There were a couple of well fancied runners in the maiden race where Prince Of Persia made his debut and he ran a cracker first up behind Cartel Captain and High Voltage who subsequently both ran in the Gr1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion.
Glen Kotzen’s runner showed good pace on debut and tried hard over the final furlong. With that experience and a drop to 1000m he could prove difficult to beat in the second at Scottsville this afternoon where racing around the turn makes a rare trip on the outside track due to the preparations for the finish of the Comrades Marathon this coming Sunday – the race ending on the inside track.
Quant Master was only run out of it late by Candy Apple on debut and looks a threat while Paul Gadsby’s filly Talia Al Ghul comes out tops in all Computaform ratings and although she takes on males, her pedigree suggests that seven furlongs and further would make her a better proposition.
Work riders are back in action in KZN for the first time in a long while and although the first race is hardly a betting proposition, it should prove something of a spectacle.
Jockeys are supreme athletes when it comes to fitness and even seasoned observers are unaware of the level of fitness it takes to ride a thoroughbred at a full gallop for 1000m let alone anything further.
Riding work is one thing, riding in a race is quite another and a few of these riders will be coming up for air long before the finishing line.
Mike de Kock’s charge, What A Captain, with Aron Xabendlini aboard, is a short-priced favourite but the likes of Great Stohvanen, Callum Dixon riding for his father Mark, and Kom Naidoo’s Peace Train with Tristan Mustard in the irons – his grandfather Leslie successful on Lightning Shot in the 1977 July – both show good pace.
Not a race to plunge in!
Krishnies Jet has earned his owner over R100k in stakes, having finished in the money in more than half of his starts, but he may have to be content with another finish in the shallow end of the purse in the third as Garth Puller’s gelding takes on some fast-improving juveniles, two months off turning three.
Duncan Howells saddles a trio of runners, best of which could be All The Way Up, who caught the eye on debut when finishing just off Toro Bravo. He can do better down the Scottsville straight and looks fair value at around 7-2. Second favourite is Poinciana at 5-2 with Krishnies Jet a little short at 22-10.
Silva’s Fling and Knight Warrior are vying for favouritism in the Natal Property Consultants Maiden, Silva’s Fling having his third outing since being gelded and the blinkers coming off.
The year younger Knight Warrior has been close-up in all three of his starts and will have his supporters while Brilliant Disguise is set to make big improvement on his debut effort over what looks to be a more suitable trip. This trio are the only runners quoted in single figures.
From here on things get progressively more difficult, punters faced with a succession of well-filled handicaps.
It’s 9-2 the field in the fifth with Golden Chance and Dame Kelly topping the boards but there is a lot to like about the chances of the lightly raced Elegant Royal who ran a cracking race behind course specialist High Altar last time out when trying to make all the running. With racing on the outside track, her 13 draw should not affect her chances and 11-1 look fair odds.
Petra was a little disappointing in the KRA Guineas when down the field behind Santa Clara after showing signs that she was back to the promise that she showed earlier in her career. Back in weaker company she can notch a long overdue second win in the sixth.
But it will not be easy, Sunshine Mint is lightly raced and comes off some useful Cape form while Ancient Spirit trialled well and sure to be a factor here.
Ruling the ante-post market is Procrastination who was a recent Durbanville maiden winner when landing short odds but 9-2 does not inspire much confidence about the favourite.
By Andrew Harrison