Skip to main content

– Written by Mark van Deventer

Like T20 opening batters trying to get the innings off to flying start with a series of boundaries, punters can take a swing with BE MERRY, TOTHEMOONANDBACK and ALLEZ MORIS in the first three races at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on Saturday.

BE MERRY takes on some well-bred first-timers: Neat third on debut, SCARLET MCGRAW, and DUCHESS OF PALOMA – who was not disgraced in the Cape Racing Sales Cape Slipper (a key race) – also pose a threat.

Yet, BE MERRY, the Snaith-trained Lancaster Bomber filly, emerged with credit on 26 March when she finished four lengths off very promising filly, Tanneron, in a zippy adjusted time despite being inexperienced in the early stages, then disappointed for a clear run from the 200m. Building on that effort, as most thoroughbreds tend to do at their second starts, could get the job done in the 12h05 race

TOTHEMOONANDBACK, now with Des McLachlan, takes on former Justin Snaith stable mate, MASTER OF PARIS and three-year-old Silvano colt, PRIME VENTURE in the second race. Wagering on one-time winners from 19 starts is not usually advisable, but TOTHEMOONANDBACK has long seemed better than that superficially uninspiring record. A slightly softer track, switch to Richard Fourie who was on board for that solitary victory, further relief from the handicapper, and going over a mile could do the trick.

ALLEZ MORIS also stretches out to a longer route in Race 3 over 2200m. CORONATION TIME, SALVATOR MUNDI, LOVE IS A ROSE and THEFUTUREISBRIGHT all have a propensity go race upfront or at least go handy, so this should be a true test.

ALLEZ MORIS, who stayed a mile as a young horse, has been finishing off stoutly over 1400, 1600 and most recently over 1800m, retains Fourie’s expertise to help secure a third victory. Lightly weighted Brett Crawford trained stable mates SUPREME DREAN and SUDDEN SONG might be used underneath in single race exotics.

Crawford will be hopeful of cracking the opening Leg of the P6 with MONT LOISIR. Fourie, SA’s foremost rider, is again the go-to jock. The Vercingetorix gelding was outrun by Hoodia a month ago after receiving confident support, and will try make amends this time from a more favourable draw of 2.

Promising, but lightly raced, WATER DRAGON is a live threat, and including Vaughan Marshall’s long-actioned, Rafeef colt seems prudent. Those wanting even wider cover in this Maiden may add GREENLAND to their perms. This will be his first run back after a rest/gelding, and he showed enough before this break to show himself capable of winning a few races.

Paul Reeves extracts maximum value out of inexpensive stock. BASIC MANEUVERS, a 130K purchase, followed up a Maiden romp with a solid try behind Two a Penny after being smashed in the betting, and is poised to go one better back over her preferred Kenilworth 1800m in Race 7.

PLUM PUDDING also sports an improving profile for Andre Nel, while SUMMER NIGHT CITY and CATTALEYA ought to be in the mix too. But the shrewdly bought, BASIC MANEUVERS could outrun them all under patient handling by Aldo Domeyer.

DIAMOND ROCK looks interesting in Race 8, a Class 4 over nine panels. His first run after a freshening behind Itsrainingwilliam on 17 February was a decent effort; he went unsighted second start after that break when drawn hopelessly and could now be primed to deliver a career peak going beyond a mile for the first time. He tangled with quality horses Future Variety and Zoomie this time last year and could be worth a speculative play.

Main dangers include well exposed stretch runner, PREVALENCE (who has often placed since last winning 571 days ago) and three unexposed youngsters, BLUE BAY, VOORLOOPERTJIE and JOIN THE DOTS sharing the same OMR of 86.

Shane Humby teams up with Bernard Fayd Herbe in the nightcap – Race 10, a 16 runner Class 4 for Fillies and Mares over 1100m. The combination of a clever conditioner who races his horses sparingly, joining forces with a tactically world class jock is a sign of intent – and it helps that the form of NIGHT VIGIL’s last start has been franked.

The daughter of Vercingetorix is thus proposed as the card’s closing wager. Principal dangers are Paul Reeves’ hat-trick seeking HEAR MY VOICE, closely rated GIMMETHEWALTZ, GREAT CAT, and plausible long shot DOUBLE DREAM, who goes especially energetically for Sean Veale and is handicapped a sneaky chance off an OMR of 72.

– Images by Chase Liebenberg