Soft going will suit De Kock's runner in Gauteng Guineas
Has the rain in Gauteng tipped the scales in favour of Mike de Kock's runner Frosted Gold in Wednesday night's R1m Gauteng Guineas at Turffontein?
That is the intriguing question surrounding the grade 2 race which has been rescheduled for Wednesday due to a waterlogged track last Saturday.
If the rain stays away — and that is no certainty — the going will still be on the soft side, which will suit Frosted Gold. The New Zealand-bred gelding scored in soft going at the city track at the beginning of November.
Craig Zackey, who had a disappointing ride on Vardy in the Sun Met, was in the saddle for that race and rides the grey for the third time in this 1,600m contest.
There are also questions about the ruling 5-2 favourite Ikigai — Sean Tarry's three-time winner has never raced in soft going and is also trying 1,600m for the first time.
Nevertheless, the son of Vercingetorix remains this column's selection as he was so impressive when winning by over four lengths over 1,400m in early January.
Young Luke Ferraris has chalked up 38 winners so far this season and he will be delighted he is getting plenty of rides from the champion trainer. While Frosted Gold is drawn well in barrier two, Ferraris has a fair draw on Ikigai in gate six.
S'manga Khumalo is far more experienced than either Zackey or Ferraris and he will be keen to keep his unbeaten record on Fabian Habib's runner Youcanthurrylove.
In early betting, the Gimmethegreenlight colt — a bargain buy at R190,000 — was on offer at 5-1 but he has found support and his price has been cut to 7-2.
If Ikigai's stablemate Eden Roc recovered his best juvenile form he would be a threat yet the Var colt finished over two lengths behind Frosted Gold in the Dingaans and looks unlikely to turn the tables.
There are no changes in the seventh race — the Wilgerbosdrift Fillies Guineas — and trainer David Nieuwenhuizen will not mind the soft conditions for his talented filly Mill Queen.
Though the three-year-old — another cheap buy at R140,000 — has not been in action since early November, she is expected to throw down the gauntlet to Paul Peter's unbeaten filly Summer Pudding.
Bred by the Wilgerbosdrift/Mauritzfontein operation, a win for Summer Pudding would delight Mary Slack and her daughter Jessica Jell with Wilgerbosdrift sponsoring this grade 2 race.
If she was not drawn in the nearby Rand Stadium, Sean Tarry's Captain Al filly Victoria Paige would enter calculations, but she faces a tough task from that position. Better-drawn stablemate Spiritofthegroove has more appeal.
One runner who might be worth including in quartet bets is Stephen Moffatt's filly Rio's Winter. Piere Strydom has been booked for the ride on the daughter of Querari who justified favouritism at the Vaal at the end of January.
With Warren Kennedy in such hot form, this season's leading rider will fancy his chances on Summer Pudding in the Fillies Guineas and also has a big shout on Factor Fifty in the Allez France Stakes.
Bookies have Factor Fifty's stablemate Flichity By Farr as the marginal favourite, but Factor Fifty has run second in soft going and looks the one to be on.
Interestingly, Gavin Lerena, who has ridden Flichity By Farr to her last two wins, now switches to Alec Laird's runner Chitengo. He has probably been influenced by the fact the four-year-old ran second to Guineas fancy Youcanthurrylove last time out.
1st Race: No Selection
2nd Race: No Selection
3rd Race: (1) Gin Fizz (3) Capitiana (5) Frosted Steel (4) Golden Belle
4th Race: (1) Owlinthetree (2) Diamond Dancer (6) Master And Man (4) Flash Burn
5th Race: (6) Captain Of Tortuga (1) Green Haze (2) Approach Control (10) D'Arrivee
6th Race: (10) Fly Away (2) Mr Flood (6) Gimme A Wave (1) Quinlan
7th Race: (3) Summer Pudding (1) Mill Queen (6) Magic School (9) Victoria Paige
8th Race: (4) Ikigai (5) Riverstown (3) Frosted Gold (6) Youcanthurrylove
9th Race: (4) Factor Fifty (1) Flichity By Farr (2) Chitengo (3) Bondiblu
10th Race: (3) Green Plains (2) Dancing Queen (1) Running Brave (6) Pool Party