Trainer Joey Soma and jockey S’manga Khumalo will be hoping High Drama does not live up to his name when he runs in Race 5 at the Vaal on Tuesday, an 1800m MR 87 Handicap.
The Trippi five-year-old has taken to starting slowly – not by much, just enough to impact if he comes under pressure. However, he certainly has the ability to win a race of this nature on his best efforts.
He finished unplaced for only the third time in his career last time out, when a three-length fifth behind Fareeq over 1600m on the Turffontein Inside track and meets Cockade and J’s Outsider, who were both behind him, on the same terms.
That was his first start after an eight-month layoff and he is entitled to improve on that effort. He has the advantage of No 1 draw and a handy galloping weight of just 55.5kg.
Cockade coughed when fading late to sixth behind Fareeq and is much better than that. If trainer Lucky Houdalakis has him back to his best, he might be second best.
He scored his second career win over 2000m at this track in January, when beating Malinga by 0.70 lengths. He meets the runner-up on 0.5kg worse terms and it should be even closer this time. Yer-Maan was fifth, only 1.70 lengths behind Cockade in that race, and is 2.5kg better off. However, it’s been a while since Yer-Maan has finished in the first four and he will need to show a bit more fight to make an impact.
Champion trainer Sean Tarry runs Smartifact, who will be ridden by Lyle Hewitson as a result of his stable jockey jumping ship and taking the mount on Cockade.
Ignore the four-year-old’s last run because he started slowly, coughed and was reported distressed after the race. He tries further now, but had fair form before that and is also drawn well at No 4.
There is a bit of depth to the race and chances must also go to Malinga, Smart Mart and Wild Brier.
My Treasure could recoup losses for only managing third as favourite behind Neuf de Pape last week when he runs in Race 7 over 1475m. Houdalakis’ runner is holding form well and looks one of the safer Pick 6 banker possibilities.
Ronnie Rocket has won his last two starts with some authority. Although he does not have an easy task in Race 2 with a quick-fire merit rating hike totalling 15 points, or 7.5kg, he seems to have won those races more easily than the bare form would suggest.
He looks set to follow up for trainer John Vos and jockey Craig Zackey in this MR 91 Handicap over 1000m and rates a Place Accumulator and BiPot banker.