While the Grand National Festival at Aintree is set to dominate the headlines for the next three days, there is plenty of local weekend action to keep players entertained – including a feature double at Turffontein on Saturday and also at Greyville on Sunday.
The Grand National Festival has been well covered by Neil Morrice on our blog – read more here
The big South African race of the weekend is the Gr2 Colorado King Stakes to be run at Turffontein on the standside track on Saturday. The race is named in honour of a great champion of the sport in the 1960’s.
The fairer sex look set to dominate matters with FORT EMBER and SYLVAN ON FIRE the standouts in a quality field. But horses like THE DAZZLER and CASH TIME are capable of stepping up their game to challenge.
Mike de Kock’s HIT FOR SIX steps up to the 2400m in the third and after three fair runs, this trip could be what the Dynasty gelding has been crying out for. The R1,8 million National Yearling Sale graduate is not bumping the strongest field either, so he should go close.
Running alongside the nine Turffontein races on Saturday, Durbanville has eight races rostered and Geoff Woodruff looks the man to produce the best bet of the day.
His Twice Over gelding RETRO EFFECT has placed at six of his eight starts and looks overdue to escape the maiden ranks. The 3yo runs in the fifth with his stablemate THE PERFECT WAVE looking the major danger.
The weekend gets under way at Fairview on Friday where the popular turf track hosts eight races.
There are no features on the card but the best bet of the afternoon could be the Bezrin gelding FINLEY HILL who steps out as a possible opening leg Pick 6 banker in the third. The Sharon Kotzen yard has been in fine form and he could have the measure of his eight rivals. That said, TOMMY THE BUILDER ran a cracker on his East Cape debut and on his best Gauteng showings could threaten the likely favourite.
The Greyville Polytrack will see eight races on Friday evening and Michael Roberts and Anton Marcus can get things rolling early when AD ALTISIMA steps out in the first.
The Visionaire colt has run two thirds at his first two starts – both were on the turf, though. If he transfers his ability, he could give us an early Bipot anchor – but watch the betting on the two first-timers.
We round off the weekend action on the Greyville grass on Sunday.
There are two feature races on the attractive eight-race programme with the visitor dominated Gr3 Byerley Turk looking like a tricky puzzle to unravel. Looking down the honour roll over the years, there are some big names that started right here and it is fascinating to see what Sunday will deliver.
Sean Tarry’s Joburg visitor CARBON ATOM and the Duncan Howells galloper THANKSGIVING – the highest rated runner in the race – look the marginal standouts.
The fillies’ equivalent, the Gr3 Umzimkhulu Stakes, hails the first feature runner for the 2019 SA Champions Season for the Candice Bass-Robinson team. SANTA CLARA has drawn well and could give the Milnerton team a winning start.
The final race on Sunday is our usual get-out stakes opportunity and a big field makes the eighth race something of a lottery. The low-rated handicap sees 15 varied gallopers taking each other on over the 1900m.
We are giving Paul Lafferty’s WHITE LIGHTNING another chance to register a second win. The son of Noble Tune is not one to stake the rent money on and has often flattered only to deceive. We’d rove him with BRIGHTEYEBUSHYTAIL and HOLY LAND in the quartet.
The HSH Princess Charlene Gr1 Empress Club Stakes
to be run at Turffontein on 13 April declared this morning at 11h00. Watch out for the betting on www.hollywoodbets.net
Have a winning time of it on another bumper weekend of racing across the globe. We will chat again on Monday.
Greyville Poly Track
Race 1 – 17:15
1400m – Maiden Juvenile Plate
8 – Spanish Fort
Trainer: Alyson Wright
Jockey: Athandiwe Mgudlwa
Predicted Betting: 20/1
We were disappointed with his debut run back in early February this year, after winning his Barrier Trial three weeks before that. He has shown some very encouraging work at home and we were expecting a much better performance from him. It was clear that he kept changing legs throughout that run up the straight at Scottsville.
The fact that he pulled up sound and well the day after points to him not enjoying the frantic speed that is customary in a 1000m sprint and he kept becoming unbalanced throughout that run, hence the changing of legs. As such, we have opted for this 1400m test where we can expect to see a slightly more sedate gallop and he should settle a lot better. On his pedigree, he is bred for a mile and further. His work has been good and we are expecting a much-improved performance from him. If things come together, he has a nice place chance at decent odds.
Winning Form Comment: Poor debut, but bred for further. Expect progression. Read more here
JayEmEe’s Top Bet for Fairview (05/04)
Race 4: BEHOLDEN (1)
Jockey: Greg CHEYNE – Trainer: Alan GREEFF
BEHOLDEN put up a good performance in that comeback run last time out. That was over a slightly further distance with blinkers off. She drops back to the 1000m mark for this outing & the stable elect from the Greeff yard looks too strong here.
JayEmEe’s Top Bet for Greyville (05/04)
Race 3: SECRET DYNASTY (4)
Jockey: Anton MARCUS – Trainer: Dennis BOSCH
SECRET DYNASTY has dropped further in the ratings since that maiden win five starts back. He has also been gelded since and steps back up to the mile for this run. The well-bred son of Dynasty looks progressive and is the class horse in the race. With that in mind, he’s the top selection with Marcus up from pole.
JayEmEe’s Top Bet for Turffontein (06/04)
Race 2: MASAAQAAT (11)
Jockey: Randall SIMONS – Trainer: Mike DE KOCK
MASAAQAAT has found solid support in both starts to date and found one better on both occasions. She steps up to the 1400m mark on Saturday and judging by her quick turn of foot, should love this trip. She is clearly the most progressive and looks hard to oppose here.
JayEmEe’s Top Bet for Durbanville (06/04)
Race 5: RETRO EFFECT (1)
Jockey: Aldo DOMEYER – Trainer: Geoff WOODRUFF
RETRO EFFECT finally cracks a draw after not having any luck in that department in his last three starts. He has, however, showed up well on all three occasions and from gate three on Saturday, must come into this with an improved chance. He has been gelded since that last effort and if not in need of the run, looks set to leave the maidens chasing his dust.
JayEmEe’s Top Bet for Greyville (07/04)
Race 2: ROYAL SPLURGE (10)
Jockey: Ashton ARRIES – Trainer: Mike MILLER
made solid improvement over the extra furlong last time out and if she overcomes that tricky draw on Sunday, she has the form to be the one to beat.