Maidens and lowly handicaps make up most of the field’s country-wide in this time between feature seasons and punters have had to do plenty of homework to get through the exotic bets unscathed.
However, with only seven runners in the first leg of the PA on the poly at Hollywoodbets Greyville today, Golden Chance should oblige with at least a first-three finish. It is a competitive field for a Graduation Plate but Golden Chance ticks most of the boxes and if anywhere near her best should be difficult to beat.
If there is a chink in her armour, it could be that she may prefer it a touch further but to compensate, she is rated 5kg better than her nearest rival in the handicap ratings.
She is up against some useful opposition, best of which could be the Garth Puller-trained three-year-old Travelling Light. She was touched off over course and distance last time out and is progressive. Candy Galore comes from an inform stable while Wildly In Love has made dramatic improvement with a tongue-tie and is back on the poly where she has won before.
SA Derby winner Irish Flame has been responsible for more sprinters than stayers and sired a brace of winners last Sunday. Miss Charlotte should have a bright chance for giving him a third winner within a week when she lines up in the opening leg of the Pick 6.
It’s not an easy race but Puller has been firing of late and Miss Charlotte took a bad knock in her last race losing momentum when it mattered. Hot Money caught the eye on debut and should come on for the experience while Cersei galloped well at Ashburton last week and is in good order.
Paul Gadsby has signed up Warren Kennedy for the ride on La Duchesse in the fourth and her consistency should be rewarded. She goes well over course and distance and has the best of the draw.
If there is to be an upset it could come in the form of Camelots Beauty. Paul Lafferty’s runner is showing signs of coming to hand and with apprentice Jabu Jacobs, successful on Boeing City last Sunday, taking 4kg off her back she could surprise.
Dancing Feather caught the eye on debut and should make further improvement in the fifth although Royal Kitty and Miss Missouri have also shown up well at recent outings.
The sixth is a wide open affair but Such A Rush can put one over her male rivals. She was narrowly beaten in her last two starts over course and distance and the stable is in form. Of the others, Sovereign Soldier has shown up well at his last two and should feature prominently along with Northern Route who came back well after a lengthy break. Second run after a lay-off may be a problem.
Purple And Gold is likely to be among the longer priced runner in the eighth but there was plenty of money for Julie Dittmer’s runner last time out and she was a touch unlucky to find traffic on the turn, losing position. She finished with a rattle and was just over a length back to the winner Thru’ The Trees who she meets on 1kg better terms today. The dangers are many, including Thru’ The Trees, Live As One and Everdene.
It’s tough for three-year-olds against older horses at this time of the year but Mary O was close-up in a strong feature last start and could have too much class for some seasoned opposition and it helps that Mark Khan and Lezeanne Forbes are in form. Top weight Miss Calypso was just short of a run last time out at Scottsville and this 1400m trip from draw two looks tailor made for a big effort.
By Andrew Harrison