The winter solstice rolls around on Monday, bringing a sense of relief that the days will get longer and the nights shorter. Racing fans will be hoping the recent dark night of rough results on South Africa’s racecourses will turn and bring sunnier fortunes.
However, these things take time and Monday’s Polytrack meeting at Greyville might be a bit soon to be expecting easy punting. Still, the solstice could signal a turn of luck for some.
Trainer Dennis Bosch is one who is overdue a change of fortune. The shrewd Summerveld man has collected his share of winners since downsizing his yard about a year ago, but things have gone a bit quiet lately.
He fields three runners with bright chances on the Poly. In Race 2, he tries something different with game five-year-old What A Blast. After umpteen respectable finishes over a variety of middle distances, the gelding drops to 1200m for only the second time in a 40-race career – and it could be a masterstroke.
From a No 3 draw, jockey Craig Zackey will find a position from which to make his opposition gallop hard.
By contrast, in Race 5, Bosch’s charge Fever is perfectly course-and-distance suited, having put together a brace of victories over the 2000m earlier this year. Two subsequent outings were disappointing but far from dismal, with finishes within spitting distance of the winners.
S’Manga Khumalo gets on this one, with a wide draw no problem over the trip. In probably the widest open event on the programme, Fever has as much chance as anything else.
Gelding has brought purpose to the efforts of Higher Purpose, Bosch’s progressive three-year-old in the seventh race. Zackey was in the irons last time this guy ran – over this course and distance – and finished second. Further improvement is highly likely.
1 Seventh Song, 7 Master Dancer, 3 Rodriguez, 4 Gaul Ruler
3 What A Blast, 4 Running Freely, 5 Alphamikefoxtrot, 7 Lord Caro
9 Alittlebitnaughty, 10 Mezzyoona, 6 Indomavel, 5 Top Honours
1 Kunte Kinte, 11 Catch The Tune, 3 Deep Global, 2 Jack In The Box
12 Fever, 4 Sea Sponge, 6 Wintertime, 7 Twice The Flight
3 Boogie Shoes, 5 Maidens Prayer, 11 Deerupt, 4 Miss Charlotte
3 Higher Purpose, 6 Rockcliffe, 9 Brandenburg, 1 Montana Sky
3 Fireonbthetrack, 7 Lhasa Star, 3 Noemi, 6 Gingerspathtoglory
1,11 x 3,4,5,6,7,10,12 x 3,4,5,10,11 x 1,3,6,9 x 1,3 x 1,3,7 (R1680)
9 x 1,11 x 4,6,12 x 3,5,11 x 3,6,9 x 3 x 1,7 (R36)