Racing tip: Drop in class to suit Scallywag

Royal Guide makes return after 238-day layoff.

Scallywag found strong betting support last time to win a Pinnacle Stakes over 1600m on the Turffontein Inside track but faded out late in the race to finish sixth, beaten 4.75 lengths by Bingwa.

The course vet took a look at him postrace but nothing obvious was detected.

Tony Peter’s charge returns to the same track and trip tomorrow to contest Race 6, a MR 96 Handicap, and hopefully can atone for his disappointing last run and this is drop in class for the four-year-old Pomodoro gelding.

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The average merit rating of that Pinnacle Stakes was 106 and for this race it is 90.

In fact, in his penultimate start, Scallywag won a similar race quite easily where the average sat at 91.

Of course, with the drop in class comes a corresponding rise in weight and Scallywag will carry 60.5kg on this occasion.

Calvin Habib gets the ride but he will have to overcome jumping from No 12 draw.

In his favour, though, is that one of his key dangers, Tamerisk Tree, has landed in barrier No 14. After spending most of his summer in the Western Cape, Robbie Sage’s charge put up a sterling performance to win his comeback race on the Highveld over 1400m on the Standside track, running on well to beat Gimmealight by 0.25 lengths.

The four-year-old Ideal World gelding has won his only start over the course and distance so if Denis Schwarz can navigate the wide draw Tamerisk Tree must be a contender.

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An interesting runner is Royal Guide, who makes his return following 238 days off the track.

The well-bred gelding has not been seen since disappointing at Turffontein under the lights in October 2023 when he finished a 4.50-length fourth behind Silent War.

This five-year-old son of Gimmethegreenlight was gelded during his time off so his fitness will have to be taken on trust, but trainer Alec Laird does not run an unfit horse and in addition, he will jump from pole position, something that is useful over this course and distance.

Lightly raced Royal Guide has won three of his seven starts and will be ridden by Diego de Gouveia. It looks like a card with a few good bets and in Race 1, a Juvenile Plate for fillies over 1000m, Simply Majestic can return to form and score again.

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She looked good when winning two of her first four starts and the last run can safely be ignored.

She tries the turn this time and should have no problem bettering any of those rivals who have already raced. Mike and Adam Azzie send out a nicely bred first-timer in Summer Winter but Simply Majestic is a clear form pick.

Trainer Lucky Houdalakis has his runners in good shape and On The Horizon looks like the right one in Race 8, a MR 96 Handicap for fillies and mares over 1800m.

She will have to give 8kg to three-year-old and less exposed Ceuta so she may have a battle on her hands.

The Dave Nieuwenhuizen- trained runner looks pretty useful but On The Horizon has run against and beaten some decent opposition and should still prevail. Exactas could be the way to go in this event.

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