The KwaZulu-Natal Champions Season is in hiatus this weekend, with only a low-key meeting at Scottsville on Sunday. The best racing on offer is at Turffontein, where nine races are contested on the Standside course on Saturday.
Two Pinnacle Stakes races over 1600m top the Joburg fare and both are tough nuts to crack – with small fields in which just about every horse has a claim.
Race 7 is particularly intriguing. It is nominally the male heat of the two Pinnacles, but trainer Stuart Pettigrew has chosen to chuck in his smart filly Wisteria Walk.
This four-year-old has been campaigning in feature races over many months, performing creditably against the likes of Summer Pudding; most recently finishing runner-up to Caya Coco in the Tibouchina at Greyville, while conceding 1.5kg to the winner.
If Pettigrew had opted for the exclusively female race, Wisteria Walk’s 110 merit rating would have seen her lumped with top weight. As it is, the 57kg she carries against the boys gives her a bit of an edge. But is it enough?
The opposition are no mugs. Topweight Putontheredlight won a high-class handicap for champion trainer Sean Tarry over this track and trip a fortnight ago. His MR is just 1 pound off Wisteria Walk’s and will surely make her run for the intended coup.
Three-year-old Kingley’s Heart, from the stable of the shrewd Weiho Marwing, sits at the bottom of the weights with 56kg and is having his peak run after gelding. Second place last time after making the running suggests he is in good order and will surely threaten at some stage.
Orpheus hasn’t won in more than two years, but shows signs of regaining his best form, while Astrix is a sort who could cause the upset.
Most of the seven runners like to get on with the job of racing, so the pace is likely to be hot, which should favour both Putontheredlight and Wisteria Walk.
The female Pinnacle, Race 6, is also wide-open and exotic bet punters are advised to go wide – take the field if you can afford it.
2 Follow Me, 5 Terra Time, 7 Clafoutis, 3 Lollapalooza
1 Rain In Holland (best bet), 5 Starrywinternight, 9 Pewter Sky, 6 Flinders Range
5 Never No Way, 6 Phaka Imali, 4 Gimme A Dream, 7 Poetic License
8 Warship, 7 Remember When, 1 Frosted Ice, 2 Amalfi Coast
5 Kwite A Trip, 3 Captain Hindsight, 4 Singfonica, 2 Visiway
4 Wylie Wench, 2 Victoria Paige, 3 Kayla’s Champ, 5 Rouge Allure
1 Putontheredlight, 6 Wisteria Walk, 7 Kingsley’s Heart, 4 Orpheus
3 Believeinthefuture, 4 Jumeirah Gold, 2 Joe Harman, 1 Parker Getrix
2 Crusade To Royalty, 1 Arizona Lady, 8 Rapid Change, 4 Lucky Shamrock
1,7,8 x 3,4,5 x 1,2,3,4,5,6 x 1,2,4,6,7 x 3 x 1,2,8 (R810)
5 x 7,8 x 5 x 2,4 x 1,6,7 x 3 x 1,2 (R24)
Best: Race 5 No 4 Irish Morning
Value: Race 3 No 8 Comedy Of Manners
Best: Race 6 No 2 Captain Fontane
Value: Race 7 No 3 Abbey Wood