Double ‘O’ Eight to delight

At first glance, this five-year-old mare might seem a bit out of kilter when judged on her last two runs.

It’s common knowledge that favourites only win around every third race. It’s also common knowledge that when the outsiders win, the payouts are inevitably bigger.

At tomorrow’s race meeting at the Vaal, Double ‘O’ Eight is one of those so-called outsiders who can upset the apple cart to the delight of some – and frustration of other – punters.

At first glance, this five-year-old mare might seem a bit out of kilter when judged on her last two runs. A tenth and eleventh place finish, being beaten by 7.5 and six lengths respectively, hardly encourages any confidence. But both those runs were Class A affairs where the average merit rating of the contestants was 109 and 107 respectively.

Tomorrow, in Race 4, a Class B MR 96 Handicap over 1200m, the average merit rating of the runners is 91 – an exact match to the race three runs back where Double ‘O’ Eight finished second, a 0.50 lengths behind American Hustle.

Jumping from gate 3 tomorrow, and with S’manga Khumalo in the saddle, she has every chance to add a sixth career win to her name. State Trooper and Rock Of Africa will probably attract the most money – and with good reason.

The former has a perfect record over course and distance, having collected two winner’s cheques from two runs. But this Captain Al gelding was unlucky to draw gate 12, so might have to take the scenic route to the straight, which is seldom ideal.

Rock Of Africa is having a third run after a 90-day rest and seems to be regaining the form he displayed at the turn of the season. Topmast and In Cahoots are both in form and should be included in exotics.

It’s difficult to predict how Whorly Whorly will perform after 230 days off the track, but with top weight and jumping from gate 11, don’t hold your breath.

The meeting kicks off with a Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1000m where jockey Aldo Domeyer will be aboard the Ashley Fortune- trained Varina. This Var filly impressed on debut when beaten 0.75 lengths by Due Dilligence.

It’s hard imagining her staying a maiden for much longer. Stable companion Elusive Woman, ridden by Warren Kennedy, also had a fair debut and can give the yard a 1-2 to start the day.

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