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Vaal Thursday 19 January Tips and Race Previews by INForm
Race 1 – HANDSOME HENRY, a son of Henrythenavigator, would have come on from his debut effort and can make the necessary improvement to go close in this lineup. His biggest danger could come from SPACE TORNADO who has placed in recent outings and can improve back up the straight. ARTIFICIO showed good pace last time out and can get involved for minor money. (INForm 10-4-3)
Race 2 – YELLOW METAL is well related being a half-sister to July-winner Heavy Metal and can follow up on an impressive winning debut. WATER LILY LAKE rates a winning chance in this Novice Plate after competing in a feature (Swallow Stakes) last time out. WINTER AL is extremely consistent and should be included in all bets. (INForm 4-3-2)
Race 3 – OSCULATION gets the blinkers after going close over this course and distance in two of her last three outings. Can go one better. It will be interesting to see how the form of the previous race works out as she did run second to Yellow Metal (Race 2) last time out. AIMEE SWEET comes off the same form line and shouldn’t be far off. It could pay to include WISHING CHESTNUT, by Horse Chestnut, at the back end of trifectas and quartets. (INForm 1-2-4)
Race 4 – GUNSHIP is improving with each run and was running on strongly last time out. Big chance here. HEAR THE STORM is a son of Var whose progeny generally show natural speed. He wasn’t too far back on debut and can show big improvement. THE GREAT DUTCHESS improved with blinkers in her last two starts and can place again. (INForm 10-7-9)
Race 5 – JUNGLE MIST steps up in division but looks progressive and jockey Marwing knows her well after latest win. BELLA SONATA’S form speaks for itself. The 62kgs on her back won’t do her any favours but she is classy and gets 4kg off with a claiming apprentice. SWIFT SARAH has not been far off lately and enjoys this track and trip. OFF THE MARK, SEATTLE LADY and EASY STREET should be considered in larger perms. (INForm 5-1-2)
Race 6 –P.Strydom has opted to ride QUEENS JET again and can make it two in a row. But she is stepping up in division and it’s worth including a few in the exotic bets. FREELY FOREVER is coming off a 5month break but has decent form and can pop up fresh. SEEKING VENUS has her third run after a rest and should be peaking. She drops in class and could be the dark horse in this field. TIMETOPERFECTION is in good form and is a must inclusion in all bets. (INForm 3-1-5)
Race 7 – THE SMELL OF RAIN has run against some good company and is a leading contender. MOVIE AWARD will be right there following a decent effort behind the progressive Ana Pavlova. BRIGTNUMBERSIX won on debut and well see how she handles this handicap debut. Could be anything. FUTURE FANTASTIC and OUR MIRALE should be included in larger perms. (INForm 4-3-13)
Race 8 –SHORTSTOP has solid form to recommend after a decent run behind Nation Builder in latest. He can only improve on that effort and gets blinkers on this time. TEENAGE DREAM ran a fair fourth out the maidens and should put in another honest effort. GOLD STATUS has top weight to shoulder but is not completely out of this after a fair last effort. CAPTAIN CHIPS is another who could get involved with a lowered rating. (INForm 9-2-1)
Race 9 – TORA TORA has not been far behind of late. His last run behind Beaufort Sea was a cracking performance in soft going. He gets G.Lerena up and could take some beating if things map out for him. JUST A GIGOLO will be right there judging from his last start however he might just prefer the mile. MAXIMIZER looks progressive and the form seems to be working out well. In with a shout. (INForm 4-7-1)
Marinaresco put his run of bad draws behind him when rider Grant Van Niekerk stepped in to pick the plum number two position at today’s Sun Met draw ceremony at Kenilworth.
The second favourite earlier worked well over a mile with leading Investec Derby hope Horizon, ridden by Belinda Haytread of Pocket Power fame, and Van Niekerk’s mount stretched clear in the final 400m.
“It was just easy pace work,” said Candice Bass-Robinson while her jockey added: “I was pleased with Marinaresco, it was a good gallop and he is doing very well.”
Legal Eagle drew nine, not that it matters with Anton Marcus – he is so quick coming out of the pens – but the four-time champion was pleased with his mount’s work with stable companion French Navy (Weichong Marwing) although neither horse was asked to do that much.
