One has to go back to 7 July last year to find the last time Silver Peg was led into the winner’s enclosure and that obviously does not instil much confidence in punters.
However, while he may have failed to win a race, he did run some decent seconds behind some good horses, including Hidden Agenda and Urgent Fury. The last time he won this six-year-old son of Jay Peg raced off a merit rating of 73 and while the handicappers have been somewhat reticent in bringing him back to that level, he will run in Race 5 at the Vaal today, a MR 80 Handicap over 1700m, off a mark of 77
Silver Peg was given a six-month break by trainer Gary Alexander after pulling up lame in a race in January and there was a lot to like about his first run back in which he ran on well to finish a 1.25-length third behind an improved Bold Coast over 1450m on the Turffontein Inside track.
Silver Peg has an excellent record over the course and distance where he has run three times for two wins and a second place. He will have the services of apprentice Lyle Hewitson in the irons.
The main threat could come from Jackman, who cannot be far off in picking up his second win. Brian Wiid’s charge has placed in his last two starts and appears to have built up a rapport with jockey Keagan de Melo who rode him on both those occasions. Two runs back they finished a 1.30-length second behind Tendre while in his last start, the four-year-old gelding ran third behind Plum British over 1600m at this track.
He takes a jump in class but will carry 6.5kg less than last time. Jackman is likely to go off at a decent price and looks a very good Eachway bet.
Many pundits believed Dan The Lad would prove too good for Pilou last time but there was always a doubt whether he would see out 1600m. He actually ran past Sean Tarry’s charge with 400m to run on the Turffontein Inside track but then ran out of steam to finish third, beaten 3.75 lengths.
He now tries 1700m so there still is some doubt as to whether he will see it out but one might assume that unless they go at a crawl, he might be ridden with more restraint this time.
Starpath is a consistent performer and has run against stronger so Geoff Woodruff’s charge could also feature prominently. Callan Murray takes the ride.