The Vaal stages an eight race meeting tomorrow and it looks to be competitive so the exotics are probably the best way to approach it.
In the first race over 1200m the three that make most appeal are Putins Promise, Bergerac and Bassam. Putins Promise had to be pushed along most of the race last time over this trip but finished strongly, so is probably looking for further but he could mow them down late. Bergerac had a tough low draw in a big field over 1160m on Charity Mile day but was nevertheless backed in to 18/10. He was tired by the end but was not disgraced in fifth, beaten 5,25 lengths, and he should have improved, although he has gone 103 days without a race. Bassam showed fair pace last time over 1200m and on formlines there is not much between him and Bergerac. Qutro Passi showed pace on debut in a fair field and was not disgraced so could earn. Intothemystic hasn’t run for 173 days but has shown signs of ability and has blinkers on. Doublethink and Opening Gambit are two others who are hard to ignore.
In the second race over 1000m Elusive Woman ran a fair 4,75 length second to the promising Varina over this trip in just her second start and she looks the one to beat. Great Stratz stayed on quite well over this trip on debut and was also exactly 4,75 lengths behind Varina in that race so there is nothing in it. There are plenty of first-timers in this race but the one who makes most appeal is the Sean Tarry-trained Ecastatic, who is by Gimmethegreenlight out of a mare who finished second in the Grade 2 Ioi Tombe Challenge.
In the third race over 1000m the first-timer Slalom Queen makes plenty of appeal. She is by Querari out of Blizzard Belle, who broke the Fairview course record over 1000m, so she should have plenty of speed. The only winner in this Juvenile Plate field is Garden Party, who won on debut over 800m back in November. He now has to give the other males 3kg and the females 5,5kg. The only other horses to have run are Sultan’s Daughter and Valyrian King, so with the first-timer rule Pick 6 players can be garunteed to get through by just including those three. However, Slalom Queen is also worth including for those who want to double up.
In the fourth race Makara caught the eye as a juvenile and made a good comeback on January 7 after a nine month layoff. She can get of the mark here, although it is competitive. Allez Les Bleu is a solid sort who has pace and stays on so she could be a threat. Potency is an interesting first-timer being a R425,000 Captain Al filly and a half-sister to the classy Lazer Star, who won her first four races including the Grade 3 Magnolia Handicap and the Listed Swallow Stakes and she later won the Grade 2 Spring Fillies and Mares Challenge. Western Vision has run three good races and also has a chance. Roman Royalty is an eyecatching sort and he did not appear to stay a mile last tie so is interesting back at this trip.
In the fifth over 1200m Leading Fast has been given a lenient looking opening handicap mark after an easy win over this trip. However, it’s never easy first time out the maidens and a few others warrant consideration, including Royal Lily, who has faced some of the best of her crop without ever being disgraced and now runs in a handicap off a mark which has come down from a high of 98 to 86. Encryption was drawn wide last time over this trip on the Vaal Classic track and was just 1,25 lengths back at the line. Malteza is knocking hard and The Fifth Wave was not disgraced last time against the cLassy Sarah at level weights, but she consequently copped a five point raise. Glowtoria is another one to consider.
In the sixth over 1400m. Oden was not disgraced in a strong field in his penultimate start over 1475m and then stayed on well over 1100m last time so this trip should be down his alley. He is selected s a banker in the PA, although the trip might still just stretch him so going wide is the suggestion for the Pick 6.
In the seventh race the suggestion to go thin despite it being competitive as there have to be some budget saving legs. Written In Stone might have a slights tamina doubt on pedigree but on running style he should get this 1600m trip from a good draw of two. He has fair crusing speed and always runs on late in races over 1200m up to 1450m and in his only attempt at this trip he was drawn very wide. He can handle a four point raise for his win last time. War Jewel has faced two good sorts in his last two without being disgraced and runs off a one point lowered mark. Norland is hard knocking and must be included despite being given another two point raise for his close second last time.
In the last race a chance is taken on getting through with just two horses Duke’s Game and Crank It Up, who bot look to be improving sorts who will be distance suited, although the first mentioned has a good draw and the latter is drawn wide.
By David Thiselton