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Written by Mark van Deventer

Hollywoodbets Kenilworth presents a challenging nine-race program on Saturday and punters will need to have their wits about them as six of the events are contentious Class 4, or Class 3 handicaps.

Infrared appeals in Race 4 after a spirited course and distance effort behind Innamorare 24 days ago where he did remarkably well to get within a length of the winner after an awkward start. Brett Crawford’s fast-improving Twice Over colt dashed through the final 800m in 46.9 seconds and a repeat would see him go close at the same class level. He’s offered at around 33/10.

The reopposing Oliver was close by after a wide passage so there won’t be much between them. Bristol Hercules probably needed his first start at the Cape when also in that fray and will get a smooth commute racing handy from pole position, whilst Oriental Charm is another with competitive figures. They can be used as backups in the opening Leg of the P6.

Hammies Hero is a more esoteric spec-bet at around 10/1 ante post in Race 6. He promised much at the start of his career running some neat numbers – such as when finishing close to subsequent G2 Post Merchants victor Gladatorian in January 2023, yet his losing streak now extends to 426 days. This ‘decline’ coincides with a tumbling merit rating from a career high of 96 to a current all time low mark of 79.

Hammies Hero now gets a chance to show that he still retains some ‘vuma’. He should be primed third run after rest, back down his preferred Hollywoodbets Kenilworth straight course after going through the motions at Hollywoodbets Durbanville and an abortive sortee to Fairview.

For those not sold on Candice Bass Robinson’s Twice Over gelding’s claims, in-form Bluff on Bluff, solid Class 4 campaigner, All About Al, last-out winner, Wylie Jack and blinkers strike- longshot, Wyag are alternates in a very open affair.

In Race 7, Hear My Voice is another less- than- obvious pick, where punters will need to go back nearly a year to find supporting evidence before even considering parting with their cash on this 8/1 lurker. Arguably her career best came when beating Red Sash and subsequent Southern Cross second, Shantastic on the 7th December 2022.

Apart from this historic “seasonal preference,” she too comes in off a sliding rating and now gets fitted with a tongue tie. She probably went too fast (and too far) at her last start behind Winter Pearl over 1200m, and now drops to a suitably “intermediate’ 1100m trip.

Paul Reeves does amazing work with the inexpensive stock at his disposal – maybe he can revive Hear My Voice sufficiently to make her competitive once again. She may also respond positively to the sympathetic handling of Rachel Venniker.

Granted, Hear My Voice is a bit of a swing (first time tongue tie either works or it doesn’t) and punters may feel more secure adding Easy Money, Apple Catcher and Tres Chic to their plays, as well.

Race 7 is Leg 3 of Jackpot One, where a carry forward of R250 000 should help swell the pool to R1 million.

The P6 sequence ends off with a Maiden over 1800m. Justin Snaith trained, Greenland who has been stiff a couple of times is overdue to crack the winners circle, and with Adam Marcus’’ filly, Two a Penny, who will love stretching out over this longer route, could fight it out. Brave bettors may stick with just those two to trim costs.

Bigger budgets might spread to include stretch runners, Kwite the King and Continental Express – expensive, well-bred Vercingetorix progeny with upside potential. Cosmic Rhythm and Fly Futura have also shown enough to warrant respect and figure to get good trips from their low draws.