“It was probably more for the well-being of the public but Legal Eagle is in a good place,” Marcus reported while Marwing added: “French Navy has definitely come on since the Queen’s Plate and he will be better over the Met trip. I think he can finish in the money.”
French Navy is drawn one and it was mostly outsiders who were hammered with wide berths. Even The Conglomerate, almost perpetually blighted with bad draws, has a decent spot in seven.
The Durban July winner was ridden by Jannie Bekker in his work with Macduff (Donovan Dillon) and the retired jockey got off saying: “If Frankie Dettori decides he doesn’t want to ride him I will be happy to take over!”
With the big race only nine days away hardly any of the horses were asked to exert themselves in earnest and several worked on their own. Perhaps the most eye-catching of these was Bela-Bela (Anthony Delpech). The grey filly went a mile with her tongue lolling out. “She loves her work and she is doing well,” said the well-pleased rider while an impressed Justin Snaith added: “She has to have that come-on look and she was very impressive.”
Whisky Baron also looked good in his solo spin over 1 400m and rider Greg Cheyne said: “I couldn’t have been happier with that – he is maintaining his form beautifully. There are some top horses in the race but mine is on the up and on the way he won a Grade 2 last time he is definitely reaching their level.”
One who did not gallop was the Cape Guineas second Gold Standard and Glen Kotzen reported: “I galloped him over ten furlongs here ten days ago, the ground was very firm – they are watering but the South-Easter dries it up – and he was jarred afterwards. I will have him fit and fresh on race day.”
By Michael Clower
Vodacom Durban July winner The Conglomerate has been eased from 16-1 to 20-1 for Saturday week’s Sun Met despite being ridden by Frankie Dettori.
Betting World has made surprisingly few changes to its prices considering it had a book of 23 horses on Monday morning and there are now just 15 runners. There were 14 in each of the last two years and in 2007 when Pocket Power chalked up the first of his three wins. Other than that 15 is the smallest for a Met field in the last 25 years.
Legal Eagle remains 6-4 favourite and Whisky Baron is also unchanged at 9-2 but Marinaresco has been cut from 7-2 to 5-2. That said, fourth favourite Bela-Bela has taken a walk from 13-2 to 9-1. Other prices are 11-1 Gold Standard, 14-1 It’s My Turn,20-1 Captain America, 40-1 Mac De Lago, French Navy, Brazuca, 66-1 Baritone, 100-1 Cape Speed, Mambo Mime and Macduff.
The eight who were not declared were the Mike De Kock trio Bold Rex, Heavenly Blue and Al Fahad, the Geoff Woodruff pair Master Sabina and Deo Juvente, St Tropez (Joey Ramsden), Nebula (Brett Crawford) and Rocketball (Gavin van Zyl).
Glen Kotzen has taken the bold step of running his top three-year-old Gold Standard in the R5 million Sun Met, thus forgoing the chance of winning the Gr I Investec Cape Derby where the big bay would likely have been hard to beat. There is sound reasoning to his decision despite the race having not been won by a three-year-old since Mike de Kock did it twice successively with Horse Chestnut and Badger’s Coast in the years 1999 and 2000.
Kotzen has no doubt the Trippi colt will stay the 2000m trip and said, “People say Trippi’s don’t stay 2000m, but this one will stay every inch of it. We gave him a hard gallop over 2000m at Kenilworth recently and he put up an excellent performance. He has a very stout female line too. His second dam is the champion Olympic Duel, who won the Met herself (and her foals include Gr 1 Daily News 2000 winner Flying Duel as well as a number of other 2000m horses and stayers). We train his half-sister All Mine and she has won over 1600m and placed over 2000m despite being by Var.”
Gold Standard won his maiden third time out over 1600m at Durbanville by a comfortable 3,25 lengths. There was a lot of clamour about Craven’s win over the same distance on the same day and in spite of Kotzen pointing out that his horse had run a quicker time it fell on deaf ears. However, he is now able to say I told you so in no uncertain terms.
