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         – Written by Mark van Deventer 


RASCALLION won the first leg of the Winter Feature Racing Season (6 April) over a mile with a typically gutsy display, and is again weighted to prevail in the Legal Eagle Stakes, a Grade 3 over 1800m – Leg 2 of the Winter Season .

Vaughan Marshall’s horse has come back from a suspensory injury to perform admirably against the best middle-distance performers in South Africa. He won the Gr2 Anthonij Rupert Wyne Premier Trophy over this Hollywoodbets Kenilworth course and distance in 2023; placed a length third to re-opposing Pacaya in the Greyville 1900 when conceding that rival 7.5kg’s; ran 3.65 lengths fourth behind Princess Calla in the Gr1 HKJC Champions Cup over his favoured nine panels, then nearly pulled off a stunning front-running steal in the Gr1 World Sports Betting Cape Town MET over 2000m where only Double Superlative could run him down.


None of the other entries can match such consistently high-class form. The only knock against RASCALLION is that he extends rather than quickens, making him vulnerable in slow run races where ability to accelerate is decisive. Such a scenario is possible in Sunday’s short field (8 runners) with no clear leader signed on.


Marshall also trains PROMETTERE who takes a steep hike up the rungs of the class ladder and goes an extra 200m. He receives 5kg from his stable mate. In PROMETTERE’s favour is a sharp burst of finishing speed which will be an advantage if the early tempo is tepid.


The Justin Snaith trained PACAYA can also dash home when tuned up and will be ridden by brilliant hoop Richard Fourie who is worth a couple of lengths in a crisis, though RASCALLION does have his measure on these weight terms.

Snaith also saddles stayer NAVY STRENGTH (OMR 102), SACHDEV (OMR 104) and three-year-old, RAPIDASH, who won the Gold Rush over Coastal Commander with a dramatic surge from dead last and could be dangerous receiving 6.5kg from RASCALLION.


GREETING MY MASTER is an improving three-year-old from Piet Steyn’s yard, but he seems held on an unplaced try behind RASCALLION in the Variety Club Mile.


A bigger threat is presented by FUTURE PRINCE who clocked in only 1.5 lengths back in Leg 1 after some traffic problems near the finish line. Brett Crawford’s charge is drawn 1 and has done well racing handy, so he might be able to make his own luck this time around. Comprehensively out-finished by PROMETTERE in mid-January, FUTURE PRINCE might have to be content with a place slot.


Pace quibbles aside, RASCALLION (who Marshall reports has improved since that last start win, and is looking a picture) is the selection to win. PROMETTERE, RAPIDASH and a revived PACAYA loom as his closest pursuers.



– Images by Chase Liebenberg