The Dennis Drier-trained Wealthy is in fine shape ahead of his bid to retain his Listed Michael Roberts Handicap crown at Scottsville on Sunday.
Wealthy has always managed to fly under the radar and won this race last year at whopping odds of 22/1. The bay gelding is now a seven-year-old but is a typically evergreen son of Silvano and after three good comeback runs this season the bookmakers might have been more wary. However, once again he is a long shot and is quoted at 16,67/1 by Hollywoodbets.
So far this season Wealthy has run third in the Listed Michaelmas Handicap over 1900m at Greyville, fourth in a handicap over 2000m at Greyville and a close second in the KZN Summer Challenge 2000 final at Scottsville.
His merit rating has come down one point this season from 99 to 98 and he carries a nice galloping weight of 54,5kg. He also has a good draw of five in the 14 horse field.
Last year off an 85 merit rating Wealthy was 1kg under sufferance and won by 0,75 lengths from Dark Moon Rising, who carried 60kg. He faces the latter horse on identical terms. Dark Moon Rising is returning from a layoff, yet he is quoted at 10/1.
Wealthy is effectively only one point higher in the merit ratings for this year’s race compared to last year as the 1kg he was under sufferance and the across the board ten point raise at the beginning of the season must be taken into account.
Dennis Drier’s assistant trainer Stuart Ferrie said, “He is very well. His last three starts have been very good and he’s honest. He’s well drawn not that it makes that much difference because he comes from off them anyway.”
The race favourite is the Brett Crawford-trained G G’s Dynasty, who has won four of his last six starts from 1400m to 1600m. His dam by Right Approach won twice over 1200m and 1400m respectively, so there is a slight question mark over the trip, although the Vodacom Durban July-winning Dynasty’s influence will help.
The five-year-old Silvano gelding Born To Perform is out of July winner Dancer’s Daughter, so this lightly five-time winner from just nine starts should stay the trip.
The value in the race could be the 14.29/1 shot Marchingontogether as he has won all four of his starts around the turn at Scottsville. Bernard Fayd’Herbe will be riding him as Gavin van Zyl’s stable jockey Warren Kennedy is aboard Michaelmas winner Blackball.
Other eyecatching contenders are Christmas Handicap winner The Dazzler and the talented Tristful.
However, none of the runners can be discounted and it should be a thriller.
By David Thiselton