Two promising sprinters will clash in Race 7 at Kenilworth on Tuesday, a MR 80 Handicap over 1200m.
There seemed to be some reluctance to geld Australian-bred Professor Brian but since he went under the knife last December, his mind is off whatever he might have been focusing on before and now seems to be firmly on racing. He returned to racing in January and has since notched up three successive wins, each one easier than the previous victory.
As a result his merit rating has been raised 20 points (10kg) for the wins and it will be interesting to see whether the handicapper’s penalty has made any major impact on the performance of the four-year-old.
Last time Professor Brian lost ground at the start but made it up easily and went on win easing up before the line. Grant van Niekerk has ridden Joey Ramsden’s star to victory in two of his last three starts and is back aboard the son of Encosta De Lago again.
If his merit rating has affected his performance then Professor Brian can expect a strong challenge from three-year-old Bobby Dazzler of the Brett Crawford yard. This three-year-old has only raced three times for a win and two places. The son of Pathfork was well supported to win last time but found Argo Solo 0.75 lengths too good.
Greg Cheyne did not ride him on that occasion but is back aboard and they look a real threat to Ramsden’s charge as there is a line of form through Kampala Campari that favours Bobby Dazzler. On debut he finished a 1.55-length third behind Kampala Campari at level weights while three runs back Professor Brian beat the same horse by 0.50 lengths, getting 7kg. He now has to give Crawford’s charge 1.5kg and on paper that undoubtedly gives Bobby Dazzler the edge.
It will all depend on which of the pair has made the most improvement recently.