The weather in Joburg is steaming hot and an evening under the stars at Turffontein could be the ideal way to spend tonight.
The first night meeting of the season comprises an eight-race card and also sees racing return to the Standside track with longer run-in. Topping the meeting is The Citizen Pinnacle Stakes for fillies and mares over 1400m and it is highly competitive. As a rule the best handicapped runners tend to have a distinct advantage in Stakes races but on this occasion there is little separating almost all the runners.
Sensible Lover is marginally the best weighted runner based on merit ratings but Weiho Marwing’s charge only has a 0.5kg edge over Tahini and Fort Ember with Noor and Be Mine Tonight another 1kg out.
Tahini ran a cracker last time when she rallied gamely to get the better of two top fillies in Querari Falcon and Negroamaro and a repeat of that performance could make her hard to beat. But that could all depend on the current fitness of Sensible Lover.
Her form is in a different league to any of these runners and includes a one-length second behind Inara in the Grade 1 L Jaffee Empress Club Stakes over 1600m at this course. In fact her last six runs have all been in graded or Listed events.
Marwing will not have the Australian-bred mare far off her best form and with brother Weichong in the irons and a perfect No 3 draw, she could have the class to win a race of this nature.
Tahini went off at 35-1 last time but trainer Sean Tarry confirmed in his interview that her work at home had been excellent. Whether she will repeat the run in her second effort after a layoff only the race will tell but she will need to overcome No 11 draw, not a great place to start from over this distance.
Often when night racing gets under way on the Highveld it brings with it the cure for a drought so if one is looking for a topically named horse then go with The Smell Of Rain. Erico Verdonese’s charge has not run against this level of opposition but she clearly is decent. She has run only four times for three wins and a fourth place which was over 1000m on the Inside track, which was clearly too sharp.
Her last run was on 30 April and it was over the course and distance which she won going away. She carries 55.5kg and jumps from barrier No 3.
The Mike de Kock yard is in good form so one cannot write off the chances of Noor and Nikki.