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Thursday, 09 March 2017 02:16

Watch out for Fox

vaal opened

The Vaal racecourse hosts a nine race meeting tomorrow, Thursday 9 March…

Racing has been a little tricky for punters on the Highveld since soft going has prevailed and the Vaal card tomorrow might yield some healthy dividends again.

The highest rated race on the card is a MR 96 Handicap over 1200m. Forest Fox was for a long time a frustrating horse as he has plenty of ability but would shirk the issue at the first opportunity. However, he has turned the corner since the headgear has been removed and has earned a cheque in every one of his last six starts, including one winner’s cheque. Last time out he had to overcome a wide draw over 1400m, but was up there early and stayed on well to finish just 2,2 lengths behind the top class New Predator at level weights. He would prefer that 1400m trip, but back in this handicap over 1200m is an interesting contender.

However, it looks to be an open race and he can’t be bankered. Dennis The Menace always has to be considered when well drawn in a race with pace in it. He is drawn close to the outside, which is usually the side the jockeys track over to on this straight course. There should be enough pace with Isphan and Just As I Said in the race. Miracle Bureau is a talented sort who is ideally distance suited. If he is able to find good cover early as well as a good passage between horses, his excellent turn of foot can carry him close.

Just As I Said has been in fine form and just failed to make it four-on-the-trot last time. He remains on the same merit rating and should be involved again. Amazing Stike has been in consistent form off this merit rating and should be thereabouts again with Delpech up from a high draw. Anjaal, who was a close third in a Gr 1 over 1600m as a two-year-old, did well in his first run for a new yard last time over 1160m. He now has the blinkers off. However, his draw of two could be tricky.

The prevous race is an interesting MR 84 Handicap for fillies and mares over 1600m. Comme-ci-comme-ca is obviously well regarded as she has been tried in two Gr 3s. She was not disgraced in either. She should enjoy this trip on pedigree. If she tucks in early from a low draw she will have a good chance. It is not easy to find a best bet on the card, so she gets the nod being an up-and-coming sort who should start coming into her own now.

However, the risk averse will probably be seeing this as a typically open fillies and mares handicap. Sim-Alley-Bank disappointed over 1450m last time out after taking a bump at the start. However, she is now reunited with Lyle Hewitson, who rode her to a five length victory in her penultimate start over 1400m at this course in soft going. She was given a seven point raise for the win, but is by Bankable whose progeny appear to improve steadily in their four-year-old year. Sisters Of Mercy has run two good races since being raised to this 73 merit rating. That followed a win over this trip and she can do well over a course and distance she has won over before.

Work Ethic has faced some tough opposition lately and has dropped to a competitive merit rating. In this weaker field she will have a chance. Our Miracle might be stretched by this trip, but from a good draw she could be dangerous from the front. Beaute Noir has shown promise over this trip, but does return from a three month layoff following a disappointing effort on the poly. Teenage Dream only just failed when stepped up this trip last time. However, she has another possibly tough draw here.

Zortziko is an interesting runner in the eighth, a MR 72 Handicap over 1000m. He has a good draw and is four points lower in the merit ratings than the last time he ran over this trip, which was back in December when finishing just 1,75 lengths behind the fair sort Dolphin. If reproducing that effort he should go close.

Punters could accumulate some exotic money through Real Flight in the second race. On her debut over 1000m on the Turffontein Inside track, she was left a bit flat-footed as they went for home, but she then ran on well. She is by Jay Peg out of the speedy and classy Mana Mou and will relish the extra 200m here. She has a nice high draw.

In the first leg of the PA, the topweight Cape Marigold is well drawn over a suitable trip of 1600m, which is important as she is capable of a devastating finish.

In the last race of the day, My Friend Lee is another topweight who has been chosen to win. She has a high draw over an ideal 1400m trip. She won last time out over this course and distance and both the second and third horses have won since, so she can overcome a five-point raise.


By David Thiselton


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