The Hollywoodbets Settlers Trophy (Listed) over 2000m is a complex puzzle to solve as it’s a handicap. Horses are set varying weights to, in theory at least, give all an equal chance of success. There is no obvious pace angle either with an even spread of pace setters (The Futurist, Baratheon), stalkers (Master Redoute, Senso Unico, Future Swing) and deep closers (the balance of the 10- runner field.)
[Image of Triple Time, credit Chase Liebenberg]
Despite those cautionaries, Triple Time seems poised to run well. The grey mixed his form as a three-year-old, going from being one of the top-rated Snaith Racing prospects to underperforming and dropping off the radar, somewhat.
However, his recent smooth victory post gelding suggests a resurgence. The 7/2 shot clearly has the talent (a fine run at levels behind stable mate Royal Aussie in January), is a course winner at Hollywoodbets Durbanville, handles soft going and should work out a smooth commute from the inside draw under Grant van Niekerk.
It would not be a sign of madness to support any of his foes, though. Whilst the smart filly, Love is a Rose is held at the weights by course specialist Baratheon she is no forlorn hope. Master Redoute is a doughty stayer; Flower of Saigon comes off a fluent score at Fairview and even the rank 25/1 outsider, proven mudlark, My Bestie is handicapped a chance on back form.
[Image of Baratheon, credit Chase Liebenberg]
The Futurist should string them along as a committed pacemaker with Senso Unico entitled to bounce back from a disappointing KZN sojourn when pitched at the highest level for stayers. Vaughan Marshall’s entry has two wins at this track to his credit from three tries and enjoys a couple of months spacing between starts so cannot be thrown out.
That leaves Triple Time’s stable mates, Future Swing and Somerset Maugham (won this race last year over Han Solo on an objection) as other plausible dangers. The former carries just 53kg’s, goes nicely for Muzi Yeni and races as if this longer route should suit.
Somerset Maugham got the gold gong here in 2022 off an OMR rating of 98 and now is competing off 102. That makes it tougher but by no means impossible.
[Image of Somerset Maugham, credit Chase Liebenberg]