Mark Dixon’s filly Inverroche paid dearly for her third place in last year’s Gr1 Allan Robertson and her similar placing in the Gr1 The Debutante, ending the season with a lofty 99 merit rating. She has been hard-pressed to live up to that rating this term but races off a three-point lower mark in the All To Come Graduation Plate, first leg of the PA on the Greyville poly today.
However, given that this is a set weights race, she is rated 3.5kg better than her nearest male rival Mastagambit and in theory should have her opposition dead to rights. But it will not be that easy. She faces some improving sophomore males, best of which could be Vikram. Andre Nel’s runner is way out at the weights with Inverroche and a host of other rivals but the gelding made an eye-catching local debut when third behind Twice As Smart. He has the best of the draw and although he takes to the poly for the first time, Nel has a knack of sending the right horses up from his Cape Town base to exploit the synthetic track, his KZN assistant Byron Forster adding the finishing touches.
Punters took a bit of a pounding at Scottsville last Saturday with only one favourite obliging but Wayward could help fill empty wallets when he takes a drop in class in the Inanda FM 88.4 Handicap over 1200m.
If nothing else, Shane Humby’s charge is consistent and has been up against much stronger at his last two. He is seldom far back although his last effort at Scottsville over 1400m was a tad disappointing as he just stayed on in a race run at a good clip.
Waywood switches to the poly track today and with some relief from the handicapper over a furlong shorter he should make a fist of it.
Alistair Gordon’s runner Marshall That is something of a course and distance specialist with two of his three wins coming on the synthetic surface. There was a lot to like about his comeback run when staying on behind Royal Amour last time out and Anton Marcus has stuck with the ride which is generally a good sign.
This year’s sophomore crop is generally perceived as being of good vintage and Rockliffe will have his supporters after finishing an eye-catching third behind the useful Cumulus at Scottsville last month. That was his first outing since being gelded and with blinkers on for the first time he is a must inclusion in all calculations.
Surprise package could come in the form of top weight Affranchi. He showed loads of potential early in his career but has been frustrating to follow this term. He makes his debut for Yogas Govender today and the change of stable and routine could possibly bring out the best in him.
Fillies and Mares Handicaps can often deliver upset results and the sixth may be no different.
Stelvio has her first outing for Dennis Drier after a smart a barrier trial. Prior to that she won two on the bounce. Drier has put her straight into a mile and horses from this stable are rarely short of a gallop. Should however, face stiff opposition from Be Yourself who was narrowly beaten by much improved stable companion Heart Of A Legend last time out. A repeat of that run can see her go one better. Of the balance, Pumpkin Queen returns from a lengthy break but seldom runs a bad race and the stable has found form of late.
By Andrew Harrison