Monday’s card at Hollywoodbets Durbanville gives less talented Maidens a chance to open their account before the competition gets seriously hot into peak summer season.
Strata has been placed at seven of nine starts, blinkers go on and she gets the right set up – a quick 1000m from a low draw. That could help her land Race 1 on the program though she will need to fend off Gypsy Express (a fast-breaking type jumping from the rail), Listentotheocean and likely wake-up horse, Stealingthethunder.
Justin Snaith cleaned up at last week’s meeting and he has a stranglehold on Race 3, the opening Leg of the P6, with Princess Izzy and Epikleros. The former has the best finish in the field yet needs to jump on terms – sleepwalking out of the stalls is usually detrimental to winning claims at Durbanville.
Epikleros was just behind her last time so has an obvious claim, too. Nile the Boss has steady form and now goes a bit further – he might be used as a backup alternative to Snaith’s runners.
Lord Fyfield (trained by Candice Bass Robinson) will just about have to fall down to lose Race 4, a Maiden Plate over 1800m. He’s stayed on well at his two most recent starts and his official merit rating of 78 is far ahead of anything else in this weak nine-runner line-up.
The Bass family also hold the aces in Race 7 where they saddle progressive and well-drawn, Windrunner; Red Palace (held in high regard by the stable and the elect here) plus the improving, Coultitbe.
Most probably the winner will come out of these three – only De Janiero (Richard Fourie is always a menace on a fit, front-runner) might gate-crash Bass’ party if shaking loose on the lead.
Punters need to keep their wits about them in the finale, an Open Maiden over 1600m, as there is a spread at the weights. Magic Verse (a beaten odds-on favourite at his 2nd outing) and Naushon (still trying to crack his first win after 13 starts) have the strongest credentials.
The next tier of contenders includes well-exposed, Run Rudolph Run, Makhachev and Spelling Bee, who at least has some scope. Exotic bettors looking for something chaotic to happen may even lob in Glen Kotzen’s filly, Golden Corn (carries just 52kg’s) and Dawn Cloud.
- Written by Mark van Deventer