Jack Milner
2 minute read
20 Jun 2014
8:43 am

Raaees looks hard to beat

Jack Milner

Despite winning three of his first four races, trainer Mike de Kock did not run Raaees in any of the Classic races on the Highveld during the autumn season.

Jockey S'manga Khumalo is a firm favourite at Greyville on Wednesday. Picture: Image supplied

He always said the Australian-bred gelding needed to race over longer distance and he was proved correct last time out when Raaees contested a Pinnacle Stakes over 2450m at Turffontein. Ridden by S’manga Khumalo, the son of Duke Of Marmalade raced at the rear of the slow run race and moved up dangerously with 400m to run. In the end he became a little one paced but did well to finish fourth, beaten 2.60 lengths by Magic Smoke.

The winner has been a revelation since trainer Mike Azzie put her over distance on the turf and won the Grade 2 Gold Bowl a run before this Pinnacle Stakes. The fact that Raaees had to give her 0.5kg demonstrates how good that run really was.

Raaees will against try 2400m when he lines up in a MR 77 Handicap at Scottsville on Wednesday. He is a three-time winner and all of those victories were in KwaZulu-Natal. He has raced three times at Scottsville for two wins and an unlucky 0.50-length defeat on debut. On that occasion Raaees lost four lengths at the start, raced greenly and then flew late.

He will carry top weight of 60kg but comes down quite dramatically in class. Anthony Delpech takes the ride.

Gold Bank finally shed his maiden tag last time out over 1800m on the Turffontein inside track. The Sean Tarry-trained runner has raced over 2400m at the Vaal and finished a 3.25-length second to Lions Emblem. That race left a sense of uncertainty as to whether Gold Bank stays a genuine 2400m or not. Lions Emblem moved away from him with ease and Gold Bank never looked like making up the leeway.

This will also be his first race at Scottsville so one cannot be sure whether he will take to the course. Craig Zackey takes the ride and Gold Bank will carry just 53kg.