Horses / Columnists

Piere Strydom
6 minute read
10 Jun 2017
8:26 am

High hopes for Black Arthur

Piere Strydom

July ride: Snaith’s runner needs to do well if he is to make it into the Durban July.

Jockey Piere Strydom celebrates after riding Madame Dubois to a win in the HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco Starling Stakes, 31 October 2015, on the Charity Mile race day at Turffontein Racecourse. Picture: Michel Bega

There’s a saying, “all roads lead to Rome”, and in South African horseracing at this time of the season, all winners lead to the Durban July.

Today we’re racing at Greyville where a double handful of feature races will be run and a number of the runners are looking to qualify for the Vodacom Durban July.

I’ve committed to a July ride from the Justin Snaith yard and they are leaning towards booking me for Black Arthur, who at this point is not even on the July log, which determines which horses are likely to run in the big race.

Unfortunately, I’m not riding Black Arthur in the Cup Trial today but I hope he does really well. At this stage he will go into the July with quite a low weight and I won’t be able to ride him at his current rating so will need to find another ride.

My back-up would be It’s My Turn – and a lot can still happen between now and 1 July.

Nevertheless keep a good eye on Black Arthur today. Apparently, since he’s been gelded he’s doing very well at home in his track work.

Today’s main race is the Rising Sun Gold Challenge in which I’m riding Janoobi. He’s taking a huge jump in class and is drawn on the beachfront so I’d be very surprised if he placed. Greyville 1600m races start right on the turn and if you look at the statistics there are almost no winners from the extreme outside draw.

This is not a handicap and the weights favour the higher merit-rated horses, therefore consider Marinaresco, Captain America and Trip To Heaven as the main runners. Dangers could be Sail South and Bela-Bela.

The main supporting feature is the Tibouchina Stakes, which is quite a competitive race but if you really had to cut down on numbers you could make a strong case for Just Sensual. She’s lightly raced, the best-handicapped horse in the field and has a fair draw. Her dangers could be Star Express, Captain’s Flame and Fort Ember.

I’m riding Silver Mountain, who is held on form but has draw No 1, which surely will help her chances. In fact, she is my best ride on the day, which doesn’t say much for my chances of riding a winner. But then last weekend my rides didn’t look so great either but I managed to ride two feature winners!

Tomorrow I’m riding at Turffontein where we start off with a Juvenile Plate. I’m riding Like Astair, who must have a winning chance having won his only start. Unfortunately that field was not strong and he was feeling his legs. Hopefully the Mike Azzie yard has sorted out his problem. The horse we’ll have to beat is Whorly Whorly, who has been running in features and still sometimes shows a bit of inexperience so can improve some more.

Race 2 is a Maiden Plate where none of the runners have shown outstanding form. We have some unraced horses who I don’t know much about. Try and include as many of the following as possible in Place Accumulators: in order – Spanish Tune, Town Flyer, Synergy and Red Indy.

Race 3 offers a Place Accumulator and, possibly, a Pick 6 banker in the form of Zerodarkthirty. His danger could be Over Easy, who he beat comfortably last time. That was Over Easy’s first start and he can improve a lot. I’m riding Fort Augustus, who needs more ground but this race should stand him in good stead because he’s still quite immature.

Race 4 is a competitive Maiden Plate with my first pick being Lunar Dancer, with Ultimate Shamrock fancied to chase her home. They should suffice for Place Accumulators. For Pick 6 purposes, also include Prima Ballerina, who has only had one start and attracted betting support on that day. Blindfold is another possible inclusion. I’m riding an unraced horse called Shufoog for the Mike de Kock yard. Apparently she’s showing good work in the mornings.

Race 5 is a Pinnacle Stakes and in such races the highest-rated horses normally come out on top. That honour goes to Captain Aldo but this distance could be too short, especially with the track being firm and fast at the moment. Another high-handicapped horse is Tiger’s Touch, who often loses ground at the start which won’t help his chances.

That brings Crown Of Roses, Donny G and my ride, Riverine, into the equation. My horse is still lightly raced and could make enough improvement to win. For Place Accumulator consider Rivarine, Crown Of Roses and Donny G. Pick 6 players must also put in Captain Aldo and Doosra.

Next up is another Pinnacle race and the highest-rated horse is Wukkin’ Up but he has not run for quite a while so She’s A Giver looks a hard horse to beat. She is a banker in all bets. I’m riding Pool Party, who is held on form and has not been striding out in the past so I’m not sure whether the firm track will affect her.

The featured Jubilee Handicap is Race 7. I’m riding Liege, who at one stage was a possibility for me in the July. However, even if he wins this – which he’ll need to do if he is to make it into the field – he might still not get my weight.

He has not run for a number of months but has been gelded and I’m sure Sean Tarry will have him close to his best. He is held on form and I’m hoping gelding has made a difference because he’ll need to have improved to beat this field. Bankable Teddy has him well held on form and on the available evidence is inferior to other runners in this field.

This is very difficult race but the main horses to consider would be Coral Fever, The Elmo Effect and King’s Archer – although the 1800m might be a tad on the far side for the last-named. The race doesn’t stop there because Flying Ice, Hidden Agenda and, possibly, even Moofeed if he stays, could also win.

Race 8 is another difficult race because many horses have shown winning form. So lean towards the good draws – my selections are, in order: Yankee Captain, Maximiser, Hieronymus and Starrett City. Include those in the Place Accumulator but Pick 6 players should put in the field. I’m riding Trading Profit, who often doesn’t jump very well and then wants to bolt during the race so it’s difficult to know what to expect.