I say well done to Gold Circle because I have complained in the past about having the big meetings when the track is not up to scratch.
I think it is a brilliant decision to rather wait for better weather.
Obviously it does upset one’s plans as one has to change flights and accommodation while as far as the trainers are concerned it also affects the preparation of the horses. From one aspect I am hoping for a lot of rain and that is for the Durban community because of the drought in KwaZulu-Natal but what has to be a big positive at Greyville is the Polytrack.
I’ve recently been riding on the Polytrack in Durban and in my opinion there is just no comparison between the KZN course and the sand track at the Vaal. In fact, I would even say the Polytrack is better than a turf track. Not only do you have an absolutely flat surface with no undulation but I also find you do not have a horse slipping or sliding at any stage of the race.
Another plus, after having had a chat to the course vet, is that he has found a lot less injuries or nasty incidents. Amazingly, the more water the Polytrack gets the better the condition of the course which makes it so good for the rainy season when we lose meetings. Racing in Port Elizabeth proves that as they have not lost a meeting since they have laid the Polytrack and I’m looking forward to the days we finally get one in Joburg.
Last weekend we had a good tipping week but it amazes me how some people don’t do their homework but are quick to lay out their cash. In this column I clearly stated Gentleman Only, my mount in Race 3, had moderate form but it still found support and went off at 1-1, only to finish a 2.50-length third.
I also mentioned in Race 7 that Scent had the best form in the race. He was available at 6-1 before shortening to 4-1. My mount, Master ‘N Commander, kept finding support and went off at 8-10. Result – Scent wins, Master ‘N Commander runs third, although not beaten that far.
People seem to think I am out to stick them in the middle but that is not true. I give my honest assessment of how I see a race. Sure, sometimes I will be wrong but that is horseracing.
Even though last week was tough we were quite able to find winners as there were some black-and-white selections. This week looks very difficult and I can’t suggest anything with too much confidence.
Race 1 is a juvenile plate and comprises many lightly raced horses so some of them can improve markedly. But as this is a track in which speed and experience is an advantage, I am leaning towards Netflix to win it. I believe he is the runner to beat but the dangers are Champagne Haze and Duzi Moon, even though they were well beaten by a large margin.
Race 2 is another juvenile plate and even though some horses have finished close up to the winners their form is not very strong. For that reason I would easily include four horses for the Place Accumulator.
I would look at Bajan Fantasy, Eversilver, Eye The Countess and Rich And Dark.
I’m riding Apple Toss and even though she’s been well beaten, her form is not that bad and she could easily place in this field. A lot of these horses are jumping up in distance so for that reason you need to go wide.
Race 3 is another tough race with no horses on form standing out. For the Pick 6 you will have to go wide and probably for the PA as well although there is another option. I am riding Jin-Go-Lo-Ba, who found problems in her second last start. As she is now drawn No 1, you could take a chance and banker her in the PA. The reason I would not banker her in the Pick 6 is because I beat her last time on Night Moves and I wouldn’t rate her to have had good enough form to be a banker so on that basis, neither does Jin-Go-Lo-Ba.
For those who want to include other runners, put in Honeybush Tea, Buddy’s Falcon, La Digue and Topography and those are the ones for the Pick 6 as well.
Race 4 is another event for maiden fillies but the one with the best form is Badger’s Belle but as she has had many opportunities to win I would include Sheik’s Diamond in the PA as well. For those who think Jin-Go-Lo-Ba should win the previous race they should naturally think Sheik’s Diamond could win this as they both ran just behind Night Moves. So you either believe that form is strong enough and banker both, or you believe the form is weak and back them up.
For the Pick 6 you could consider Bubba’s Doll, Suzy Wong and Global Spin. Global Spin could be a runner at big odds as she has pulled in her last start and coming back in distance might just play in her favour.
There are a number of horses in Race 5 who have finished close to one another but I would suggest go light in the PA as Erin has got good form and loves the track. I would probably just include one other runner in Pennington Sands. She has run behind some smart sorts so she could quite easily improve on current form.
For the Pick 6 the only other horse I would consider is Educated.
I’m riding Dream Galaxy. The best I can hope for is a place as she is not sure to stay 1800m, she’s not track suited and she is also held on form.
Race 6 is a typical fillies’ handicap, which are often very tough. The main runners are Panchatanta, Stirling Leaves, Varanese, Prescient and if she gets in, Ballerini. Consider all of them for the Pick 6 but for the PA, as this is a distance where the draw is quite important, you could probably cut it down to Panchatanta and Varanese.
In Race 7 there are a number of horses with similar form lines such as Captain Aldo, Gambol and Rushing Lark but the horse who has beaten all of them, including my ride, Captain Aldo, with ease, is Platinum Jet. As he is also lightly race he has more room for improvement than his opposition.
On a difficult card he could be a possible banker in both the PA and Pick 6.
Race 8 could produce another possible banker in the form of Bridegroom Bertie. He was soundly beaten in his only start but found interference as he was quite badly cramped on the outside fence at the Vaal but recovered well to finish second.
If Bridegroom Bertie is not your fancy then include Sands Of Time, Bar Dot Accent and perhaps my ride, Gentleman Only. I rode him last time and as stated before, his form is not too strong and I don’t believe he will enjoy this track with the short run in. In his last start he lacked speed and acceleration which is something you need on a fast track with a short straight.