Piere Strydom
5 minute read
2 Apr 2016
7:00 am

Banker Abashiri in Classic

Piere Strydom

Heaps Of Fun and Negroamaro could fight out the finish of Fillies Classic.

Piere Strydom believes Abashiri will be hard to beat in today’s R2-million SA Classic over 1800m at Turffontein today.

I have been off now for seven weeks and unfortunately it is not over yet. I still have restricted movement in the arm and I currently am having some heavy physiotherapy. I should know during the course of next week what the final outcome will be but if it all goes according to plan I will be back to ride at the Vaal meeting on 26 April.

The jockey ranks have been extremely depleted lately and hopefully a few of the leading jocks will be back to ride soon. On the positive side it has been giving the jockeys who don’t get regular rides the chance to prove their mettle and also improve their ability with the decent opportunities that are coming their way. After all, the more you ride the better you should get.

Today is Classic Day at Turffontein which is one of our major race meetings on the Highveld but unfortunately I will not be part of it. It would have been nice to have ridden some of these top quality horses, not only because they have the ability to win today but because these are the runners who will be winning other features further down the line.

The main race is the R2-million SA Classic (Grade 1) and it forms the second leg of the SA Triple Crown. I think we have a real contender to win the R2-million bonus in Abashiri. He has already won the Betting World Gauteng Guineas and looks quite capable of winning today’s race over 1800m and the SA Derby over 2450m on Saturday 30 April.

The Gauteng Guineas was over 1600m, which I thought could be too short for him but he won it with ease. For me he looks to be a banker in both the Place Accumulator and Pick 6. He has beaten almost every horse in this race and in my opinion he would have to run below par not to win it. But horses are not machines and things can go wrong so if you’re looking for runners to back him up perhaps Brazuca and Champagne Haze look the best of the rest.

The other feature is the Grade 1 Wilgerbosdrift SA Fillies Classic, also over 1800m. Heaps Of Fun is the one filly in line to win the R1-million Wilgerbosdrift Triple Tiara as she won the Wilgerbosdrift Gauteng Fillies Guineas and along with Negroamaro, who was the runner-up in the Fillies Guineas, look the two runners with the proven form.

As a result I will stick with them although neither has raced over 1800m before so they are untested. They will be my two for the Place Accumulator but in the Pick 6 I will add in Noor, who looks relatively unexposed and could have a lot more still to come. If those are not enough then you could just about go with the field.

Going back to Race 1 Wukkin’ Up looks the runner to follow. She is lightly raced and has lots of room for improvement. She is quoted at 9-10 which is a short price so the value could be with London who has been running in competitive races. Her merit rating has dropped, she has No 1 draw and is back in fillies’ company.

Race 2 is a juvenile race which is a concern because some of the runners can improve while others do not. I’m leaning towards Cloth Of Cloud and Fresh as the two to fight it out.

Race 3 is the Man O’ War Sprint which is a Conditions Race. That means the highest rated horse should win it and that honour goes to Arabian Beat. But his last run was poor and he will be wearing blinkers for the first time. However, if he returns to best form he should be the one to beat. This is a competitive race, though, and I would consider putting in Bull Valley who is also coming off a long rest and a poor run. It could be wise to include African Ruler and/or Isca as well.

Race 4 is the Grade 3 Protea Stakes for two-year-olds and the form works out very close to one another so for the Place Accumulator include as many as you can and for the Pick 6 take the field barring Le Tigre. My selection is He’s A Var, Flying Myth and Janoobi.

Race 5 is the Grade 1 HF Oppenheimer Horse Chestnut Stakes and again the top rated horse should win. I have always thought Legal Eagle needed more ground than 1600m but he did a great job of winning the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth in January from the front over this distance. He could be a possible Place Accumulator banker but as he has not run for a while it might be wise to include Captain America.

For the Pick 6 if you want also add in Ice Machine.

Race 6 is a handicap for fillies and mares, which is always a difficult event and this time it is even more so. For the Pick 6 you need to include the field. For the Place Accumulator I’m leaning towards Ahlaam, Zrinski and Patchit Up Baby. You could even consider adding another runner.

Race 9 is the Caradoc Gold Cup over 2850m and this is also a conditions race so once again some horses are better handicapped than others. For me there are only five horses who can win it and they are Cool Chardonnay, Storm Warning, Arch Rival, Supertube and Marmalady. I would include all of these in the Pick 6 and for the Place Accumulator choose any three of those mentioned.

Race 10 is quite a competitive handicap but I’m leaning towards Captain’s Causeway as he has more scope for improvement than any other runner in the race. The danger is Thrust who has competed against stronger company and could quite easily beat Captain’s Causeway if he does not make the necessary improvement.