Gold Standard first travelled down to win the Listed RA Stakes over 1600m, a race which has produced two Vodacom Durban July winners, including the Kotzen-trained Big City Life. He then won the Gr 2 Selangor Cup over 1600m at Kenilworth at odds of 28/1, relegating the deemed unbeatable Table Bay to third, beaten 2,65 lengths. Then in the Gr 1 Grand Parade Cape Guineas he finished a 0,5 length second to the impressive William Longsword. This pair had a dominant look about them as they drew clear, beating the rest of the field, headed by Table Bay, by 3,25 lengths.
Kotzen said, “Had they gone a decent pace I think he would have won it. However, if he had won it he would have had to carry a 2kg Gr 1 penalty in the Met and we would then have likely gone for the Derby instead. Looking at the Met, Legal Eagle has beaten the same horses, he has never been challenged by a younger horse and I think the current three-year-old crop is quite strong.
If you look at Bold Rex, who was beaten 7,65 lengths in the Queen’s Plate, Gold Standard is actually eight lengths better than him on collateral form through Heavenly Blue. Plus we have the further 2kg pull because Legal Eagle has to carry a Gr 1 penalty. If you look back in history, Gimmethegreenlight won the Cape Guineas and without the ensuing Gr 1 penalty he guaranteed wins the Met, because he was beaten into third by just 1,15 lengths. So I am very excited about next Saturday’s race. He is really well. It would be nice to crack a good draw, but it’s not too important as he came from last to win the Selangor.”
Richard Fourie is in top form and rides him for the third time in succession.
Gold Standard will not be galloping at the Met Gallops this morning (Thursday), although he will be on course for patrons to view in the parade ring. He had the recent hard workout over 2000m and another grass gallop would not fit into his preparation program.
Kotzen has a strong team of horses on the lucrative day and his comments on the rest of his runners will appear in the Racegoer next week.
Cape Town – Sun Met favourite Legal Eagle will start from pen No 9 in the R5-million race, celebrated with Mumm.
The draws for the country’s richest Grade 1 race were done on Thursday after the horses galloped publicly.
Most of the unwanted wide berths were taken by outsiders. Dean Kannemeyer, still looking for his first Met win, fared particularly badly with Cape Speed drawing widest of all at No 15 and Mambo Mime only two places better.
Hassen Adams, owner of Mac de Lago, recalled that his 2011 winner Past Master started from gate No 15 and his horse in this year’s Met fared only marginally better at No 14.
The one who really benefitted was Marinaresco who was drawn wide when second in the Durban July last year and when disappointing in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate. Grant van Niekerk picked pen No 2. “I’m glad Mr Shirtliff is not doing the draw because he only gets bad ones”, the jockey joked.
The Conglomerate, whose long run of bad draws included the July which he won, the Summer Cup and the Queen’s Plate, fared much better this time, drawing at No 7. He also worked well when he went with stable companion Macduff (Donovan Dillon). The Conglomerate was ridden by retired jockey Jannie Bekker, who got off and announced: “If Frankie Dettori decides he doesn’t want the horse I will be happy to take the ride!”
For once the gallops took place in a light drizzle, ideal for the horses but not for the sizeable crowd of onlookers, and Legal Eagle (Anton Marcus) was the first to work alongside French Navy (Weichong Marwing). They were not asked to do that much – and with the big race only nine days away nor were most of the others – but Marcus expressed himself satisfied with the favourite. “That was more for the well-being of the public but Legal Eagle is in a good place,” said the four-time champion.
Marwing, who won this race on legendary Horse Chestnut in 1999, was every bit as pleased with French Navy and said: “French Navy is not the most impressive worker but I was happy with him. He has definitely come on since the Queen’s Plate and he will be better over the Met trip. I think he can finish in the money.”
Marinaresco impressed when worked over 1600m with stable companion Horizon (Belinda Haytread) and Van Niekerk said: “I was pleased with him. It was a good gallop and he is doing very well.”
Heavily backed Whisky Baron worked on his own over 1400m and rider Greg Cheyne said: “All good – I couldn’t be happier with that. He is maintaining his form beautifully.”
Bela-Bela (Anthony Delpech) was the other runner high up in the betting to go well, working on her own over 1600m with her tongue lolling out. “That was a proper gallop and she was very impressive,”said Justin Snaith.
