better here. Brighteyebushytail (14-1) is dropping in the handicap and has improved in blinkers while Walterthepenniless (9-2) has yet to run a bad race in blinkers and should be thereabouts again.
The seventh is wide open. Dallas (5-1) has been consistent and has improved further with blinkers and should go close here. Fives Wild (5-1) is in cracking form for his new stable and was game in defeat last time out. Luke-warm favourite Celebration Rock and Written look pick of the balance.
Finally, Rampancy was green and not far back when starting favourite on debut and could be good value at 5-1 in the ante-post market as she should come on with the experience. Ante-post favourite Innogen (2-1) ran in feature company last start, all of her runs being around the turn. She can improve down the straight course. Wishful Girl Linn has placed in all three starts and has gone well this trip. One to watch is Golden Syrup who has shown signs of coming to hand and can feature with Bernard Fayd’Herbe aboard.
By Andrew Harrison