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         – Written by Mark van Deventer 

 Unless there is a dangerous market springer amongst the nine debutants, ARTISTE is teed up to justify an even money ante post quote in the opener at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth and get the association between Ridgemont and Gareth Wright off to a positive start.  By Canford Cliffs out of Dancers Daughter, the grey juvenile made an encouraging debut when second to smart rival, Tanneron 35 days ago. Expected improvement should see her win, though there are other finely bred fillies in the full field of 14 to monitor in the prelims and betting market.

The US OF A has received indifferent rides in his last two starts and still showed enough ability to win a Maiden. Opposed by promising two-year-olds Eight on Eighteen, Surge of Power, and Late December, the edge in maturity favours Paddy Kruyer’s entry, who can open his account with a more judicious steer in Race 2.

ENCHANTING CHOICE received a perfectly judged front running commute from Craig Zackey to hold out PHILOSOPHISE, and they clash once again over the same 1600m trip in Race 5. They set the standard, but these Class 4 fillies are typically closely matched on revised weight terms, and wider cover may be needed in the exotics. AMONG THE CLOUDS is amongst those that don’t need to improve by much to get into the mix.

WAR CHARIOT showed sustained pace to beat The Tinkerman in February and his follow up to fast progressing Tyrion Lannister suggests he is capable of winning Race 7, a Class 4 over 1400m. He should get the run of the race from draw 4, going handy and stalking the hat-trick seeking RADICCHIO, who is an admittedly tough front-runner to get by, but might be held by War Chariot on an earlier clash in February.

Steadfast is also worthy of respect as he drops another few points in the ratings. He made a bold move in mid-stretch last time up the outside rail before caving in late behind RADICCHIO, and he is weighted to be right there at the finish. Building a bet around two horses at double-digit odds can reap dividends in Race 8, a Class 4 handicap over 1100m. BLUFF ON BLUFF at 14/1 and BENJAMIN at around 10’s fit just right at this class level and are suited by extended sprints that are run at a quick early tempo.

BLUFF ON BLUFF is especially tempting at those odds. He has been facing stronger opposition (The Abdicator, Yellowporscheroad and Tough Terrain) while kicking on swiftly – but without getting there in time over five panels. The extra 100m could prove ideal. Jockey Morne Winnaar is an underrated jock who gets limited opportunities these days. He is strong in the finish with good pace judgement, so watch for a telling late dart from Piet Steyn’s charge.

MIA’S HARPER could shine up in the finale – Race 9, a Class 4 for fillies and mares down the straight six. Dean Kannemeyer’s filly cannot afford to give away too much start; if she runs back to neat form behind Siddeley, Knockout, and Pineapplemintgreen and is able to launch a determined finish from closer to the speed, then she might get the job done. She is no good thing (sprinters who get out of their ground come with a “hazardous to your wealth” warning), and a coherent case can be made for many foes such as Girl Like Us, Ticket to Vegas, Kamakazi, Great Cat and Double Dream. That’s the nature of competitive, low-level handicaps, and it would be reassuring to have as many as possible on Pick 6 tickets going into the closing Leg. That said, MIA’S HARPER has each-way value at around 6/1 or better, as the handicapper has cut her some slack. The grey Danon Platina filly is now racing off a career-low rating of only 74.

As mentioned at the start of the article, Artiste holds a mighty strong claim in the 12h05 – maybe greys can take out the first and final race at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Tuesday…


– Images by Chase Liebenberg