King’s Joy and Ligeti worth following at the Vaal

The scratching of Cockney Tiger from Race 6 at the Vaal today has paved the way for King’s Joy to gratify punters.

Today’s meeting takes place on the sand and the eight-race card is made up of four maiden plates and four lower-rated handicaps, so finding winners is not an easy task.

As all horses in the Southern Hemisphere turn a year older today as the new season begins and King’s Joy will have his first run as a four-year-old. The Wallace Tolmay-trained runner appears to be improving with each outing and last time ran a decent 1.50-length second behind Rashaad. He is 1kg better off which should bring them closer together, but Rashaad will be without the magic touch of new champion jockey Piere Strydom who is celebrating his triumph with his family in the Seychelles.

Apprentice Franklin Maleking takes the ride and the 4kg claim will result in King’s Joy carrying just 52kg.

Another who should perform well is Ligeti in Race 7, a MR 68 Handicap over 1600m. The six-year-old was lightly raced in Cape Town when with Joey Ramsden but although he could only manage one victory, he put up some reasonable performances. It seems likely that when he was transferred to Paul Matchett’s yard at Randjesfontein, it was with the Vaal sand in mind as he has only raced on that surface since arriving in Joburg.

He needed his first outing when unplaced behind Panjo and followed up with a fast-finishing three-length third behind Paintyourface. Both of those races were over 1450m but when put over 1600m last time in a MR 70 Handicap, Ligeti led all the way to beat Divine Invitation by 1.50 lengths. This time Matchett did the opposite of Janse van Vuuren and removed the blinkers from Ligeti.

Ligeti is beautifully bred by Western Winter out of 2005 Grade 1 Garden Province Stakes winner Lyrical Linda. He is a half-brother to Woodruff-trained Lockheed Jetstar. He will be running off a merit rating of just 58 and carries 55kg. Randall Simons takes the ride and will have the benefit of jumping from No 1 barrier position.

He seemed to enjoy running from the front last time so the draw should prove to be hugely beneficial.

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