The Vaal Classic track usually provides fair racing and good form results, although tomorrow’s nine race meeting is competitive and those who do their homework should enjoy healthy dividends.
The Pick 6 legs are all tough.
The first leg is the highest rated race on the card, a MR 96 Handicap sprint over 1 200m, and any one of the six contenders could win.
The vote goes to bottom weight Premier Show as he gets on well with Calvin Habib and has dropped to an attractive merit rating.
He has a nice galloping weight of 55kg and this is his favourite distance. Valbonne has Gavin Lerena aboard and will go close to claiming his third win since joining Roy Magner’s yard for despite not being the biggest he has speed and some class.
However, he does have to overcome a three point hike for his last win.
Old Man Tyme has his second run after gelding and has the ability to be a contender, although he does tend to make breathing noises.
Donny G obviously enjoys the current fast ground as he finished strongly last time over 1 000m and just failed.
This is probably his best trip and he can be involved if overcoming the highest draw of all.
American Hustle at his best would be the horse to beat but he has run below par this winter and has not been lowered by the handicappers so will need to bounce back to his best.
Clever Guy is only 2kg better off with Valbonne for a five length beating so is up against it.
The second leg is a 1 600m Maiden Plate for fillies mares and the selection is Flying High, although there is reason to exercise caution in supporting her.
She is a full sister to Maleficent, who looked top class when winning the Devon Air Stakes over 1 400m at Hollywoodbets Greyville. However, she never went close to reproducing that run again.
Flying High comes out of a strong 1 200m race in which she was a runner up by just a length to Risk Taker.
The latter and the third-placed horse in that race have both won since.
Flying High has substance and on running style and pedigree should enjoy this trip but she does have a tough draw of nine.
Another young three-year-old Queen Of Soul could be a threat as she caught the eye last time over 1 450m.
She was wide and well back in the running and ran on steadily in the straight and should relish this step up in trip although she does have another tricky draw.
Incognito stayed on steadily last time over 1 200m and is likely also looking for this trip.
Forever Indigo looks to have plenty of scope so should be improving and will be dangerous from the front.
She can reverse form with the older and more exposed Sea Like Glass, although the latter warrants consideration as she shows tremendous improvement last time over this course and distance when staying on from a handy position and he has a a similar draw and the same jockey aboard.
Our Buscuit, on her best form, also has a chance.
In the third leg, a MR 94 Handicap over 1 600m, Arabian Air is an effective front runner who has done well in the Highveld since moving up from the Cape.
He became involved in a battle last time with Approach Control and the less considered Tierra Del Fuego snuck past them down the inside to win it.
This time the same could happen as the handy to front-running sort Folk Dance is in the field.
The one who will be a big danger to them is Lake Kinneret as he packs a strong finish and was a touch unlucky when last running over this trip as he had to be switched inward to avoid traffic problems. However, Lone Survivor went past Lake Kinneret last time over 1 450m and is another who should be in the mix.
Folk Dance is proving competitive off her current mark and Royal Italian, with first-time blinkers on, will have a shout over this suitable trip if this revitalizes him.
The next leg is a MR 76 handicap over 1 450m for fillies and mares and Westwing Belter has shown promise before and showed signs of her promise again when fitted with a tongue tie last time.
This step up in trip should suit although she does have a tricky draw.
Walnut Dash is drawn well and went close the last time she went over this course and distance.
Sammi Moosa is capable of a strong finish and can run on from a wide draw Samarra’s last run didn’t pan out well and she has a firm chance.
The two bottom weights Kapama and Picadilly Square are both under sufferance but are in good form and can be included.
The eighth race is a nightmare to assess and any of the nine horses could win with the exception of Gonnafly.
However, Fitzwilliam is selected on the grounds he was so highly rated he started favourite in the Gatecrasher Stakes as a two-year-old against the like of Soqrat and Barahin.
A breathing issue was the probable reason for the below par run and the subsequent layoff, but he is now stepping back up to a more suitable trip after a couple of fair comeback runs.
In the last leg, a MR65 Handicap over 2 000m the top weight El Sereno looks the firm choice and could be pressed by Waqaas.
By David Thiselton