I have been enjoying the rest I have been forced to take but as I have said previously, it is more a precaution than anything serious. I have an appointment next Friday with the medical team and I’m hoping to be back in action on Sunday, 10 June to ride Abashiri in his preparation race for the Vodacom Durban July.
I have also been offered rides for the Gold Challenge meeting on 9 June but that might be a bit too early.
I have been going through a tough time of late, not only because of the injury, so I took a trip back to Port Elizabeth where the majority of my family lives. It has been a good mental break and has given my aching bones time to heal.
I opted to go by rail so my kids could have the experience of travelling on a train. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, up to a point though, because there were numerous delays down the track which sort of soured the adventure as we arrived at our destination nine hours late.
I did attend a race meeting at Fairview and I have to praise them for the good condition in which they have kept the track. In addition the upstairs facilities have to be among the best in the country and the catering was top class.
Today we have the running of the Daily News 2000 at Greyville where our best three-year-olds are in action. Some of these runners have also been nominated for the Durban July.
On merit rating alone there is not much to choose between the top runners. Do It Again is among the highest merit-rated horses and as he has run at Greyville and is drawn No 1, he does have a lot in his favour.
Tap O’ Noth was an impressive winner in Cape Town and should like the track but he could be suspect over the distance.
But the horse everyone has to keep an eye on is Surcharge.
He has had some shocking draws and has had no luck in trying to overcome them. Sometimes you can have a bad draw but with a bit of luck things can fall into place – as has happened to me in the Durban July on a couple of occasions.
I feel Surcharge is better than his merit rating of 109 reflects but even despite the string of wide barrier positions, he is still only 0.5kg inferior to the others. With a good draw this time Surcharge can drive home the point.
My only concern is that the short Greyville straight could catch him out as he takes time to get going.
The Woolavington 2000 comprises a strong group of runners and we have a potential Durban July runner in Oh Susanna. She is way ahead of this field on handicapping alone and if she produces her best form should be an easy winner. But as she was withdrawn before her last start in the Daisy Guineas you have to be a little cautious.
We also have racing at Turffontein on the Inside track tomorrow and Race 1 is a Juvenile Plate over 1600m. Over this course and distance stamina and experience are of huge benefit and therefore I’m leaning towards all the raced runners.
Unfortunately some are drawn badly but my selections are Over Sharing, Gift For The Gap, Russian Beat and Drop Kick.
Race 2 is for two-year-old fillies and the same rule applies. Therefore I would consider banking Fariha, who has form and should make more improvement as well. For those who are concerned about banking a juvenile, the dangers are Favourite Model and Dashuri.
Race 3 is over 1450m and here a good draw is a huge advantage. With the withdrawal of Potjie, banker Imperial Quest in the Place Accumulator.
For the Pick 6 if he is not good enough, consider Running Fury, Mighty Storm and The Barry Burn.
Race 4 is also over 1450m so taking form and draws into account Nawaasi is a possible banker. She was squeezed out shortly after the jump on debut which obviously affected her chances quite badly. Hopefully with a better start and more experience she should improve. Banker her in all bets.
Race 5 is a Pinnacle Stakes and the two best handicapped horses should fight it out, and they are Girl On The Run and Let It Rain.
Those should be good enough for the Pick 6 but for the PA banker Let It Rain is a consistent sort and should be dictating his own pace and will not have any excuses about luck in running. It is also significant that Aldo Domeyer has come up from Cape Town to ride him for the Ashley Fortune yard which has had great success in short time.
Race 6 is a handicap and this is where it becomes more difficult. Many horses have chances and include as many as you can in the exotics. My main selections are The Rising Legend, Kremlin Judgement and Helios and those are my three for the PA. For the Pick 6 consider the field.
Race 7 is a fillies’ handicap and usually these are your most difficult races. However, my best bet is Frederico’s Dream. She has been running in feature races, is drawn well and has the benefit of a 4kg claimer in the irons. This race should work out ideally for her as she does have speed but Kissable, from a bad draw has even more speed, so Frederico’s Dream might just find herself in a beautiful position and be good enough to beat them at the finish.
Race 8 is another handicap and this is quite a difficult race to assess as many have good chances. My main selections are Snow Boarding and Sporting Monarch but as this race starts right on the bend a good draw makes a big difference. For that reason throw in Donny G as your roughie in the PA. For the Pick 6 include as many as you can.