With almost every feature race producing a different result the quality of this current crop of three-year-olds needs to be called into question.
Just when it looks as if we have found a new star, that “prodigy” gets run over on the next occasion. Maybe we have yet to see the best and things will improve later in the season.
As a result Race 7 at the Vaal today, a MR 80 Handicap over 1700m, is of particular interest. Based on the current form the next sensation is unlikely to emerge from this group but some of them have not finished too far behind the feature race winners so their form has some relevance.
Best performer in this field of eight was Dawn Raid, who finished a 3.25-length fourth behind Linker in the TBA Ready To Run Cup (Non-Black Type) over 1400m at Turffontein last month.
Unfortunately he has been sold without an engagement and has been scratched. That has opened up the race somewhat but it might be worth going with St John Gray’s Leigh Woods. He has some decent form on the sand but only this race will tell whether that will translate into similar form on turf. If it does, the Fort Wood gelding has to be a contender. He carries 55kg and has Piere Strydom in the irons.
This will be the first time he tries this distance but on breeding it should not be much of a problem.
Val Et Al is the unknown factor. He has only raced once and beat Golden Man by 0.75 lengths. He was well supported to win on that occasion, going off favourite at 7-2, but no winners have come from that form line so it is hard to make an assessment as to how good the son of Var is.
Champion jockey Gavin Lerena takes the ride for the Geoff Woodruff stable.