News / South Africa

Piere Strydom
6 minute read
14 Apr 2018
6:40 am

Exquisite Touch stands out as a banker in all bets

Piere Strydom

Strydom will give today a miss as he was injured going into the stalls at the Vaal, but he has choice tips for the Turffontein Inside track.

Today we’re racing on the Turffontein Inside track but I will not be there. Jockeys do not only get injured when our horses fall but sometimes we get injured in the stalls.

Unfortunately I had a horse play up in the stalls at the Vaal on Thursday. With the big fields you do get some unruly horses and they cause a problem at the start. The bigger the field the bigger the chance of having horses play up in the stalls. The result is that one or two horses get scratched and scratchings affect turnover.

It would be interesting to initiate a survey to get the opinion of punters as to what they see as the optimum size of field and whether big fields deter them from punting or not. Maybe this has been done already.

It’s hard to believe it is now 30 years since the Hennenman air disaster. Even though I was based in Port Elizabeth at the time when it happened I knew quite a lot of the jockeys as they were apprenticed with me in Durban.

In those days we were only allowed out after the Saturday race meeting and had to be back on Sunday night. A lot of the senior apprentices would rent an apartment and it was always nice when a senior invited you to bunk at his apartment for the weekend. Keith Basel was one of those who would invite me to stay over. We were both apprenticed to Terry Ryan at the time.

There are a number of Juvenile Plates at Turffontein today and as we race on the Inside track it pays to have experience as it probably gives a horse more knowledge on how to negotiate the bend. Therefore my first selection is Scoop, and let’s hope Fabian Habib has his first winner as a licensed trainer.

There are some first-timers who could possibly win it so take note of the betting, but around the turn I always prefer to go with experience.

Race 2 is another Juvenile Plate over 1000m and as this is around the bend we will favour the lower draws.

This race is a bit more competitive and my selections are Huddle to win from Siren’s Tide, and Liquid Gold. There are some unraced horses so watch the betting.

I was meant to ride Brave Zndaya and on form she has a chance but a bad draw has to be against her.

Race 3 is the first leg of the Place Accumulator and as it is a work riders’ race it makes it a little more complicated. There are some talented riders but also a lot of inexperienced guys. Therefore these types of races tend to attract a weaker calibre of horse which makes it even more difficult to predict a winner. One needs to go wide but my selections are Pokemon Shuffle, from Petite Aime and Kitty Pride.

Put all of these into the PA and anything else you might like.

Race 4 is the first leg of the Pick 6 and is another Juvenile Plate so horses can improve but could also still be green around the turn. My first selection is Carbon Atom who not only has good form, but the jockey-room talk is that he is a talented horse.

If you feel Carbon Atom can get beaten because of greenness the likely danger is Cyber Special.

Race 5 is another Juvenile Plate but the two horses I think will fight it out are Long Pond and Return Flight. You could take a chance and banker one of them in the PA but as they are juveniles it might be wise to include both. For the Pick 6 those two should be adequate.

Race 6 is a Progress Plate where your higher handicapped horses should come out on top but there are numerous reasons why this race is quite a tricky affair. Warrior’s Rest is the best handicapped runner but he is a young horse taking on older runners and he also has a wide draw to overcome.

Your next best weighted horse is Glider Pilot and he might just find this distance and track on the short side as he doesn’t always have a lot of early speed. He was also withdrawn two weeks ago.

Therefore my first selection must be Shukamisa, even though he is not the highest merit-rated runner. The race doesn’t stop there either as a horse like Dan The Lad should love this course and he’s drawn No 1.

The younger horses taking on the older horses are Full Mast and Polar Ice. Ghost Town is not well handicapped in this field but he has been winning well and is an improver so cannot be ignored.

For the PA I will lean towards the older horses with form – Shukamisa and Dan The Lad – and add in the younger horse with the best form in Full Mast who I was down to ride. For the Pick 6 add in Matador Man, Gilder Pilot, Ghost Town, Polar Ice and Warrior’s Rest.

Race 7 is a Pinnacle Stakes so the highest merit-rated horse should have the advantage and in this case Exquisite Touch looks hard to beat. Some of the opposition are really fast but with that little uphill before you hit the straight, it should play into Exquisite Touch’s favour. A banker in all bets!

Race 8 is quite difficult in that there are a few up-and-coming fillies coming through but on current form I am leaning towards Visuality and Dame Eleanor. I rode Visuality last time and I had hoped she would run into the places. But she found the 1160m too short as I was quite far back even though I was urging her along all the way.

She has a decent draw and over this distance she should have a better chance. According to the stipes reports she has coughed twice in her last three starts.

The danger could be Dame Eleanor who was reported to be changing legs. She could improve further.

As this can be a tricky race with others having chances it could be worth also including Shivering Sea in the PA.

For the Pick 6 included Maple Syrup, Regal Graduation, Schippers and Kirkconnel Lass.

The horse who stands out in Race 9 on form is Dressed To Impress. Unfortunately she does not have a good draw which could affect her chances. With a bit of lucky in running she could be a banker in both the PA and Pick 6 but if you are concerned, back her up with Paree and Leopard Lily who should both enjoy the track and distance.

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