Horses / Columnists

Piere Strydom
5 minute read
6 Jun 2015
11:45 am

Willow Magic back to 1600m

Piere Strydom

I’m off to Durban again today, hopefully to win a feature race. It has been difficult to get the top rides but if I don’t take my chances on less fancied runners I’ll never know.

FILE PICTURE: South African champion jockey Piere Strydom.Picture: Supplied.

In the Rising Sun Gold Challenge, the main feature at Greyville, I’m riding Willow Magic. He’s been battling to keep up with the pace in sprints and I’m hoping 1600m will help a lot. Once again I cannot guarantee how he will behave in the pens and could quite easily ruin his chances at the start as he has done on a number of occasions.

As this is not handicap his chances are not very good. Had this been a handicap he would have carried 51.5kg but now he is 8.5kg at a disadvantage with Futura, who he meets at level weights.

I’m hoping for a place but I’m also hoping to be pleasantly surprised because at least we have a good draw.

The two horses we have to beat are Futura and Legislate. They will probably fight out the finish. I would have to lean towards Futura as he is probably more prepared and he has incredible acceleration, which you need in the short straight at Greyville. Legislate has beaten him in the past and as he can travel very hard in a race he will love Greyville, as his form shows. As this is his first run after a long layoff he might lack the fitness of Futura.

There are a couple of horses trying to book their places in the Vodacom Durban July so it will be interesting race to watch.

My other ride is Whiteline Fever in the Cup Trial. Last time he was beaten by many of these horses but what could help him is that he is slightly better off at the weights and the shorter distance could suit him as he has not really shown he stays much further. However, it is quite a difficult and competitive race with many horses having winning chances.

My selections are, in order, Dynamic, Dynastic Power, Punta Arenas and It Is Written.

The Tibouchina Stakes is the other feature and you could have a banker in Hammie’s Hooker. Hammie’s Hooker is the best handicapped horse, she has a good draw and she loves the track.

If she is not your fancy you could go with Maybe Yes.

Tomorrow we are racing on the inside track at Turffontein and Race 1 is over 1450m where the draw is vital. Mojadji could get you off on a winning note. She has winning form and the benefit of pole position.

Race 2 could give you some value as my first choice is Dolphin. He also has pole position and on his first run he has winning form. His last start was a poor run but it was in the Grade 1 SA Nursery and the going was soft on the day. I make the danger Lord Victorious.

Race 3 is opening leg of the Place Accumulator and you should get through with Rose Of Castille as a banker. She has a good draw, and even though she’s not going to Hollywood, the opposition is weak. The danger could AP Chanel would had one run and could improve.

Race 4 is very difficult race where some of the horses have had numerous chances and have been unable to win. I would suggest you include as many as you can.

My selection is Woody Glow, Regal Force, War Games and Innesfree – in that order. Choose any three for your PA. For the Pick 6 take all four and add in whatever else you like.

I Race 5 my three selections, in order of preference, are Fah Fee, American Storm and Shea Devon. Fah Fee has been racing in top company but last time ran poorly over a sprint distance. Because of that run it is difficult to banker him so I would include American Storm in the PA as he has beaten Shea Devon. For the Pick 6 include all three as well as My Treasure, who has been improving with every run.

Race 6 is another competitive event and these horses could be good enough for both the PA and Pick 6. They are, in order of preference, Beach In A Bottle, Sacred Ground, Max The Man and Corleone.

I ride Dance Kid. We are trying him over the shorter distance which I think could help him and he has a good draw. Hopefully he can at least run a place.

Race 7 sees my best bet on the card in Lertasha. She’s had some bad draws to overcome and as she is now dropping quite steadily in the weights, has the benefit of a 1.5kg claimer on top and with a good draw could quite easily be the banker in all bets.

I’m riding China Beach. She’s held on form and I’m hoping for a place.

A horse who could be value for the Exotics is Green Crest. Her last two runs have been poor but she either comes off bad draws or a distance too far. She now has pole position and this course and distance should suit her ideally.

Race 8 is quite a difficult event but even though it is quite competitive I make my selections based on good draws and better distance-suited runners. For those reasons I like Tell My Star and I believe she is a banker in all bets.

Race 9 is another competitive affair but I have cut it down to the horse who has a good draw and has the form and that is Kings V. She could be a PA banker and possibly even a Pick 6 banker. The danger, unfortunately, has a bad draw, and that is To You.

I’m riding Raging Princess but she has a shocking draw and the best I can expect is a place.