Railtrip has paid the price of showing early potential and from a merit rating high of 100 drops to an 88 on the poly at Hollywoodbets Greyville today. Not that this makes any difference as she contests a set weights Graduation Plate that has attracted only five other opponents.
Railtrip has been battling under big weights in handicap races mostly against males of late so Gavin van Zyl will no doubt have targeted this set-weights race as it comes as a relief as far as Railtrip’s burden is concerned.
With ‘only’ 56.5kg to shoulder Railtrip will feel as if she is running loose and in deed comes out well on top of the best weighted column, especially with the scratching of Electric Surge that in theory gives her a 3kg advantage in that regard.
In spite of her big weights, Railtrip has still managed to be consistent and this may be her the break for her third win. But she does take on a couple that could make things difficult.
Duncan Howells has been enduring a particularly difficult time as his stable battles a virus – not connected to Corona. The normally prolific yard has not had a winner for some weeks but Howells has made a few changes and commented on Monday that his horses are looking a lot better.
He saddles Special Blend who made a smart poly debut behind course and distance specialist High Green last time out, coming from way back only to fail by half-a-length. The blinkers come off and Craig Zackey stays aboard.
Land Of Mystery looks safely held by both Railtrip and Special Blend if recent form is anything to go on but the blinkers are replaced by cheek pieces and a slight ‘tweak’ can often produce major results.
Michael Roberts and jockey Serino Moodley has struck as a combination to follow and they team up with Ad Altisima in the Greyville Convention Centre Handicap, one of the more difficult races to puzzle out.
Ad Altisima has smart form over course and distance and has not been out of the money since being gelded. He was run out of it late in Graduation company last start but although he has drawn a little wide, he should make a bold showing. Dennis Bosch was again tempted into sending Mutawaary over further last run but he seems more at home of this shorter trip and he looks a lightly threat to the selection.
But the list of possible winners is a long one and includes Kingston Rock, Captain Cobalt and High Voltage.
Rachel is something of a family affair in the sixth as she will be ridden by Warren Kennedy, is trained by Barbara Kennedy and her brother Wayne and is owned by their mother.
Rachel has come to hand nicely after a break and racing in blinkers and has her peak run. She went close last time out and can go one better. Her biggest danger could be recent maiden winner Brunilda who was a facile winner last time out. Garth Puller commented that she had been unlucky at her two previous outings and was not surprised by the ease of her win.
Sheik’s Storm is always game but does appear a length or two better over an extra furlong while Valeriana may just have needed her last run and can improve.
Gary Rich is a vastly under rated trainer and gets the most out of his limited stable talent. Pina Colada has been full value for her two wins to date and can break a string of runner-up berths in the seventh.
She does not have the best of draws but goes very well over the trip and is consistent.
Regular pilot Billy Jacobson has been signed on as stable rider to Louis Goosen so has been obliged to jump ship to partner Goosen’s mare Fleek with Sherman Bown taking over on Pina Colada. The mare and Rich are due a change of fortune. Of the balance, Popova’s last run is best ignored as she pulled up lame and coughing. She had been showing signs of winning again prior to that and from pole position should be much improved.
- Due to the Corona virus outbreak and in line with Government regulations, all race meetings around the country will take place behind closed doors until further notice. The general public will not be allowed access but all races will be shown live on Tellytrack, DSTV channel 239.
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By Andrew Harrison