Top weights Kasimir and Bold Respect are the class horses in today’s Gr2 Post Merchants but being a handicap, this race has a reputation of throwing up a surprise package or two so punters are advised to take a wide view of the field. These two are the only runners quoted in single figures with 10-1 bar so there is plenty of value if you can find one to beat them.
With 62kg on his back, the Justin Snaith-trained Kasimir has a big task ahead of him but he comes from a very much in form stable and his Cape form is strong. He appears to have come into his own as a late four-year-old, winning three of his last four starts including the Gr1 Cape Flying Championship and Gr3 Diadem Stakes.
The one chink in his armour may be the three-month break since his last race and he will need to be sharp to win this one and Snaith may just have the Gr1 WFA Mercury Sprint in mind as his ultimate goal for the season.
Bold Respect, on the other hand, a well beaten fourth in the Diadem but not far back in any of his meetings with Kasimir, has had a blow-out this winter, finishing under two lengths back to Chimichuri Run in the Gr1 Tsogo Sun Sprint. He is in receipt of 2kg from Kasimir and with a run under his girth Brett Crawford’s runner could put one over his nemesis.
Take out the top two and you have a race on your hands. Last year’s winner Sniper Shot has been winless since and was among the longer priced runners that evening. Given his current form one is hard-pressed to make out a solid case for Paul Lafferty’s runner and a better proposition could be the filly Green Plains. Sean Tarry is a master at planning and peaking his horses for the right races and at around 25-1 in the current market Green Plains looks fair value for money.
She has been dropping steadily in the handicap and although down the field in the recent Gr1 SA Fillies Sprint, she did not have the best of luck in the running. Tonight, she has a plum draw and a handy galloping weight and Lyle Hewitson will get the best out of her.
Barrier trials are not every trainer’s want but just as in any race, if one can read between the lines, they are a valuable tool in a punter’s armoury.
Dean Kannemeyer generally has a better type horse in his yard than most and Captain Elliodor turned in an eye-catching barrier trial. Although only a neck in front of his nearest ‘trialist’ he could hardly go slow enough for the rest to keep up.
Bookmakers were quick to cotton on and Captain Elliodor is currently joint favourite in the ante-post market with the already exposed Land Of Mystery. Also in the mix for the opening leg of the Pick 6 is Thomas Shelby, a beaten favourite last run but possibly a better proposition over the extra two furlongs.
Johan Janse van Vuuren saddles Thomas Shelby and he has a chance of a quick double with Ultra Boost in the next.
A lightly raced three-year-old, he has been tossed in at the deep end as he takes on some salted opposition having only had a barrier trial after a five-month break. It may be a bit much to ask but he does appear to have some scope and with only 49.5kg to should courtesy of claiming apprentice Jason Gates, he could have enough gas in the tank.
By Andrew Harrison
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