The powerhouse combo of trainer Paul Peter and jockey Warren Kennedy look ready for a bumper day at the Vaal on Monday.
They are particularly strong towards the end of the day – Races 6, 7 and 8 – and could even provide a banker or three for exotic bets.
The seventh race, a Graduation Plate, is an intriguing affair with well-performed young horses trying to get a second or third win on the board. Several of them have been competing in feature races – thanks to early displays of talent – but now need their merit ratings bolstered so they can continue to target big prizes and silverware.
Peter saddles two of the better fancied runners in Smorgasbord and Mufasa.
The former won impressively on debut and was bundled into the SA Nursery, where he bumped into the formidable Sheela and had to settle for the runner-up spot. Next time out, in the Highveld Juvenile Stakes, he was heavily backed but finished second again.
It was time for a breather and a maturing spell, decided Peter. Four months later, on 9 October, Smorgasbord stepped out as hot favourite once again, in a Turffontein Progress Plate. Alas, soft going and a spot of rustiness saw him relegated to third behind Sparkling Water, one of Mike de Kock’s rising stars.
This Graduation Plate over 1200m looks the ideal opportunity for Smorgasbord to start justifying his merit rating of 107.
The booking of No 1 stable rider Kennedy tells us this is Peter’s choice – over Mufasa, another precocious chap who has disappointed of late.
The colt started at 11-10 at the Vaal last week but proved in need of the run when running out of steam in the final strides and getting swamped by challengers. He’ll have come on a lot from that endeavour and, with Craig Zackey aboard, could give the stable mate a rev.
Sergei in Race 6 could be the Peter-Kennedy ace for the day, though.
6 Queen Theodora, 1 Ray Indigo, 3 Dame Of Flames, 7 Lilly Langtry
1 Ocean Warrior, 9 King Of Venus, 6 Duke Of Rain, 3 Pewter Sky
1 Stunning Kitten, 3 Shikuru, 8 Bass Line, 4 Arizona Lady
7 Secret Link, 10 Zaviah, 8 Apache Gold, 1 Joe Harman
3 Waqaas, 7 Capetown Affair, 2 My Kingdom, 6 Procrastinator
3 Sergei, 5 Indigo Winter, 6 Zulu War Cry, 2 Bloomington
5 Smorgasbord, 4 Tanzanite Queen, 2 Mufasa, 3 Zimbaba
4 Frontline Fighter, 8 Hear The Trumpet, 1 Who’s That Star, 6 Life Goes On
1,3,4,8 x 1,7,8,10, 2,3,6,7 x 3 x 2,3,4,5,6 x 1,4,6,8 (R1280)
1,6,9 x 1,3 x 7,8,10 x 3 x 3 x 5 x 4,8 (R36)