I’ve been riding with success for many years and have built up quite a following. Bookmakers tend to price up my mounts at shorter odds than they should be at times, which means they still have some respect for my ability.
While I appreciate that fact, I still feel the poor punters often gets the raw end of the stick as they often get sucked into the whole facade.
On Tuesday night I rode a horse in the last race called Rambo. In his last six starts he had one fifth, in which he was beaten 6.35 lengths, and in the other five races finished closer to the last placed runner.
The fact he is an eight-year-old does not help either as there is unlikely to be any scope for improvement. So I was quite amazed to see he was favourite for the race. In fact, most of the jockeys were laughing on the way down to the start because they couldn’t believe the betting.
The point I’m trying to make is that punters should be wary of the odds on offer. Rambo’s price did not make sense if you looked at the form.
Often the tipster will also say that the jockey has elected to ride a horse and therefore that mount has to be his preference. But there are times when you try to find the best possible ride and get turned down. So you carry on to your next choice which also gets turned down and you eventually take what you can get.
People then assume the horse I am riding was my first pick when it wasn’t. Naturally that happens with all jockeys, not only me.
Sometimes a trainer will put you down for a ride you did not call for and then you hear people saying that you picked the ride where in fact, that is far from the truth.
On other occasions you take a weaker option for a particularly stable because you regularly get rides from him and you don’t want to mess up your relationship with that trainer. There are also times you would like to ride other horses but can’t make the weight and sometimes, as is my case of late, I have so few rides so you take horses over the wrong distance or with bad draws so you could hopefully ride it next time in a field where all the factors give you a better chance of winning.
The problem is on those occasion, if a horse runs poorly you might not get the ride back and it could damage the relationship with that trainer.
We have tipped the Pick 6 for the last three meetings and hopefully we can make it four in a row. Racing is on the Turffontein Inside track today so don’t forget the lower draws are quite an advantage.
In Race 1 I ride Princess Aurora who has a good draw but as I mentioned earlier, Gavin Lerena rides for Geoff Woodruff on a regular basis and I’m sure he would have chosen Princess Aurora if he wanted but went for well-bred first-timer Girl With Ambition who is drawn No 1.
So she is my first choice and those who could chase her home are Princess Aurora, Mizshowbiz and Simply Royal, who is drawn wide but is also well bred.
Race 2 is a plate race and the only two horses with winning chances are Brazuca and Polyphonic. My first choice is Brazuca who has run behind Sun Met winner Whisky Baron. His merit rating has fallen and he wears blinkers for the first time. They could help him quite a bit as he has become quite lazy in recent outings.
Unfortunately his last run was below par and he has recently returned from Cape Town so put Polyphonic into the BiPot as back-up.
Race 3 is a Maiden Plate and nothing on form stands out so try to include as many as you can in the Place Accumulator. Choose Eversilver and two of either, Little Tokoyo, Just A Jet and Geosphere. I ride Little Tokoyo who is held on most of her runs. She has a low merit rating but naturally I’m hoping for the best.
In Race 4 we have a possible banker in Cheat The Cheaters. He has the strongest form line and the fact that his main danger is Rights Of Man, who has a shocking draw, backs up my thinking.
The dangers are Rights Of Man, Aristocat and maybe the filly, Amoretta, who is drawn No 1, has only raced once and could improve.
Race 5 contains another potential banker in Street Gaze. She has only had one run, she was short in the betting and there have been numerous winners from that form. She is a definite PA banker and probably a Pick 6 banker too. She has to fluff her lines to lose and if she does, others to consider must be Crush and Rose Of Soweto.
Race 6 is a fillies and mares handicap and quite a few of these fillies could be going on to bigger things. Those who come to mind are Grande Roche, who has only raced once and was an impressive winner, and Red Pomegranate, who on jockey-room talk is quite a good one. Those two could get you through the PA and even the Pick 6. For those who want to go wider consider Angelic Appeal and Biblical Susan.
I picked up the ride on Span Die Seile as both of Johan Janse van Vuuren’s jockeys are elsewhere engaged but obviously I will be trying my hardest to upset the odds.
I was going to make Patchit Up Baby in Race 7 my best bet on the card but as she has been priced up at 22-10 I will make her my value bet. This Allez France Stakes is not a handicap so she is very well in at the weights. She has raced against better than she meets in this event and has to be a banker in all bets.
We had another potential banker in Race 8 but as Pagoda has now been withdrawn you could just about go with anything. On form Royal Honour is my first choice but as he is coming back in distance and the inside track may not suit him, go as wide as you can.
For the PA possible horses are Baracah, Royal Honour, Skynight and Gentleman Only and for the Pick 6, definitely the field.
I ride Baracah who is an eight-year-old but he goes well for me. I have the feeling he may have reached his mark. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins this weak race but I wouldn’t make him a banker.
Race 9 is another difficult handicap and once again, for the Pick 6, include as many as you can afford. For the PA consider Post Grad, Urban Myth, American Tiger and Victorious Royal.