Hopefully a change of course will help Danza score his second career win. Alec Laird’s charge has run 13 times for one win, five seconds, three thirds and a fourth place, most of his best runs coming on the Inside track at Turffontein.
Last time he travelled to Greyville and competed in a MR 80 Handicap over 1600m. Somehow that distance is just a touch too far and he seems to be at his best over distance from 1200m to 1450m.
His lone win was over 1450m but he has run third in both of his runs over 1200m. Today the son of Mambo In Seattle will have his first run on the Vaal Classic track and hopefully the new scenery will work in his favour.
He contests Race 2 a Graduation Plate over 1200m and is marginally the best weighted runner – by just 1kg – over Rightful King. However, that might not be his biggest threat.
British Royale, from the Johan Janse van Vuuren yard, has run against some of the best two-year-olds in country last season and won his first race as a three-year-old impressively. Nevertheless, if the handicappers have it right, he has his work cut out to beat Danza who has a 5.5kg handicap advantage.
The problem is that you are comparing a three-year-old with a four-year-old and there is no factor built in that monitors improvement. We saw at Turffontein yesterday Negroamaro had a 6kg handicap edge over Querari Falcon but the younger horse gave her older rival a 2.25-length hiding.
What gives this race more of a bite is that it will be fought out by the two leading apprentices of last season with Champion Apprentice Callan Murray on Danza and Lyle Hewitson aboard British Royale.
Despite earlier comments it would be foolish to write off the chances of Rightful King because he could also make major improvement. He beat He’s A Var by 5.50 lengths on debut but then ended up at the back of the field behind stable companion Cloth Of Cloud in the Grade 1 SA Nursery over 1160m at Turffontein.
There were valid excuses for his poor run as he lost ground at the start and made a respiratory noise but that last race was on 30 April and the son of Right Approach is likely to be in need of the run. JP van der Merwe takes the ride on Sean Tarry’s charge.