Horses / Horse News

Nicci Garner
3 minute read
15 Sep 2017
10:47 am

Hat Puntano an exciting horse to follow in SA

Nicci Garner

But this classy individual has not raced since July last year.

FORM: Save The Rhino, pictured winning in February, will be ridden by in-form Gavin Lerena in Race 4 over 2600m at Turffontein tomorrow. Lerena says: “He’s an honest horse who never runs a bad race and it looks like this race will suit him. He should be included in Pick 6s.” Silver Thursday is all the rage in Race 6 over 1450m, but Lerena’s mount Pool Party has been given a huge chance by her trainer Roy Magner so Lerena is expecting to place. His final ride at the meeting is Gaisce Gold in Race 8 over 1450m. “He is a really honest horse who has good gate speed and a high cruising speed. I think he’ll be be er suited to the 1450m than 1200m."

There’s some nice competitive racing at Turffontein tomorrow when the meeting is on the Inside track.

One of the most interesting runners at the meeting must be Hat Puntano, who makes his South African debut in Race 7, a Pinnacle Stakes over 1450m.

This Argentinian-bred four- year-old colt is obviously on the road to a more lucrative career as a stallion, being owned in part- nership with Drakenstein Stud, and his form in his home country is impressive.

He contested three Group 1 races there as a two-year-old, winning twice over 1600m in the Gran Premio Gran Criterium he trounced his field by five lengths and in the Gran Premio dos Mil Guineas at San Isidro he won by two lengths. The other Group 1 race, the Gran Premio Estrellas Juvenile, was run on the dirt and he finished sixth.

The shorter distance of this race should not be a worry because he won over 1400m by a whopping 16 lengths in his debut.

Said trainer Mike Azzie: “The horses he beat there are not slouches and some have gone on to win Group 1s – one was Horse Of The Year in Argentina and another won the equivalent of the Queen’s Plate.”

That is exceptional form to bring to a spring meeting at Turffontein and under normal circumstances punters could close their eyes and pile in.

However, Hat Puntano has not run since July last year, and he is drawn wide over a distance where the draw is crucial on the Inside track. Azzie agrees “he has it all to do from that draw”.

He said: “We haven’t put him under any pressure, we’re bringing him on very slowly. His owners want him to have a good experience on Saturday, so we’re taking him to have a nice look-see. But if he does win it will be a bonus.”

He looks sure to start at a reasonably good price and with his immense class, looks worth at least an Eachway punt. However, it would probably be wise to include other runners in the carryover Pick 6, like Toro Rosso, Amazing Strike and Count Tassilo.

A couple of really nice llies will be stepping out in Race 6, a FM 83 Handicap over 1450m.

Three-year-old Silver Thursday has run three times to date, winning her debut over 1200m before being thrown in at the deep end in the Fillies Nursery. She was reportedly “never travelling” and finished 10th behind Green Plains. The next month when sent over this course and distance, she did much be er in finishing second to Folk Dance.

If she is anywhere near best after a 104-day rest, Silver Thursday will be hard to beat. Watch the be ing and any support should be followed.

Sweet Lady Jade, although she has been well beaten in her last two starts and returns from a 189 day rest, could be second best. Her first four starts included two wins and two placings. The latest place was a third behind Dame Eleanor over this course and distance and that run gives her a good chance.

Box the Exactas and take Swingers with Silver Thursday and Sweet Lady Jade.