Lately the weather has been playing havoc with racing on the Highveld and I’m sure a lot of punters are finding it frustrating. If you’re frustrated can you imagine how we as jockeys feel. For us it is a case of no work, no pay so we are losing out on income.
It’s very much the same for trainers and owners. Trainers have to prepare horses and then the race gets washed out while owners have to pay the bills but are not seeing their horses run.
If you see the volume of lightning we have experienced on the Highveld there is no way we can take the risk and race.
Those in charge are obviously feeling the pressure about the need to race but fortunately sanity has always prevailed as the safety of horses and jockeys is paramount. Can you imagine what would happen if an official insisted a race went ahead and somebody is struck by lightning and killed? Nobody would want that on their conscience.
Well done to Phumelela for putting on an extra meeting at Turffontein on Thursday evening and hopefully the rain will stay away. While it is always impossible to predict the weather so far in advance we perhaps need to work around the weather. Maybe the way to go is to start earlier in the day as rain tends to become an issue later in the afternoon.
I understand we are influenced by overseas users who take our racing but if we don’t race at all, nobody benefits.
In general, we get our rain from the south-west which means the rain gets to the Vaal quite a while before it hits Joburg. So maybe if we started at around 11.30am and raced more at Turffontein, we could run most of the meeting before the rain arrives.
Today we do race at Turffontein on the Standside track and Race 1 is a Juvenile Plate. We already have a winner in Astrix who won second time out really comfortably but Ring Of Fire finished ahead of him on his first start and is better off at the weights. And with a 4kg claimer aboard there is a 7kg swing which should make Ring Of Fire hard to beat but there are some first timers who could be dangerous.
Race 2 is a Maiden Plate where none of the runners stands out. My first choice is Undiscovered Gem as she has only had one run and can only make further improvement. Other dangers are Tommy Tiger, and my ride, Summer House.
Another horse to consider is Winter Twilight who benefits from a 4kg claimer. When I rode him last time his back legs slipped coming out of the stalls and he lost his race right there.
If reserve runner Setablaze gets in he must be considered as well.
Race 3 is another Maiden Plate and there are a couple of horses who could fight it out. But my first selection is Gold Lightning as he has a fair draw and the strongest form of the lot. Banker him in the Place Accumulator.
His danger could be Humour Me who has only run once and was not beaten that far.
Race 4 is a fillies’ handicap and although the field is small, it is competitive. On form my first choice has to be Being Fabulous as she has run against stronger company. The same applies to Desert Rhythm but both have soundness issues so consider Tamarina and Flying Fable as well.
For the PA go with at least two of those mentioned and for the Pick 6, as there are two scratchings, it could be worth putting in the whole field.
Race 5 is an Assessment Plate over 1600m and Hero’s Honour comes out on top. On form he should be good enough to beat this field but he could still find the distance too short. He could be a possible PA banker but if you are concerned about the distance consider Approach Control as well. For the Pick 6 you have to include Zodiac Ruler and possibly Zillzaal, who only won his maiden but seems like an up-and-coming individual.
Race 6 is a handicap with many horses having chances but the two I’m leaning towards are D’ Arrivee and Shogun. They should be good enough for the PA. For the Pick 6 add in Bold Viking, The Rocketman and Kings Archer, who has a good draw and gets a 4kg allowance.
Race 7 is the Swallow Stakes with two horse standing out – All At Once and Mighty High. I would probably banker All At Once in the PA as she beat Mighty High and off the same weight difference should confirm the form. If you think Mighty High could make some improvement then include her in the Pick 6 with the dark horse being Blonde Vision.
Race 8 is another handicap with Oravar looking hard to beat. He is lightly raced, won well last time and even though he did get a penalty for that win, he now gets a 3kg claim and therefore looks difficult to beat.
Banker him in all bets.
If you are looking to beat him the likely suspects are Purple Diamond and Pillaroftheearth. I ride Donny G who looks held on form but he does run well for me and I’m hoping he can raise his game.
Race 9 is a Maiden Plate where Princess Lomita looks hard to beat. She ran on well over 1400m so the extra distance should be right up her alley. The rest of the opposition does not look that strong so I would banker her in all bets. If you look past her you will have to go very wide. I’m riding Wild Thoughts who is held on form by Ex’s ‘N Oh’s but I’m hoping she can make improvement.