Jack Milner
2 minute read
25 Aug 2015
6:00 am

Lerena and Khumalo back in action at the Vaal.

Jack Milner

Champion jockey Gavin Lerena and his predecessor and runner-up last season S’manga Khumalo return to race riding at the Vaal tomorrow and they should not be long making their respective marks on the new racing year.

There are two sprint races on the card and Khumalo looks to have a big opportunity of notching up a winner when he rides Bad Boy Buddy Boy in Race 6, a MR 90 Handicap over 1000m, on the turf track. Khumalo has ridden the Dominic Zaki-trained runner once before and that was when this son of Captain Al won his maiden in March.

The race was run in an exceptionally fast time which was enough to indicate that Bad Boy Buddy Boy was an above-average sprinter. He went on to win his next two starts and then Zaki decided to take him to Greyville to contest a R120,000 MR 104 over 1000m on the Greyville Polytrack.

He did not get out well, took a bump after some 200m and after that he had no chance. This is a horse who relies on his remarkable gate speed and early toe and if that is taken away from him he is like a soldier going into battle with no weapons.

That run is best ignored and back at the course when he scored his three victories, Bad Boy Buddy Boy should be able to recoup the losses of his last run.

Based on their Polytrack run Mod Barley should have the beating of Bad Boy Buddy Boy but that was not the true form of Zaki’s charge and it seems unlikely Paul Peter’s charge will confirm that run on the turf.

The main threat looks to be Flag Of France who in May, finished a 3.65-length fourth behind Bad Boy Buddy Boy and is now 4kg better off. It should be closer but Zaki’s charge should still be able to confirm the form.

Lady Al could be the answer to the fillies’ race, Race 7, an FM 95 Handicap over 1000m. She lost ground last time over 1200m after playing up at the start but flew up late to finish just a neck behind Kwinta.

In fact, she looked to have the measure of the deep-in-the-red favourite but Kwinta came back to win it, giving the impression this 200m shorter could be in Lady Al’s favour. With the 1.5kg claimed by apprentice Mathew Thackeray, the Clinton Binda-trained daughter of Captain Al carries just 51kg.