Winter Chill made a tardy start to her racing career when sent out a short-priced favourite on debut, blowing the start and finding one better on the day. Ant Mgudlwa is unlikely to let the colt make the same mistake twice and he rates the one to beat in the card opener at Hollywoodbets Scottsville today.
Winter Chill came out of the pens sideways and couldn’t quite get to terms with eventual favourite Candle Cove. Garth Puller’s charge caught the eye in his barrier trial, beating subsequent feature-placed Maiden’s Prayer and he was as short as 11-10 on the books yesterday ahead of the Johan Janse van Vuuren’s debutant Duke Of York.
Puller has strong hands in the first three races where he saddles the ante-post favourites. Miss Charlotte is as short as 17-10 for the Track & Ball Gaming Maiden after her close-up third to Montreal Mist on the Greyville poly. All of her best runs have been on the synthetic track and better value could lie with 5-1 shot Lady Caroline Lamb.
She has her first outing for Gavin van Zyl, after his son Chesney pulled up his stake and moved to Australia, but there was no shortage of support on debut as she started as short as 33-10.
She finished with just one behind her and was the subject of a vet’s examination, but she was just six lengths back to the useful looking Mary O.
The stable is in form as is jockey Warren Kennedy, and Lady Caroline Lamb could be worth a nibble.
Puller saddles even money chance Bay Tibbs in the third and he could be the best bet as a Pick 6 banker for the afternoon. The Bold Silvano colt had his first outing for Ormond Ferraris when friendless in the betting and with Ferraris handing in his trainer’s brief, the colt was moved to Puller He made marked improvement on his debut, coming from well back to finish second to Master Of Fire. With a good draw and an extra furlong, which should suit judged on his pedigree, he could prove more than a match for 2-1 second favourite Al Jazeera.
Kennedy and Van Zyl team up again in the fourth where Zerina has been supported in from an opening call of 1-1 to 7-10 favourite. However, Louis Goosen could have other ideas as he saddles Linnger Longer. The five-year-old has been winless in 22 starts but her last four outings have come against winners, her best recent effort when beaten less than a length by Flaming Desire over course and distance. She could finally get it right today and 7-1 in this line-up looks faire odds.
KZN champion trainer Dennis Drier could help out in the next two heats. He saddles first and second favourites in the fifth, stable rider Sean Veale presumably on the more fancied of the two. Escape Club is a lightly raced five-year-old but has won four of her six starts. She showed up well in her barrier trial, her first trot on a racecourse since November last year, but taking her fitness on trust, she could prove difficult to beat.
Drier goes one better in the sixth where he saddles the first three in the ante-post market, and again Veale appears to be on the ‘right’ one in 16-10 favourite In The Stars. She made a winning return from the Cape, stretching away in the finish to beat Cherry Pop by an extending four lengths and she has beaten stable companion and second favourite Dieci in the past.
The seventh has a wide open look about it with Roy’s Stingray favourite at 28-10 with a further four horses quoted at 5-1 and shorter.
Liquid Irish finally shed her maiden after a string of runner-up berths, and finished second again in her first start in handicap company. Wendy Whitehead’s filly is an 11-10 chance today and was caught late over a mile on the Greyville poly in that outing. Today’s 1400m should be right up her alley.
By Andrew Harrison