Gold Standard did not gallop after being jarred up on firm ground when worked at Kenilworth 10 days ago. “I will have him fit and fresh on raceday,” vowed Glen Kotzen.
The field for the R5-million Sun Met celebrated with Mumm (Grade 1) over 2000m in order of saddlecloth number, draw, horse, trainer, jockey, weight and merit rating:1 9 Legal Eagle Sean Tarry A Marcus 60.0 123 2 14 Mac De Lago (AUS) Weiho Marwing A Domeyer 60.0 112 3 7 The Conglomerate (AUS) Joey Ramsden L Dettori 60.0 107 4 2 Marinaresco Candice Bass-Robinson G van Niekerk 59.5 115 5 6 It’s My Turn Justin Snaith P Strydom 59.5 106 6 10 Captain America Brett Crawford C Orffer 58.0 116 7 1 French Navy Sean Tarry W Marwing 58.0 113 8 8 Whisky Baron (AUS) Brett Crawford G Cheyne 57.5 110 9 12 Brazuca (AUS) Johan Janse van Vuuren G Lerena 57.5 109 10 3 Baritone Justin Snaith A Fortune 57.5 105 11 15 Cape Speed Dean Kannemeyer K de Melo 57.5 101 12 13 Mambo Mime Dean Kannemeyer G Behr 57.5 99 13 11 Macduff (AUS) Joey Ramsden D Dillon 57.5 90 14 5 Bela-Bela Justin Snaith A Delpech 57.0 109 15 4 Gold Standard Glen Kotzen R Fourie 52.0 108
Same trainer: (1,7) (3,13) (5,10,14) (6,8) (11,12)
The Vaal Outside track stages a competitive nine race meeting tomorrow and exotic dividends should be handsome.
The fifth, a fillies and mares MR 92 Handicap over 1200m, is the highest rated race. Bella Sonata hasn’t raced since going close in October’s Jo’burg Spring Fillies and Mares Challenge over 1450m and from a plum outside draw with a 4kg claimer up she should do well over a trip she is effective over. However, the choice to beat her is Swift Sarah, whose speed should help her find a good strip of going early on. She will be fit and the champion combination of Sean Tarry and S’Manga Khumalo are in fine form. The one who could trouble these two is the progressive Captain’s Girl, who has snuck into the handicap with the minimum weight.
The second race is a Novice Plate for fillies and mares and the officially best weighted horse Secret Star looks the one to beat. She has speed and the ability to find extra in the closing stages. Water Lily Lake is second best in at the weights and she can maybe bounce back to form in her third run after a layoff. However, Khumalo is aboard the three-year-old stablemate Yellow Metal, who is by Global One and is a half-sister to VDJ winner Heavy Metal. She is officially 4,5kg under sufferance but this is only her second start so she could still be anything and will have to be included in all bets. The enigmatic Winter Al is only 1kg out at the weights and often performs above her merit rating when tried in plate or conditions races and this is her best trip. Queenie is a talented horse but will still likely need this.
If Yellow Metal does win then Aimee Sweet will have a good chance in the next race over 1000m having finished a 2,8 length third to her last time over this 1000m trip. Hard-knocking Osculation will have a good chance here too. However, there are many first-timers here and the one who makes appeal is Successfilly, who is by Var and is a half-sister to the useful Frosty Friday. She has a high draw which is advantageous by trends on this track.
Gunship and Hear The Storm could fight out the next race over 1000m.
In the sixth race, Burundi Bush is better than her last start and is now off a competitive merit rating and drawn well. The Tarry-Khumalo combination must be considered with Seeking Venus, who has her third run after a layoff and is drawn well off a reduced merit rating. However, it’s an ultra competitive race and going wide might be the best option.
In the seventh, impressive debut winner Brigtnumbersix could beat Movie Award and The Smell Of Rain, although back in form Paree must be considered and so must Pool Party.
The eighth is another tough race although Outshine and Teenage Dream make most appeal.
In the last race Just A Gigolo is well drawn over an ideal trip and goes well for Piere Strydom, although he has Maximizer to beat, the latter having impressed second time out over this trip.
By David Thiselton
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