Pace, and the judgement thereof, is going to play a major role at the Vaal tomorrow where four of the eight races are over ground. To complicate matters even further, the starter is faced with small fields so identifying a possible pacemaker will be tricky especially as some of the fields are dominated by horses from the same stable.
This is amply illustrated in the fifth, a maiden over 2400m, where Garry Alexander saddles four of the seven runners. Given the riding arrangements, Tuscan Light with apprentice Denis Schwarz would appear to be the stable principal given that he would have had first choice of rides but both Ritchi and The Jocelyn Tree cannot be ruled out.
Log-leading rider Warren Kennedy is aboard Ritchi who looks the most likely to set the gallop after trying to make all over course and distance last time out, only to come up short behind Therecanonlybeone in a work rider’s race. Kennedy will probably give the filly a more circumspect ride but they may all have to get past Weiho Marwing’s charge, Laconia. On exposed form, Ritchi has her measure, having finished nearly four lengths clear of her rival in the race won by Therecanonlybeone. However, Laconia’s previous form over the trip has been more consistent and with Muzi Yeni back on board, the tables could be turned. But Laconia could have more to fear from Tuscan Light who goes this trip for the first time. She has steady form over shorter and her last outing is best ignored.
In the sixth, Geoff Woodruff saddles the mare Insignis who takes on males. However, she has some useful form in top company to commend her and although she comes off a break she could have too much class for her male rivals, best of whom could be Sean Tarry’s striking grey Lord Silverio. Lightly raced, he has won three of his eight starts and found some inspired betting support when making his return to the track over a distance well short of his best.
Although down the field behind Double ‘O Eight he will much prefer tomorrow’s trip and gets lumps of weight from the mare.
Of the balance, Bize has won three out of six starts and was possibly a touch unlucky last outing which adds to his appeal while Lake Kinneret cruised in last run for the fifth victory of his career.
An evenly matched field faces the starter in the seventh with many of the runners having met recently without any solid form to commend them. It may pay to load up in the exotics in this leg.
Top weight Always Red should enjoy the extra 400m and has gone close at her last two. She has made steady recent improvement and with Alec Laird removing the blinkers she can go one better over the extra two furlongs. Perfect Light is lightly raced and stays the trip while Cranberry Crush stays well and has been close-up in recent outings. She should feature prominently along with stable Il Mondo companion who finished in front of Cranberry Crush when last they met.
The last is another wide open affair but Desert Sunset will just have needed his last run over a distance short of his best. He stays well and has a light weight which ticks some of the boxes. Skiminac steps up to this trip for the first time but finished strongly over shorter last start and the extra could suit. Before Noon has come good over ground and could prove the pick of the Tarry runners with Chariot Of Gold also a contender in a difficult race.
By Andrew Harrison