A set of eight very competitive races greets punters from the Greyville Polytrack on Wednesday. Banker hounds will be sniffing in agitatedly and the only race in which a narrow exotic bets selection seems possible is the sixth – with Miss Lailah and New Orleans likely to fight it out.
A Maiden Plate for fillies and mares is never the most reliable form class but racing fans are nothing if not brave souls and it’s these two horses to whom we must pin our courage.
Miss Lailah has competed five times and mostly shown good early pace. Three orientation sprints were followed by a stab at 1750m, which proved too far for the Linngari filly at this stage.
Her last outing was her first on a Polytrack and she clearly enjoyed galloping on the surface, finishing runner-up to Princess Sabrina, who has since gone on to win again on the Highveld.
That race was over 1100m and the stamina capacity that saw trainer Garth Puller put his charge over an extended mile might well come into play in this 1400m test. Experienced jockey Ant Mgudlwa rode her last time and will have gained some insights into what makes her tick.
New Orleans has completed the three races it takes to get into one of these “qualified” maidens and has shown enough for the handicappers to give her a merit rating of 70 – the highest of the 10 competitors here.
Her last showing followed a break of more than four months and the three-year-old only ran out of puff in the final dash of the 1400m, finishing 3.25 lengths behind the winner.
Trainer Carl Hewitson will have her fitter and jockey Sean Veale has the No 4 starting stall from which to get her onto the pace from the get-go.
2 Young Nelson, 8 Bourbon Beat, 6 Command Council, 1 Head Gardener
7 Lady Yusra, 2 Sparkling Flame, 1 Venturous, 8 Brass Lassi
1 Ralph The Rascal, 4 Lucky Dancer, 5 Command Control, 3 Straight Up
6 Naval Secret, 7 Flying Grace, 5 Mach Four, 8 Spring High
6 Ramachandani Road, 8 Majorca Palace, 5 Quant Master, 7 Letaba
3 Miss Lailah, 4 New Orleans, 8 Neverending Love, 6 Sea Cruise
1 Trump My Queen, 3 Lady Legend, 9 Eager Duchess, 2 Intuitive
3 Proud Master, 1 Brandenburg, 8 Two Of Us, 2 Leslies Pathtofame
1,3,4,5 x 1,3,5,6,7,8 x 5,6,8 x 3,4 x 1,2,3,9 x 1,3,8 (R1728)
2,7 x 1,4 x 6,7 x 6 x 3 x 1,3 x 1,3 (R32)