Jack Milner
2 minute read
21 May 2015
9:38 am

Is Tommy losing form?

Jack Milner

Uncle Tommy has always been one of those tried and trusted runners on the Vaal sand. His record of three wins, three seconds and three thirds in nine starts over 1450m at the track speaks volumes for his consistency.

TREAD WARILY. After his first unplaced run on the Vaal sand Uncle Tommy might not be a banker on today's Vaal sand card. Picture: supplied

So when he spoiled his record last time at the course when trailing in a 9.80-length sixth behind Stavinsky in the Grade 3 Highveld Challenge alarm bells started ringing. It was the first time in 17 starts over any distance at the course the Weiho Marwing-trained son of Kahal had run out of the first three.

What was also of significance was a disturbing drift in betting from an opening call of 12-10 to 28-10. The course veterinarian reported Uncle Tommy was not striding out but the run was worrying.

Now almost eight-years-old, is age catching up with this remarkably consistent 12-time winner?

As a result, when he goes into Race 5 today, a Pinnacle Stakes over 1450m on the sand, one might feel a little trepidation to make him a banker in all bets. Under the race conditions he will be very hard to beat as he is at least 4kg better off with the balance of the runners but there is an uneasy feeling. He is drawn No 9 which is not great at this course and he gets another 1.5kg off his back thanks to the allowance claimed by apprentice Wesley Marwing.

The next question is: with whom do you back him up?

Across The Ice looks the obvious answer as he is also a sand specialist who is the next best weight runner and has Piere Strydom in the irons. Unfortunately Sean Tarry’s charge is not at his best over this distance and despite one second and two third places in 10 starts, Across The Ice has yet to win over 1450m.

And yes, he is heading towards nine years of age.

It could pay to go look at Mootahadee and Augustinus as the runners to back you up. Mootahadee has run four times at the course for two wins, on second and one third but his worst run was over 1450m when beaten 4.25 lengths by Solar Triptych. However, that was his first run on the Vaal sand and Mike de Kock’s charge has improved significantly with two wins over 1200m, including a 0.50-length victory over Across The Ice.

Johnny Geroudis takes the ride.

Augustinus ran third in that race but he probably found 1200m too sharp and will improve over the extra distance. Karl Zechner rides and they are well drawn at No 2.

Stavinsky is also in the field and meets Uncle Tommy on 3.5kg worse terms. However, he is not the most consistent of runners and might not put in the same quality performance this time.