Clinton Binda has found a happy hunting ground amongst the lower divisions in KZN of late and Pearl Of Siberia can add to his tally in the Inanda FM88.4 Handicap over 1000m on the Greyville poly today. The gelding took an age to shed his maiden, scoring at his 24th attempt, but to his credit he has been ultra consistent this year, not once further back than third in seven races.
Stretched an extra furlong at Scottsville last time out, Binda removed the blinkers and it nearly paid dividends as Pearl Of Siberia ran the much improved Fives Wild to a neck.
Its back to his preferred trip of 1000m today with the blinkers back on and a handy draw in his favour.
Pearl Of Siberia is currently 5-1 along with Bravo Zulu who was down the field in the race won by Fives Wild, but it was a performance way below his best. He is back over his best course and distance and with Bernard Fayd’Herbe to help him along he should be a big runner. Great Dictator, with Anton Marcus aboard, is 33-10 favourite but Hondo and Panza, who steps out for the 81st time, are also not out of it.
Roy’s Novice has come into her own since reverting to the synthetic surface, winning three on the trot. Last time out she accounted for Arizona Sunset who paid tribute to that form with victory, albeit a narrow one, last Saturday.
Alyson Wright’s Aussie-bred steps up in trip in the sixth but appears to be a late developer and can go in again with Lyle Hewitson aboard.
Julie Dittmer will have other ideas when she saddles Chatty Cathy who has come to hand on the poly and was narrowly beaten over course and distance last time out. These two head the market, 33-10 and 4-1 respectively.
Dennis Drier holds a strong card in the card opener with Land Of Mystery and Liquidity, the latter possibly the pick with stable rider Sean Veale in the irons. The Querari gelding has two sprints to his credit, most recently being out-paced late over 1200m. Given his pedigree, this extended trip looks right up his street and 9-2 looks a juicy price at current odds. Dean Kannemeyer’s runner Capera is at the top of the boards at 28-10. He was narrowly beaten when casting a shoe on his return to KZN and a repeat could see him justify favouritism.
Marcus looks to have landed a plum ride in the opening leg of the PA where he partners Chesney van Zyl’s filly Itsapleasure who caught the eye with a strong finish when second on debut and is understandably 11-10 favourite.
The opening leg of the Pick 6 looks to be a far more difficult affair. Anuchke’s Wings is favourite as she makes her poly debut, bookmakers possibly wary of the Marcus, Glen Kotzen combination, as the form is hardly striking.
Frank Robinson is enjoying a good run with Roy’s Riviera putting up a smart showing last Saturday and Isikhwami Sami will have her supporters. The daughter of Golden Sword steps up to what should be a more suitable trip and Fayd’Herbe, who did the honours aboard Roy’s Riviera, has the ride.
In the fourth, High Green is way overdue after a string of placed runs and given that Lowan Denysschen’s gelding is at the bottom of the handicap he should have a strong chance of finally recording his third win. 7-2 looks a fair price with top weight Blackball (5-2) having to give the consistent High Green 9kg.
Fillies Handicaps are notoriously tricky as reflected in the ante-post market with three horses bracketed on 5-1. Lady Abigail bids for a hat-trick while Josephine Baker will be aiming to go in again along with visiting filly Giglio from the Johan Janse van Vuuren yard.
By Andrew Harrison