Mike Moon
Horse racing correspondent
2 minute read
16 Mar 2021
7:56 am

Nartjie seeks sweet spot in the company of elders

Mike Moon

Nartjie’s last success came on this turf over 1800m in early February, so the surroundings will be familiar, while the extra 200m gallop should be no problem for him.

Nartjie will take on the more experienced horses at the Vaal Racecourse on Tuesday. Picture: Phumelela

A new instalment of the “mercurial youth versus age and guile” saga is on the bill at the Vaal Racecourse on Tuesday – and there could be unexpected twists to the story. Many punters of larger means will simply opt for “the field” option in their perms, but those of us of more modest wallets might have to put our trust in a callow fellow.

Race 4 is the top-rated event on the day’s card, an MR96 Handicap over 2000m, and has attracted a competitive array of hard-knocking types at the otherwise low-key meeting.

The youth in question is Nartjie, a three-year-old from the Mike de Kock yard, who is seeking to climb an overcrowded ladder of his talented generation. The gelding has the form to justify his selection to win, with two victories and three seconds to his name from six appearances.

His previous run also gets a big tick as he was a 1.75-length runner up in Turffontein’s 1800m Sceptre Stakes to Second Base, who went on to compete commendably in the Triple Crown series.

De Kock’s retained rider Callan Murray has been the regular partner and does duty once again.

Nartjie’s older rivals might be no match for him in a few months’ time but, right now, the experienced campaigners could take advantage of any immature carelessness.

Four-year-old Johnny Hero has four wins to his credit, the latest coming last week when he showed lots of grit to land a MR94 Handicap. Another winner last time out was five-year-old Sell High, who fought hard to dead-heat over 2000m in February.

Piere Strydom was the successful jockey on both those horses and is booked for the latter this time – which might be significant.

Nimcha is another who knows the ins and outs of a finishing-post scrap and is an obvious inclusion in larger perms, while race mare Sunshine Silk has contested with distinction in staying races at the highest level – and, incidentally, won her last outing in her first run for a new stable.

The three other runners are not without a prayer, either, and the race will surely liven up a sleepy Tuesday afternoon on the banks of the Vaal River.

SELECTIONS

Race 1:

1 Belle Of Belize, 2 Sarsaparilla, 11 Lee Express, 8 Chloe Girl

Race 2:

1 Raisetheredlantern, 12 Southern Song, 2 Qunetra, 4 Star Effect

Race 3:

5 Varina, 2 Winter Smoke, 4 Slalom Queen, 6 Jam Freeway

Race 4:

5 Nartjie, 3 Sell High, 2 Johnny Hero, 4 Nimcha

Race 5:

2 Lotus, 10 Euphoriant, 1 Liverpool Legend, 7 Last Cheer

Race 6:

2 Arizona Lady, 3 Masaaken, 1 Amberglo Star, 4 Crusade To Royalty

Race 7:

1 Gal Gadot, 5 Opera Class, 2 Bedouin Bride, 6 Grace Lu

Race 8:

Governors Glory, 3 Starflash, 10 Supreme Dance, 6 Suited Connector

Pick 6:

1,2,4,5,6 x 3 x 1,2,7,10 x 1,2,3,4 x 1,5 x 2,3,6,8,9,10 (R960)

PA:

1 x 1,5 x 3 x 1,2,10 x 2,3 x 1 x 3,8,10 (R36)

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