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– Written by Mark van Deventer

WATER DRAGON and JACK IN THE GREEN could have quite a tussle over 1800m in Race 4 at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday.

Based on their last runs they are poised to exit the Maiden ranks. The well-regarded Vaughan Marshall entry, WATER DRAGON, stayed on stoutly behind Mont Loisir over 1400m at the L’Ormarins Racing Syndicate Maiden Plate on 13 April, will appreciate the longer route, and is primed third up after an injury-enforced rest.

For his part, JACK IN THE GREEN made considerable progress from way back when drawn wide a month ago. That he got within half a length of Baton Rouge was testimony to a determined, weaving stretch run, and he should throw out a stern challenge to WATER DRAGON.

Others that can get involved are the well-drawn, ETOILLEFILLANTE, consistent pace-presser, FRENCH TRIP, jOVIAL and the improving ALADDIN’S LAMP, with MOREMI GEORGE also worth considering when compiling trifectas and quartets.

GREEN MANDARIN needs only to repeat his last start performance to double up in Race 5 over 1600m. He dashed from the back of the field to beat subsequent winner, Voorloopertjie in the Country Championship Class 4 on 13 April, which is compelling form in the context of Saturday’s opposition.

A knock against Glen Kotzen’s entry is that he’s not exactly been a paragon of consistency, and he is now raised in the ratings/weights. But he could still be too hot for MASTER OF PARIS, NAUSHON, and FAIRE ADVANTAGE to handle, even though the latter has been given further relief by the handicapper.

BIG UNIT’s supporters were counting the cash three weeks ago when he looked home and hosed – only for their fancy to get mugged on the wire by a charging All About Ronnie. Brett Crawford’s charge will try make amends in Race 6, again over the 1600m journey.

The son of Master of My Fate strips a super-fit horse, should get the run of the race drawn two, and is highly competitive off his current mark. His major dangers are all drawn awkwardly at 7, 8, and 9, respectively: KITCHAKAL, RULE OF THUMB, and pace-forcing QUARTERMAIN.

Speaking of draws, SENHORA VICTORIA yet again pulls a high marble in Race 7 – a low-grade fillies and mares contest over 1400m. That makes her task, and indeed the positional challenge for jockey Sean Veale, difficult.

However, there is a lot of pace underneath her and she might be able to overcome the hassle as she is just plain better than most of her battling rivals. Leery exotic bettors would be justified in adding HANG OUT THE STARS (should get a saloon passage drawn 1) LITTLE MISS PINK and intriguing outsider, RED MOON RISING to their tickets.

OLIVER is seriously testing the loyalty of long-suffering supporters who will be wondering if he deserves yet another chance, having run second at four of his last five tries over 1400m.

Adam Marcus’ one time winner from 12 starts loads up yet again in a Class 4, carded as Race 9, where he drops to a 1200m stiff sprint.

That may turn out for the best – reverting to a fast run extended sprint. NIGHT TIGER, ESCARPMENT, BOOGIEFIED, NIGHT BOMBER, STARS IN HEAVEN and DEVIL A SAINT are all pacy types which could tee things up for Aldo Domeyer to throw a timely late dart on OLIVER.

Punters who have lost patience with OLIVER may also use last-start winner GRAND BAY and GO IT ALONE as wider covers.

Juvenile filly, TANNERON has made a favourable impression at her only two starts to date, earning neat figures. This time, she is thrown against older fillies and mares in the night cap, Race 10.


Domeyer is an astute judge of talent, but he has, however, hopped off to ride stablemate STRATA who is right in the mix on several collateral lines of form with TEQUILA SKY, PALO QUEEN, SILVER SCREEN, EASY MONEY and NIGHT VIGIL.

This is a tricky finale. If you don’t trust “babies” so close in the weights against elders at this time of the year, then casting a wide net is justified. Alternatively, row in with the speedy daughter of Var, TANNERON. She sports an official merit rating (92) that is leagues ahead of her foes and might be good enough to overcome her relative immaturity.



–   All images: Chase Liebenberg