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Andre Nel’s Canford Cliffs filly, Pushing Limits stayed on well behind Night Vigil on debut and with natural improvement expected rates as the Best Bet on Wednesday’s card at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth.


Despite greenness, Pushing Limits was only 1.9 lengths back at the finish, with subsequent winner Nile the Boss clocking in two lengths behind her to give the form a nice shape. Nel has been amongst the winners recently, so things are teed up for a bold showing in Race 4 from the bay three-year-old who faces mainly more experienced, yet modest rivals. She is quoted at around 13/10 in early wagering.


Fatal Gem and Princess Izzy dead-heated last time in a thriller at Hollywoodbets Durbanville. They have a chance to settle the score 39 days later in Race 8, a Class 4 for fillies and mares over 1600m. Princess Izzy, formerly with Justin Snaith has since changed stables and, like Fatal Gem, is now trained by Brett Crawford.


Arguably Fatal Gem ran the better race last time, so she is preferred. The daughter of Master of my Fate was drawn worse at 10 out of 11 (as opposed to Princess Izzy who was drawn 2/11) and positioned further off the speed than her rival yet rushed through a brisk come-home sectional and still managed to get up to share. For those reasons, Fatal Gem is offered as Wednesday’s Next Best bet at 4/1.


For her part, Princess Izzy is very game and continues to improve at each start. She is, however, now drawn at 8, as opposed to Fatal Gem’s in gate 3 so might find life harder. Nevertheless, she will give it a full go under national log-leading jock, Richard Fourie.


Deciphering low-to medium grade handicaps is especially challenging. The ratings are typically closely clustered; unexposed horses can improve suddenly, whilst others mix their form and are hard to catch right.


Despite those cautionaries, there may be a hidden opportunity lurking in Race 7, a Class 5 over 1600m where No Apologies beckons each way at around 7/1 ante-post. The case for Candice Bass Robinson’s above-average entry hinges on a couple of runs which may have been under-rated by the official handicapper – and a plausible recent excuse to muddy the form.


No Apologies is currently racing off a humble merit rating of 80 yet only ran five lengths of Hollywoodbets G1 Cape Guineas winner, Snow Pilot (who now has a triple digit OMR) at levels after a tough trip in a Maiden back in mid-Winter.

[📸 Chase Liebenberg Image of No Apologies]

No Apologies subsequently romped to a predictable Maiden victory, then ran close to well-performed Bardolino in a key race in October which has yielded a few follow up winners in stronger contests. At his last out start, he was squeezed at a crucial stage on the inside rail in a forgivable run behind Magic Verse a month ago.


There is a wide spread of solid form in Race 7. Liketheclappers, Slurricane and Incredibill have already proven themselves competitive at this class level, so No Apologies cannot be deemed a good thing. But he’s got a better shake than the slim 12% chance that the market indicates. As such, he is the suggested Value Play.


  • Mark van de Venter