Jockey Devin Habib has had 36 rides since returning from injury but although he has had a few places, he has yet to ride his first winner.
That could change today at the Vaal where he has some decent rides for trainer Paul Peter. He is aboard Bally Swiss in Race 2, Forest Fox in Race 5, African Ruler in Race 6 and Eliza Doolittle in Race 8, all of whom have winning chances. Ridden by Habib on debut, Bally Swiss was well supported from 14-1 into 7-2 but after being in contention going through the 400m, the three-year-old filly was unable to match Jungle Mist in the closing stages and went down by 3.60 lengths.
This daughter of Mogok, however, has another daughter of Mogok, Our Miracle, as her obvious danger. Our Miracle was also backed in debut, shortening from 10-1 to 33-10, and went down 0.40-lengths to Coratina over 1000m at the Vaal. There are also a number of unraced runners in the field so one needs to watch the betting.
There is a lot to like about Forest Fox in Race 5. Peter’s charge is the best handicapped runner in this Graduation Plate over 1200m and he has a liking for the Vaal track. Had this been a handicap Forest Fox would have had to give an additional 4.5kg to Seattle Lady and 6.5kg to Buckland.
At one stage of his career 1200m looked a touch sharp for the four-year-old Dupont gelding, but as he showed two runs back when a 1.70-length third behind Trip To Heaven with Lineker splitting them, he is quite capable of holding his own over this distance.
The main danger could be Burg from the Ormond Ferraris stable. He has run behind some decent performers on his day and if in a competitive mood, the son of Toreador will make them all run.
Buckland is highly rated by champion trainer Sean Tarry and looked to be useful when beating New Predator by 3.25 lengths over this course and distance in October. The form started to look suspect when Buckland ran 8.75 lengths behind Muwaary in the Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein but then it had new life breathed into it when New Predator was narrowly beaten by Noah From Goa in the Grade 2 Investec Dingaans over 1600m at Turffontein last Saturday.
African Ruler has a lot going for him in Race 6 over 1000m. He is a two-time winner from four starts and last time out he also ran behind Muwaary in the Graham Beck Stakes, finishing six lengths back. He could have found 1400m too far as a run earlier he had just scraped through over 1300m.
He has not raced over 1000m but does have good gate speed and shows a lot of pace.
His main danger comes from Mike de Kock-trained Wisaam who made a winning debut on the sand in April. The New Zealand-bred son of More Than Ready was due to make his comeback a few weeks back but was withdrawn, so one needs to keep an eye on the betting and check for any support.
Race 8 over 1400m for fillies and mares is one of the most open on the card and while Eliza Doolittle might not show the best form recently, she has raced against stronger and takes a drop in class.
In her favour is that her lone career win was over the course and distance and she won by seven lengths.
NO 11 ROAD TO INDY
NO 4 RARING TO GO