Trainer Louis Goosen scratched Trip Tease yesterday morning after he was found to be coughing. With Negev pulled out on Friday from Race 3 at this meeting for the same reason, one only hopes the bug causing all the coughing does not produce some sort of epidemic in the stable.
It was going to be an intriguing tussle as Trip Tease was aiming to make it five from five on the surface and notch up his sixth successive victory. However, he would have met Jade Bay, who he beat by 1.50 lengths last time, on 3kg worse terms.
Jade Bay made his sand debut in a Pinnacle Stakes over this course and distance in June and only found Trip Tease too good. He carried 61.5kg and will now have 3.5kg less on his back. He was already the best-weighted runner, even with Trip Tease in the race, but now Goosen’s charge is out he has 3kg pull over Chief Sioux based on handicap. Of course, that is based on his turf merit rating but now we know he can handle the sand, that rating is reasonably accurate.
Gavin Lerena takes the ride on Jade Bay once again. His mount shows a lot of speed but sometimes has a tendency to hang inwards. That could be a problem as he is drawn No 8 of the 10 runners. Fortunately the Dominic Zaki-trained runner is so quick that even if he does hang in, he is unlikely to cause interference.
The other concern is that Jade Bay has been to Durban and back since his last sand run. He raced in a MR 104 Handicap on the Greyville Polytrack on Durban July Day and finished a 2.05-length fifth behind Mr Whatever. He has been back for four weeks so Jade Bay should have fully recovered.
Chief Sioux could claim a few scalps if fit and well. Paul Matchett’s charge won his first two runs, including one on the sand, but has not raced since finishing down field in the Graham Beck Stakes in November last year.