Based on his last run behind Brutal Force in the Grade 2 Merchants, Aurum Pot looks the horse they will all have to beat in Race 6 at Turffontein this evening, a MR 102 Handicap over 1160m.
The son of Judpot has been remarkably consistent and running with just 52.5kg on his back in the Merchants on Summer Cup Day, a race run over the same course and distance as this event, it came as no surprise to see some support for him at 25-1. He started at 16-1 and was up with the pace the whole way. It was only late in the race Brutal Force got away from him but Aurum Pot stayed on well to finish fourth, beaten just 1.70 lengths.
It was a decent performance and on that run Alec Laird’s charge should get the better of his six rivals under the stars on the Standside track tomorrow. The one concern is that although the five-year-old gelding has not finished further than 3.20 lengths behind the winner in his last five starts, he also has not been able to get his nose down where it matters.
He won two consecutive races earlier this year and that saw his merit rating go up to 99 but he has not been able to win at that level. Unfortunately, by running as consistently as he has, the handicappers can find no reason to lower that rating.
This is undoubtedly his best opportunity in quite a while and he will be aided by the services of champion jockey Gavin Lerena.
Moofeed represents the Mike de Kock yard but he looks held by Aurum Pot. He finished 2.25 lengths behind Aurum Pot over 1200m at the Vaal in February and the pair meet on the identical weight differential.
Splendid Garden won well last time, beating Flag Of France by 2.50 lengths. The Mike Azzie-trained runner has run five times over the course and distance for two wins and two third places so he is sure to be thereabouts.
In addition, on a line through Brutal Force, he looks held by Aurum Pot and Laird’s charge looks to have some two to three lengths in hand. It is also not a good idea to be swayed by that fact JP van der Merwe has taken the ride on Splendid Garden over Aurum Pot as he in all likelihood is committed to ride the Azzie-trained runner.
National Key is capable on his day but Brian Wiid’s charge is another who battles to find his way to the winner’s enclosure. Prince Jazeem had a good run back on the Highveld last time and Sean Tarry’s yard is in top form.
One is left with two options for the Pick 6 – either banker Aurum Pot or take the field.