Today’s meeting at the Vaal could see Highveld race fans off to a good start for the New Year.
In the first race over 1000m Due Diligence made a fair debut when plugging on from a handy position for second. She should come on from the run and is the best of those to have raced.
However, she faces a couple of well bred first-timers. Indigo Moon by Indigo Magic is a full-sister to the Listed runner up Prince Of Orange and is a half-sister to twice Grade 3-winner Astro News. She represents the flying Paul Peter/Warren Kennedy combination. Varina should have plenty of precocious speed being by Var out of Hidden Beauty, who won the SA Fillies Nursery and later finished runner up in the Grade 1 Empress Club Stakes among other successes.
In the second over 1000m Dubawi Princess is a strongly built daughter of Willow Magic and after a slow start was green and tailed off on debut over this course and distance. However, she took off late and was flying at the finish to close the gap to 5,35 lengths. With a better start she will be hard to beat. Tsitsikamma Girl should have precocious speed being by Captain Of All, whose Grade 1 wins included the Gold Medallion, out of a Listed runner up over 1000m by Var. Fire And Ice by Noble Tune is a half-brother to Grade 1 Cape Fillies Guineas winner Mississippi Burning and he ran on well last time for third so could place again with first time blinkers on, although he does have a low draw which is sometimes unfavourable on this course.
In the third over 1400m Dual At Dawn is a long-striding colt by Pomodoro who stayed on well over this 1400m trip on debut and she is the one to beat. Friends Forever is a big horse with scope for improvement and can reverse form with Crazy Charlie.
In the first leg of the Pick Six Zig Zag has some substance and stayed on over 1200m on debut. She will relish this step up in trip and it’s not a strong field. Curious and Semper Fi look the best of the rest.
In the fifth over 1400m Nebraas is a big, long-striding sort by Vercingetorix and after a powerful finish over 1200m on debut she is going to be hard to beat here over 1400m. Trend Master has been knocking on the door and has faced some useful sorts so is also a must include.
In the next over 1400m Miss Khalifa is tipped without much confidence. Her best form over this trip is relatively good and she has Warren Kennedy up but she does gave the sometimes unfavorable number one draw. Oceania did well over 1160m last time and now runs over a course and distance she has won over. However, it is wide open and Maddox Tune, Peaceontherocks, Serendipity and as many others as possible must be included.
In the seventh over 1000m Lady Of Steel won well on debut and is the one to beat, although Florence, who has improved dramatically since a layoff could well get the hattrick. Anne Boleyn won well second time out and must be included and Tigermil and Malteza warrant consideration.
In the eighth over 1000m Land Of The Brave has proved to be best at 1000m as he has plenty of natural pace and stays on. The filly Seemyvision is in fine form and will be dangerous. Aristachus is open to improvement and with Gavin Lerena up can also be included.
In the last leg of the Pick 6 over 1800m Moroccan Flame is the one to beat on her last good third in a Graduation Plate. The concern is she is still immature and was quite keen early in that 1600m race so will need to settle better over this step up in trip which will suit her on pedigree. Her good draw will help and Gavin Lerena stays aboard. Jive Express went close last time over 2000m off this same mark. Evening Bell will relish the step up in trip but has to overcome a wide draw. Those looking to play it safe can also include all of Jacko Boy, Always Red, Rabia The Rebel, Pretty Ballerina, Sammi Moosa and Destiny’s Game.
By David Thiselton