Mike Moon
Horse racing correspondent
4 minute read
5 Jun 2021
12:44 pm

Scottsville Fast Show shifted to Sunday

Mike Moon

The state of the Scottsville turf won’t be known until race day, but on Friday the penetrometer reading was 31, which classified the going as heavy.

Phumelela is going to trial earlier starting times for races on the Highveld during summer in light of late afternoon thunderstorms in the region. Picture: Gallo Images

 

The sprint festival at Scottsville racecourse has been moved from Saturday to Sunday to give the turf more time to dry out after heavy rain during the week.

This will have a major effect on weekend jockey bookings as 12 of the riders carded for Scottsville are also scheduled to ride at Turffontein’s Sunday meeting.

Race times for Scottsville remain as advertised but those for both the Saturday Kenilworth meeting and the Turffontein Sunday fixture have been changed (see new times below).

The race meeting scheduled for Saturday in Mauritius has also been moved to Sunday.

The state of the Scottsville turf won’t be known until race day, but on Friday the penetrometer reading was 31, which classified the going as heavy. With cold weather in Pietermaritzburg, the drying and drainage process won’t be rapid and there might still be cut in the ground for the four famous 1200m Grade 1 races on the programme.

The Scottsville track with its uphill finish is one of the most challenging in the country, at the best of times. With a bit of give under the hooves and the best sprinters in the land breathing down the neck, any equine faint hearts will be found wanting.

Punters would be well advised to look for tough horses and ones that can go 1400m.

Finding winners of the four-speed tests was already a daunting task. Now it will be harder; but imagine the joy when you get it right.

Bookmakers priced up the Golden Horse Sprint at 9-2 the field, illustrating how inscrutable form is.

Three-year-old colt MK’s Pride has been one of the good-news stories of the year, with his owner Koos Nkale striking it lucky with the first horse he bought after 40 years of keen “puntering”. Nkale’s post-race elation was a fillip for a floundering game as his pride and joy – racing in the colours of his beloved Kaizer Chiefs – won race after race in Joburg.

He pipped subsequent Triple Tiara champ War Of Athena in the Ready To Run Cup and got the better of current Durban July joint-favourite Got The Greenlight in the Hawaii Stakes.

MK’s Pride would not be a sentimental choice to win the Golden Horse as he surely has the form for it. Notably, he won that Hawaii Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein – to register his fifth win in nine starts.

Trainer Paul Peter then took the colt to Greyville in early May for the KZN Guineas over 1600m, which he might have found a touch far as he finished fifth, 2.65 lengths behind the other July co-favourite, Linebacker.

MK’s Pride hasn’t been tested in yielding going as yet, but he does have the assistance of champion jockey Warren Kennedy, who knows every blade of grass at Scottsville.

A challenge could come from another Joburg-based three-year-old, Vars Vicky from the Stuart Pettigrew stable. This tough guy has good form and has had a sighter of Scottsville, having travelled down for the Byerley Turk, in which he got second place.

His next effort was back upcountry when fourth behind Battle Force at the Vaal after being unable to find a gap for the finishing run.

He and Battle Force renew the rivalry and the latter could have a big say at Scottsville after a run of five wins in six on the Highveld and his trainer Paul Matchett in irresistible form of late.

Reigning champion trainer Sean Tarry fields four runners, including last year’s winner Warrior’s Rest, and can never be discounted on any major race day. Perhaps his brightest chance is with Eden Roc, who has an outstanding course and distance record.

Cape Town challenger Kasimir is arguably the best sprinter in the country but is coming off a 98-day sabbatical and might not have the cutting edge needed at this tricky venue.

The other features – the SA Fillies Sprint, the Alan Robertson Championship and the Gold Medallion – are also ultra-competitive and require close study. However, the first two mentioned, races for females, might offer the clearer options. True To Life has a very credible chance of improving on her fourth in the same race last year, while juvenile Sheela looks just about the best filly of her generation at the moment.

Scottsville’s speed day is always one to savour – in dust or mud.

SELECTIONS

Scottsville Sunday

Race 1:

4 Sea Eagle, 7 Lazuli, 2 Global Secret, 13 Official Secret

Race 2:

2 Varistocracy, 1 Ladooshka, 15 Mr Master Starter, 13 Geronimo

Race 3:

4 Secret Giver, 11 Giants Castle, 6 Sanctity, 7 Sanjador

Race 4:

2 Koopa Troopa, 7 Royal Mazarin, 10 Deputy Marshall, 8 Uplifted

Race 5:

4 Sheela, 12 Heavens Girl, 5 Sound Of Warning, 6 Super Siri

Race 6:

7 Pyromaniac, 3 Gallic Chief, 11 Gimme A Prince, 10 Good Traveller

Race 7:

4 True To Life, 10 Vernichey, 12 Ecstatic Green, 2 Love Bomb

Race 8:

10 MK’s Pride, 16 Battle Force, 1 Eden Roc, 2 Vars Vicky

Race 9:

3 Captain Of Stealth, 2 Sachdev, 11 Solid Gold, 8 Third Runway

Pick 6:

2,7,8,10 x 4,12 x 3,7,10,11 x 4,10,12 x 1,2,9,10,11,16 x 2,3,11 (R1728)

PA:

4 x 2,7,10 x 4,12 x 3,7,11 x 4 x 1,10,16 x 3 (R54)