The wonderful world of horse racing never ceases to amaze me and just when I think I am beginning to understand al the little intricacies of South African racing, it moves up a gear and there are class horses left right and centre, expensive purchases, more valuable contests – and it’s almost like having to start all over again!
One thing I will say here and now is that the much maligned racing authorities in South Africa (and let’s face it, that’s the same the World over, punters are a fickle and self centred bunch) do their very best to keep everything on the straight and narrow unlike other jurisdictions (including back home in the UK), and I am yet to hear even gossip about skulduggery or wrongdoing, which is a feather in their cap to be honest, and although I have heard others suggest some of their rules are a little draconian, if it works don’t try to fix it is a motto I try to adhere to and at least that way it is my fault when I back the wrong horses!
On to the action this weekend and I’m all over Greyville on Sunday (yes, even after last week where I couldn’t tip rubbish there), with their eight race card and where, from my point of view, they declare nice and early so I have plenty of time to go through the form unlike the UK where over the jumps they declare at 24 hours much to the amusement of all my International racing colleagues who find that hard to comprehend.
On to Sunday afternoon and there are more than enough runners to make life very competitive but it may be better to look at the handicaps for a few small bets – the chances of finding the winner may be that little bit slimmer but the prices are usually more rewarding and that may yet be the best way to go.
Two maidens start the card with the first handicap due off at 13:40pm local time over 2000mtrs and with a nine runner field. Looking through the form and I am quite taken by the chances of Crowd Pleaser who was put up eight pounds for winning here over 1800mtrs back in late January but ran a really good race last time out when fourth of ten over the same distance at Vaal, only beaten two and a half lengths at the line. He can make the running if necessary which is a handy weapon to have at your disposal on the polytrack with its kickback and although up in class today looks a solid each way option (assuming eight or more line up on the day), and has the added benefit of Anton Marcus in the saddle which is never a bad thing in my book.
Next up looks even tougher (I’m making my excuses in advance this time around) but wherever I look I keep on coming back to Gasoline for the same trainer jockey combination of Johan Janse van Vuuren and Anton Marcus. After a run of acceptable if not wining efforts he was finally dropped a couple of pounds by the dreaded handicapper to his current mark of 64 and showed he can win off that mark last time out at Vaal when a length and a quarter second to Happy Pills over 1700mtrs despite losing a length at the start and then running on powerfully to be closest at the finish. Stepped up in trip this afternoon if he can get away on level terms and maintain a handy position throughout he may well prove too good for them here and will be burdened with being my second suggestion on Sunday afternoon.
One more bet will do us all and I am hoping that Sean tarry can do a bit better this Sunday and give us a lifeline with Prospect Strike, though each way may be the sensible option. It looked to me as if they made a bit too much use of him too early last time when he made the running before fading in to eighth but hopefully the riding instructions will be a bit different here and if he is allowed to sit in the first four and then kicked on 300mtrs out, they won’t see which way he went. He has won races off considerably higher and not that long ago, including a Graduation Plate when rated 109, and if Sean can get him anywhere near to that sort of form this afternoon then a rating of 91 is laughable and at the price he may well be worth a little risky bet today with S’manga Khumalo in the saddle – after all, it is called gambling!
Crowd Pleaser 13:40pm local time Greyville Sunday
Gasoline 14:15pm local time Greyville Sunday
Prospect Strike 16:00pm local time Greyville Sunday