We have finally arrived at the Vaal’s big raceday with the running of the WSB Grand Heritage over 1475m and I’m sure everyone is ready to go for the start of the summer season.
Hopefully the track will be in good nick after having no racing on it for the past month as a result of the poor condition of the racing surface. The only advice I can give punters would be to monitor the early races and make decisions from there as obviously the track manager will try his hardest to create an even track. It does not always happen but that’s the nature of the game. Conditions change on a regular basis and you just have to use whatever you end up with to your advantage.
All my selections are based on form but you will need to use your own discretion once you’ve observed where the better going is. I will only know once I’ve cantered to the start and see the results and after that I will be riding according to what I’ve seen.
Sometimes you have been dealt a hand and you just have to play it. It would be crazy to go right across the track and lose valuable ground even though you’re drawn on the wrong side of the track. There are occasions where you follow the other horses and ride accord to how your horse guides you. If your mount goes in, or follows other horses, you might just have to follow what he does.
The Grand Heritage comprises 28 horses and therefore it’s a minefield and looks almost impossible to find a winner. The draws will play a part but you have to pick the strongest formline and lead towards those horses.
My top formline would be that of Amazing Strike as he has competed against a lot stronger. That means the others to consider are Donny G, Count Tassilo, Forest Fox and Hidden Agenda. The horses who look like they could pop up and have sound form could be Elevated, Secret Captain, Social Order and Zouaves.
For the PA consider as many of those mentioned as possible, and for the Pick 6 include all of them – and more.
I ride Arctica and he definitely has a chance to finish in the money. We’re drawn right on the outside so we hope that’s where the better going will be but he is better suited to further and might not have the speed to stay up there.
Race 1 is a Maiden Plate where Captain My Captain has quite a high rating for a maiden. On those figures alone he should be a certainty. However, his last start was over 1600m and now he’s coming back to 1200m so it remains to be seen if he is a sprinter or needs further.
He is the horse to beat with the dangers being Captain’s Alpha and Combat Muster.
I ride Monty Python who does not have the strongest of form. I’m hoping for improvement and I would be hoping he runs a place. Also keep an eye for any money for the first timers.
Race 2 is another Maiden Plate where Lily Starlette has the best form. The danger could be Blindfold who was in season last time and should improve.
I ride Kitty Coo who also has had many chances and again, I would be happy with a place. After these two races at least I should know where the better going is.
In Race 3 you have a banker in Ensemble who had issues in her first start and only finished 3.70 lengths behind Rock Pigeon. She attracted betting support and should be a confident Place Accumulator banker.
It is difficult to make her a betting proposition as there are some well-bred first-timers who could have ability.
Race 4 is another tough fillies’ race and Twelve Oaks looks the horse to beat. She has decent form and could provide a lot of value. For the PA she’s a possible banker but if not consider Lady Starlett and My Friend Lee.
For the Pick 6 consider Embrasiatic and hopefully my horse, Simply Royal, as long as she does not need the run or find the distance too short.
Race 5 is another tricky handicap. My first choice is African Ruler but he’s carrying a hefty weight of 63.5kg so you need to consider Sporting Monarch and up-and-coming Alfolk. For the PA put all three in and for the Pick 6 you could even take the field.
I ride Romi’s Boy who is held on his last run and the fact stable jockey Randall Simons has picked Pure Blonde indicates he could be the stable elect.
Race 6 is a plate race and therefore we lean towards the best rated horses and that is Brave Mary, although we will have to take her fitness on trust. As these are young horses and the merit ratings could change dramatically after a couple more races but Brave Mary, on a difficult card, has to be a banker in all bets.
Race 8 is the Heritage Consolation with Shivering Sea well handicapped in the field. I’ve ridden her and believe she will enjoy this distance.
The biggest danger will be Bold Coast. His form lately has been very good and he has a nice light weight, so perhaps you could go light in this race. Those are two for the PA but add in either Toro Rosso or Front Rank who both ran behind Amazing Strike.
For the Pick 6 all four could be enough.
I ride Copper Pot who has been gelded, which could help him, but he has been off for two months and as he is quite a burly horse will probably need a run before he can show his best.
Race 9 is a fillies’ handicap which most of the time turn out to be races in which it is difficult to assess winners. Nothing has changed!
However, my selections are Kirkconnel Lass, Open Road, Catwalk Tease and Wrap It Up. All four need to be included in the PA but for the Pick 6 add in whatever else you may like.
Race 10 is another handicap but I’m leaning towards Lake Kinneret. He could be the one to beat as he is quite a laid back horse and the blinkers could be just what he needs. He could make more improvement than any other runners. His dangers should be Rand Club and El Bombero.
I’m riding Shotgun Rider who is held by Lake Kinneret. I think he will prefer this longer straight. Last time I said Shotgun Rider would not perform well from a wide draw on the Turffontein Inside track, which was not in his favour. He will enjoy the longer straight but the concern this time is that 1400m could be too short.
However, I would not leave him out of the Quartet.