Some trainers who have bigger plans for the autumn season on the Highveld like to use the Listed Drum Star Handicap as a warm-up event for their horses.
There are only 10 runners carded to go to post for this year’s event to be run over 1800m on the Turffontein Inside track tomorrow but it does look quite competitive.
Based on current form the horse they may all have to beat is Master Switch.
This son of Jet Master has been sparingly raced but two runs back he beat Master Sabina in a MR 104 Handicap over 1800m at the Vaal and then, from draw No 17 of 19 runners, finished a 1.60-length third to Master Sabina in the Sansui Summer Cup over 2000m on the Standside track.
Geoff Woodruff’s charge has not raced since that 25 November run but does tend to run well when fresh and will have no problem with the course and distance.
Interestingly he finished third behind Romany Prince in this race last year, beaten 4.60 lengths. He is only 2kg better off this time but there were excuses for his defeat as Master Switch was not a happy fellow that day. In addition, Master Switch has turned that form around in subsequent races, including the Summer Cup.
Chase Maujean will take the ride.
Top Shot comes into this race nicely weighted with just 52kg to carry. He comes from an in-form stable and has apprentice Lyle Hewitson up. Gary Alexander’s charge was most disappointing last time out though, when a 2.25-lengtn fourth behind Fareeq, and he does take a jump in class.
He does have a penchant for this track as four of his five wins have been on the Inside track. A massive fact in his favour is that he finished a 2.80-length second behind Samurai Blade in an Allowance Plate over 1800m at the Vaal but now meets his conqueror on 10.5kg better terms.
That will make life very difficult for Samurai Blade to maintain his advantage over Top Shot but Sean Tarry’s charge did win that race with authority and Top Shot was not making any dents into his lead over the final 300m.
Piere Strydom rides Samurai Blade and while I’m confident he will not fancy his chances of beating Top Shot, I wouldn’t leave Samurai Blade out of any bets, especially as he does hold Romany Prince based on their run in the Grade 3 London News Stakes over 1800m on the Standside track.
This time Samurai Blade is 2.5kg better off for a 1,75 defeat so should turn that result around.