The weather has played havoc with racing north of the Orange River. As parts of the country buckle under a devastating drought, other parts are floating to the sea as torrential rain makes racing virtually impossible.
Continuous rain during the week was enough to flood the Hollywoodbets Greyville poly with nearly 400mm recorded in three days. As a result, tonight’s scheduled meeting on the turf has been switched to the poly.
According to the early market, Duchess Of Windsor is virtually home-and-hosed in the first. Track & Ball has Johan Janse van Vuuren’s filly priced up at 4-10 According to the early market, Duchess Of Windsor is virtually home-and-hosed in the first. Track & Ball has Johan Janse van Vuuren’s filly priced up at 4-10 with only Mystery Trip and Imperial Seal in single figures, bracketed on 8-1.
Duchess Of Windsor arrives with solid Highveld form to back her claims and the presence of Anton Marcus in the saddle will have further shortened her price.
Nathan Kotzen is enjoying a good run of late and Mystery Trip could prove the biggest threat. Donovan Dillon replaces a claiming apprentice and she can do much better than her last effort.
Imperial Seal has been consistent for Lowan Denysschen but she will need to improve on her recent showings if she is to have the measure of Duchess of Windsor.
Duncan Howells endured ‘one-of-those-days’ at Scottsville on Sunday, two runners being badly hampered and a third touched off in a tight finish. He will be hoping for better luck with Brilliant Disguise in the second and has cut his odds with Marcus engaged from a pole position draw. Running on well behind shock winner Bordeaux last time out, his first outing since being gelded, the 1600m should be right up his ally.
However, 12-10 looks a tad short with Master Vision knocking at the door having finished a close-up second in his last two with championship-leading rider Warren Kennedy aboard although the 11 draw is something of a concern.
Sherman Brown teams up with the Howells runner All The Way Up in the hope of a quick double for the Ashburton-based trainer. The gelding has shown marked improvement since racing in a tongue-tie and was a touch unlucky behind What A Blast in his latest outing.
But he will not have things his own way. Stuart Ferrie, deputising for Dennis Drier while the boss is in Cape Town, saddles Holy Land. Granted, the gelding has not been out for two months but has seldom been far off the pace and this shorter trip may suit.
Gentleman’s Wager will need more than a handshake from the opposition to get home in the fourth, a highly competitive handicap. But Janse van Vuuren’s runner has come good of late and has a top rider aboard. Seasoned trainer Pat Lunn oversees the stable which in its self is a big plus.
Sea Sponge and Justfortheepenny strike as likely threats in an open race.
The fifth is another difficult handicap. Green Ice and the younger Arrabiata look to be the principal contenders with Zerina, a 14-1 shot on the books, a must inclusion in all exotics.
Born To Perform made a late start to his racing career and given his pedigree, there must have been plenty of faults with his R55 000 price tag.
But Dennis Bosch has been around the block a few times and has coaxed the best out of the gelding that boasts five wins from just seven starts. But it starts to get tougher as one climbs the ladder and the consistent GG’S Dynasty, beaten by Born To Perform last time out, is now 1 kg better off and goes into the contest on the back of two smart warm-up races.
Gary Rich is concerned that Connect Me will find the 1400m of the seventh on the short side but has been hard-pressed to find another suitable race. However, she has done little wrong of late and 5-1 strike as fairly generous odds.
The last is another nightmare but Mademoiselle can round of a productive night for Janse van Vuuren and Pat Lunn.
By Andrew Harrison