Handicaps are difficult for punters at the best of times and they face another tricky card and race in the sixth at Scottsville this afternoon, a MR 90 Handicap.
The field is loaded with potential winners so the list is long one, but it may prove prudent to stick with the still improving three-year-olds headed by Rip It Up.
Justin Snaith’s gelding is on top of the handicap as far as his young rivals are concerned and comes into the race with some useful Cape Town form to back his claims.
He made his local debut in the Byerley Turk where he was never in contention but that outing should have done him the world of good and given his past record and first time blnkers he should prove a better proposition this afternoon.
The Paul Lafferty-trained Buckleberry has not been out of the money in his eight stats and finished a close-up third in a tough Pinnacle Stakes behind the smart Wynkelder. He was getting a massive 9.5kg from the winner but it was still a creditable effort considering the opposition and should be a contender.
Duncan Howells had a double at the same venue on Sunday and bottom weight Ruby Spirit must have an undeniable chance. He made nearly all the running before being caught late by the useful Cabo Da Cruz last time out and with useful apprentice Jason Gates claiming 2.5kg he could be difficult to peg back.
The Snaith-trained Pinkerton looked to be one of the better bets on the card in the second but was coughing in work and will be on the side-lines. His defection could possibly leave the way clear for Knight Warrior although current ante-post odds of 2-1 about Dennis Bosch’s runner don’t inspire too much confidence with Deer Park and Al Jazeera close-up in the market.
Brett Crawford is a master trainer in his own right and together with assistant Peter Muscutt running his KZN satellite yard, they are a lethal combination.
From a dozen or so horses after leaving the employ of Plattner Racing some years back, Crawford has built up one of the most powerful strings in the country in a relatively short time.
Crawford’s results speak for themselves and the stable has enjoyed a cracking run of late and can add to that run with GG’S Dynasty in the opening leg of the Pick 6.
Beaten favourite on his KZN debut, GG’s Dynasty is sure to have come on from that effort and with a good draw and a handy galloping weight may be the right one in a tricky field.
Joint top weight Collabro is at the top of the boards. Seldom out of the money and in good form of late, he will give Dennis Bosch hope of a fifth win for his charge but a better option could be Mr Greenlight, a 25-1 chance yesterday.
It is seldom that a Howells-trained winner starts at 55-1, but that was the case on Sunday when all were blind to favourite Sovereign Spirit. Howells has admitted that all went pear-shaped in his trip to Cape Town for Met day and Mr Greenlight’s two subsequent outings after his no-show in the CTS 1600 do not inspire much confidence.
However, he was drawn in Woodhouse Road over a course and distance last time out and with a better draw and two outings under his girth after his disastrous trip to the Cape, Mr Greenlight could prove full value with Bernard Fady’herbe aboard.
Maiden races over 2400m are often more difficult to call than MR60 Handicaps and the fourth is such a race.
Every stat points to a different possible winner so the advice is to load up in this leg of the exotics.
Cassius Colt and World Cruise have been in good form on the poly track while Keelan Dynasty, Sun On Sand and the front-running Excessive Grace are all in with a shout.
By Andrew Harrison