Owners and trainers will be on tenterhooks today as they await the final field announcement of the Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Sprint to be run as the last leg of the Jackpot of Grade 1 1200m sprints at Scottsville on Saturday.
This race has often been won by top class sorts carrying big weights but in a non-vintage year for sprinters the lower weights will be right in the reckoning so there are sure to be some hard luck stories when the field is announced.
The ante-post second favourite Mardi Gras should be a big runner carrying just 53kg as he has a lot of class and has clearly being aimed at this race. He avoided the Computaform Sprint, where a placed run could have landed him a big merit rating raise. He has plenty of pace coupled with the ability to kick on and he has won over 1450m before so the relatively tough Scottsville 1200 should not phase this good looking grey.
The ante-post favourite Chimichuri Run is standing his ground at present despite Sean Tarry having said a couple of weeks ago that he felt the Grade 1 wfa Mercury Sprint would be the right race for him due to his high merit rating. Tarry has likely been swung by the 120 merit rated Undercover Agent having still been among the entries at the time of the setting of the weights a week ago. This means three-year-old Chimichuri Run only has to carry 54,5kg. He placed in both the Diadem over this trip and the Computaform Sprint and will be a big runner.
Undercover Agent will also be a big runner if he lines up as he is packed with class and always shows good pace.
Last year’s winner Bold Respect has been a touch disappointing this season despite having finished second in the Cape Flying and fourth in the Diadem as he did strike as one who could develop into a champion sprinter. He has issues, although if any yard can get him right for the day it will be the Brett Crawford yard and he does also enjoy KZN.
The enigmatic Attenborough carries a light weight of 53kg and if he has an on day he will be flying at them in the finish.
His Joey Ramsden-trained stablemate Speedpoint showed he is capable too when flying at the finish and just failing in the Diadem.
Trip To Heaven will hopefully be loaded later than he was in the Computaform and he is capable of a flying finish from off the pace so has to be respected carrying 55kg.
Russian Prince had to be scratched at the start of the Computaform but looks to be upset material as he has scope for a lot of improvement. However, if Undercover Agent stands his ground he will be 2,5kg under sufferance.
Van Halen won the Grade 1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion last year in fine style and if he produces his best will have a chance, although he is not one to rely on.
Africa Rising is an admirable sort who is capable of a strong finish from off the pace and he should be cherry ripe so has a shout carrying just 53,5kg.
The athletic Sniper Shot also has a chance carrying just 53kg.
The eyecatching Tribal Fusion can’t be ignored also carrying 53kg as things stand.
Prince Of Kahal and Sunset Eyes are tough handicappers who could earn and as things stand they are only half-a-kilogram under sufferance.
Palace Chapel is a three-year-old with class and scope for further improvement.
Sand And Sea is a former Gold Medallion winner whose latent ability is out of the top drawer but he has become unreliable since suffering from breathing problems and since having a successful wind operation. However, he will be a threat carrying bottom weight and being just half-a-kilogram under sufferance.
Dutch Philip had lost his way a bit before his last run and sneaking into the handicap with 52kg can’t be ignored.
Search Party has made a habit of slipping under the radar but his third place in the Cape Flying and close up sixth in the Computaform make him a contender.
The connections of Alyaasaat, New Caledonia, Down To Zero, Red Chesnut Road, Social Order, Wynkelder, Captain And Master, Hard To Play, On That Boulevard, Valbonne, Ishnanna and Silver Maple will also believe their charges deserve a berth in the starting line up.
By David Thiselton