Not many horses can claim to have made their racing debut in a Grade 1 event but that is exactly what happened to this Australian-bred son of Redoute’s Choice. His first run came last year in the Grade 1 SA Nursery over 1160m at Turffontein and he was well supported to make it a winning appearance.
Unfortunately the race turned out to be a disaster for the son of that brilliant South African-bred mare National Colour. He was carried in and forced to switch and finished eighth of the 13 runners, beaten 12 lengths by Arabian Beat.
Trainer Mike de Kock decided to put him away until March this year when he reappeared in a Maiden Plate over 1200m at the Vaal. He held his nose in front but had to share top honours with Hidden Agenda.
However, everybody saw what this three-year-old colt could do in his next start, a MR 78 Handicap over the same course and distance, where he was strongly supported in the betting and raced away to beat Night Editor by 3.10 lengths. He clearly impressed the handicappers as well who handed the colt a 4kg penalty.
Rafeef takes a jump in class and is 0.5kg under sufferance but he has just 52kg on his back and he should prove almost unstoppable. Apprentice Callan Murray, who has ridden him to victory in both of his starts, will be aboard again.
The dangers look to be Thrust and Will Pays. The pair met in November last year and it was Thrust who came out the better by 1.25 lengths. This time Will Pays is 3.5kg better off and on paper should reverse the placings.
However, Paul Matchett’s charge is one those runners who seems under pressure halfway up the straight but then takes off and runs down his opponents quite easily. One is never sure how much he had in hand because Piere Strydom was easing him up before the finish on that occasion. So although this will be his second race after a layoff, one expects Thrust to maintain his superiority over the Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained runner.
Randall Simons has won four races aboard the son of Toreador and he takes the ride on Thrust once again.