Horses / Horse News

Mark van Deventer
2 minute read
15 Oct 2013
10:31 am

Tough Scottsville handicap for bettors

Mark van Deventer

A tight 1400m contest requires solving when nine fillies and mares go to post for a MR 92 Handicap over the Scottsville inside course today. With a number of natural front runners – Michelle My Belle, Guest El Grande, Keigei and Preamble, the pace should be enervating from the jump.

Picture: AFP.

The likely favourite is in-form Choir Maiden to be ridden by Anton Marcus. But as she is a sluggish starter with a short finishing burst, it will be a real test of pace judgement for the master rider. Though clearly in with a winning chance, she is not one on which to bet the house, especially at a short price. Better value may be provided by the Garth Puller-trained Moon by Night.

The Victory Moon mare is favourably handicapped and likely to work out a good tactical trip just off the early speed, but there are a few knocks against her too. Ironically, she has not won for many moons, arguably being more effective over a bit more ground, and attempting the tricky Scottsville inner circuit for the first time may further temper enthusiasm for her chances.

Nevertheless, based on her best efforts, she is entitled to shape at this grade and could be a sound eachway proposition.

The contender shortlist does not end there. Blouberg Beach is back from the Cape where she hinted at a return to peak form when running on behind Diva’s Daughter in this same class a few weeks ago. Golden Dynasty’s overall career record of one win from 17 starts does not inspire, but astute Gavin Van Zyl stable know that 1400m is her best distance, and has placed her accordingly after a short layoff.

In late September Preamble beat Choir Maiden using forcing tactics over this course and distance, while bottom-weight Guest El Grande has also been successful with similar front-running methods at lower-class levels.

Lightly raced Stowaway only beat weaker victims in a MR 68 Handicap before a 29-week break, and would ordinarily be a toss out, until checking the trainer column. With Mike de Kock as her conditioner, bettors are unlikely to dismiss this filly.

It all adds up to a tough race to decipher. Bettors not totally sold on the claims of favourite Choir Maiden and eachway speculation Moon by Night may choose to go deeper. Wide cover in contentious fillies and mares handicaps is often advisable for Exotic punters trying to advance to the next leg of their bet.