Brett Crawford’s satellite yard at Summerveld has been quiet since the end of Champions Season but with AHS vaccinations due and many horses on R&R this is not surprising.
But Crawford’s KZN assistant, Peter Muscutt, is starting to warm them up and the yard had two promising runners engaged on the Hollywoodbets Greyville turf this afternoon.
However, Baby Shooz in the card opener was injured in training leaving Ultra Magnus to lead the charge in the fourth.
Ultra Magnus was super impressive when disposing of the more than useful Cumulus over the Hollywoodbets Scottsville 1200m last time out but he takes a major rise in class when he lines up in the Track & Ball Progress Plate. However, his star appears to be on the rise after having only four starts for two wins.
Although this is a conditions race with set weights, Buffalo Soldier has been dropping in the ratings and is back over what appears to be his preferred course and distance.
Another serious rival is likely to be Desolate Road. Tony Rivalland’s charge was close-up in two features during Champions Season behind the smart speedster Van Halen and that form is good enough to make him a big runner in this line-up.
Recently turned three-year-olds take on older rivals in Gold Circle Podcast Graduation Plate, the card’s top-liner, and it could be a defining moment in the season.
In the first few months of any new season, it is often difficult for sophomores against older opposition, but as the season wears on, progressive three-year-old’s tend to get the better of their more exposed rivals.
Padre Pio, Tree Tambo and Justfortheepenny all look progressive and they will need to be a touch above run-of-the-mill if they are to feature against the likes of White Lightning, What A Blast and Pollard.
Padre Pio was a comfortable winner of a strong handicap at only his fourth start but Dennis Bosch’s charge did get lumbered with a six-point merit increase.
Tree Tambo makes his seasonal debut after showing promise last season, last time out touched off by the useful-looking Alibi Guy at Hollywoodbets Scottsville. He has not been out since then so the lay-off may be a factor for Sean Tarry’s runner. These two dominate the early market, joint favourites at 33-10, but Justforthepenny was not friendless in the market according to his connections when making his Hollywoodbets Scottsville debut. Nathan Kotzen’s runner came from a seemingly hopeless position at the top of the straight to get the better of Liverpool Champ who has since franked that form.
The shorter Hollywoodbets Greyville straight may be an issue but with that experience under the girth and only 53kg to shoulder, Justfortheepenny could prove juicy odds of 15-1.
Jacqueline has seen her connections collect a cheque in all of her six starts and she may be the one to beat in the Durban View Restaurant Handicap. She was narrowly beaten by Irish Wonder Girl at Hollywoodbets Scottsville last time out, that her first start in three months. She has run two crackers since being put over ground by Dennis Drier and she is already odds-on in the ante-post market.
Jacqueline is in receipt of 2kg from the six-time winner High Altar and although Duncan Howells’s mare does seem to prefer Hollywoodbets Scottsville, she was not far back in useful company last time out and could be the biggest threat to the favourite.
By Andrew Harrison