The Scottsville Sprint Festival, first staged in 1962, is SA’s oldest, biggest and richest sprint carnival, the only of its kind with four grade 1 dashes in one day. Saturday’s renewal of the Tsogo Sprint race day, previously known as the Golden Horse, is one of the top race days in the land and offers R3,2m in prize money in 2019. The grade 1 contests include the R1m grade 1 Tsogo Sun Sprint; the R7500,000 grade 1 Tsogo Sun Gold Medallion; the R750,000 grade 1 SA Fillies Sprint and the R750,000 grade 1 Allan Robertson Championship, all over 1,200m. With exceptional pace all round, there is no margin for error and at the undulating Pietermaritzburg track, course suitability is a factor too. This bodes well for Van Halen, who has raced there only once before and pulled off a big surprise when winning last season’s Gold Medallion on the same day. If you believe in cycles, and in the maxim that history repeats itself, trainer Tobie Spies’s Van Halen is your weekend outsider at opening ...

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