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Wednesday, 11 October 2017 22:47

Pilou is the one to beat


There will be a nine race meeting at the Vaal tomorrow and Pilou looks like the one to beat with a favourable draw and has top jockey S’manga Khumalo aboard…

The Vaal stages a nine-race meeting on the outside track tomorrow and the exotics will be popular bets considering the Pick 6 is made up of six competitive handicaps and dividends are likely to be healthy.

The highest rated race on the card is the seventh, a MR 80 Handicap over 1600m.

Pilou is the one to beat. He only just failed over this trip at Turffontein last time out despite spreading a shoe. He is only 0,5kg better off with Tommy Waterdevil for a narrow beating. However, by trends he is drawn on the right side in barrier seven in a nine-horse field. He won his maiden over course and distance by six lengths and is reunited with S’Manga Khumalo, who has ridden him in both of his wins. Pilou might have needed that last run slightly, it being his season’s reappearance, and the national champion yard of Sean Tarry yard should start kicking into top gear now with August being the traditional month for trainers to administer AHS vaccines.

Well Connected started slowly over 1450m last time and showed a good turn of foot in the straight. However, he was unable to go through with his initially strong finish. His dam is by National Assembly and won once over 1200m. However, he is by Silvano and his second dam is an Oaks winner, so he could well be looking for this step up in trip. He was dropped two points to an 82 merit rating after that last run. That is still a tough merit rating for an early season three-year-old facing older horses, but being by Silvano he should be improving all the time. His draw of two might be a concern, although the draw bias has been unpredictable at the Vaal lately and the earlier races must be monitored to see if there is any bias on the day.

Tommy Waterdevil warrants consideration too as he has taken well to a mile in his last two starts, having been kept to sprints and 1400m events before that. He was running on well in that last race, but he did have the run of the race from a good draw and has to overcome a three-point merit rated raise, so this will be tougher and his draw of three might also be a concern. Shogun had to overcome a draw of nine in the aforementioned race and was only 0,85 lengths back at the line. He has remained on the same merit rating and now has Anthony Delpech up. However, he is drawn in barrier one so in his case the earlier races will also have to be monitored. If there is no draw bias he has a huge shout.

National Key is eight-years-old but is a capable sort and over a suitable course and distance is the dark horse jumping from the standside draw of nine and having been dropped to an attractive merit rating. Street Flyer is also hard to ignore with Strydom up as he went close the last time he ran in this class and he was off the identical 79 merit rating on that occasion.

Man’s Inn is an effective handy to front-running sort, who has also dropped to a competitive merit rating, so he also could pop up. The selection is Pilou to beat Well Connected with Shogun next best ahead of National Key and Tommy Waterdevil.

In the first leg of the PA over 1400m the touted Huyssteen should enjoy the step up in trip after a good debut over 1200m, where he was cut into. La Scala was unlucky last time and looks promising too. Both have low draws and the widely drawn Hyper Jet warrants consideration as he will relish the step up in trip.  The first-timer Think Of Magic is a R300,000 Philanthropist and is a half-brother to the dam of Triple Crown winner Louis The King, so the betting must be monitored. The other first-timer Savannah King is by Tiger Ridge out of an Elliodor dam who has produced three winners.

The first leg of the Pick 6 is a competitive maiden over 1400m but Witch Of The West makes most appeal as a rangy sort who will come on from her running on second over 1200m on debut. She does have a low draw but Anthony Delpech is up.

In the next leg the hard-knocking Celtic Lady has a good chance over an ideal 1000m trip and Varsity Princess is interesting with fist-time blinkers on from a standside draw as she has shown ability and is well bred.

The David Niewenhuizen pair Monarch Air and Flowing Gown make most appeal in the next over 1600m from high draws. Charter Jet is none too reliable but has the ability to win too.

In the penultimate leg of the Pick 6 Captain Chips runs over his ideal 1400m trip and could beat hat-trick-seeking Darkest Hour and Sail For Joy. However, it’s a competitive race and going wide could be the way to go.

The last leg is also competitive but Cedrus Lebani makes most appeal. He is a long-striding progressive sort who might enjoy the step up in trip and he is drawn on the right side under Gavin Lerena. Neuf De Pape should also go close, while Genesis could improve further from his gutsy debut win over this trip.


By David Thiselton

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