We are back on the Turffontein Inside track today even though we were due to run the WSB Grand Heritage which is the showpiece race at the Vaal.
Unfortunately nature is not always in alignment with what we want and with the grass taking longer to grow than we had hoped and the dressing still on the track it was going to be touch and go whether the course would be ready to handle a full meeting, especially one with so many horses taking part.
Even though the Inside track is now taking a bit of a pounding as a result of all the extra racing, it was the right decision to move the meeting as we have to provide the horses with the best surface on which to race.
The Grand Heritage and the Grand Heritage Consolation will now be run on Saturday 13 October.
It is still my opinion that it could be wise to build a Polytrack on the Highveld but cost-wise that could be an issue. I have ridden on both the Polytrack at Greyville and Fairview and I can say on behalf of all the jockeys they enjoy riding on the surface.
A lot of research would have to go into it as the only Polytrack on the Highveld is at Randjesfontein and I find that track very hard with no give.
This is only my opinion but it makes sense as through the winter when there is no growth we would not have to deal with all of these issues. It would also mean the only way we would lose a meeting is when lightning comes in to play.
Race 1 today is a Maiden Plate over 1200m where it would be wise to take form and good draws into account. For that reason, Pieces Of Gold and Rocky Path are the ones to fight it out. Their danger is probably Prix Eclips who was not beaten far in his first start, but it was not a strong field. There are a number of unraced horses so keep an eye on the betting to check for any significant moves.
Race 2 is another Maiden Plate over 1200m and my first selection is Isovar who finished second in her only start and is well drawn at No 3. She has not run for a couple of months and there is a concern that the form of that race is not strong. She is already a four-year-old who has only had one start and that is also a worry.
Her danger is Mercer Girl but she has also not raced for a while so consider Fararanga and Practical Cat as well for the BiPot. Once again there are some unraced runners so watch for any significant betting moves, but a bad draw could hamper their chances as they could jump slowly as a result of their inexperience and get too far back on a fast track.
I’m riding Currency who on merit rating should not be able to beat those runners mentioned and the bad draw is not in her favour either. I would be quite happy with a place.
Race 3 is a fillies’ handicap where Jameson Girl looks hard to beat. She has run against stronger and from a good draw has a lot going for her.
Dangers are Kissmeinmydreams and Only To Win. I’m riding Eleni who is coming off a rest and she was also not striding out last time so hopefully this firm going won’t affect her chances.
For the Place Accumulator banker Jameson Girl.
Race 4 is another fillies handicap and on form Schippers and Regal Graduation should fight it out. For the Place Accumulator choose either and for the Pick 6 go with both.
Race 5 is the Heritage Handicap and the horses who have run against stronger company with the best form are Clever Guy and Just As I Said. Both need to be included in the PA along with Mount Keith whose form has been franked and he has a light weight.
For the Pick 6 others to consider must be Winter’s Forge, In Cahoots and hopefully my ride, Catkin, if he doesn’t need the run.
Race 6 is the Sophomore 1000 for three-year-olds and many of these can improve markedly. But this is not a handicap and you have to consider the best merit-rated horses who are Dewali and Dalai’s Promise. They should fight it out and as such, I believe one can banker Dewali in the Place Accumulator as he has the speed to overcome the draw. However, put both in the Pick 6.
Race 7 is a fillies’ handicap and this is quite a tricky affair. My first selection goes to Trip To Ibiza. She has had some poor runs in Cape Town. In her first run on the Highveld she had a wide draw and may just have needed the run for her new stable. But with a good draw and a drop in merit rating she needs to be included in all bets.
The main danger is stable companion Get Your Grove On. For the Place Accumulator also consider Twelve Oaks.
As far as the Pick 6 is concerned add in Elusive Strike and anything else you may like.
Race 8 looks to be one of the toughest races on the card and therefore one needs to go wide in the Place Accumulator.
My selections in order of preference, are Chief Black Horse, Black Sail, Gone With The Wind and Alphamikefoxtrot.
You might a lot more for the Pick 6 so put in as many as your pocket can afford.
Race 9 is another Maiden Plate and you could possibly get away with just two horses in both the Pick 6 and Place Accumulator.
Magic’s First made good improvement last time in his second start when second to Seville Orange and he should be the runner to beat.
The danger is my mount, Favourite Model, who has a good draw and is the highest rated runner in the field.