Riders jostle for position during a race at the Greyville Racecourse in Durban. File picture: GALLO IMAGES/ANESH DEBIKY
Riders jostle for position during a race at the Greyville Racecourse in Durban. File picture: GALLO IMAGES/ANESH DEBIKY

Trainer Paul Matchett ended the 2018/19 season in great style winning 10 races in the final month with Running Brave the stable star winning twice at Greyville.

Matchett's final total for the campaign was 47 winners which took him into 17th place in the national trainers’ log.

Private Ruler won for the stable at Flamingo Park last Saturday and the Randjesfontein trainer sends eight of his team to the Vaal on Thursday.

The Var mare Nawaasi, who takes on just five rivals in the fifth race, is the yard’s best chance of a winner as the five-year-old ran out a comfortable three-lengths winner on her latest outing.

Trainer Lucky Houdalakis is likely to fancy his chances of turning the tables on Nawaasi with his runner Memphis Belle, also a daughter of Var. The Gary Player-bred mare will be 8kg better off with Matchett’s runner this time.

Nevertheless, Nawaasi has a more experienced rider in Nathan Klink who finished last season with 44 winners from his 518 rides. In contrast, Memphis Belle’s partner Jeffrey Syster has not had many mounts.

Though Randall Simons did not ride at Tuesday’s Vaal meeting, he is booked for Mike de Kock’ sole runner on the card Elbi. The four-year-old probably needed her recent run behind What A Red and will strip fitter this on Thursday.

Young apprentice Cole Dicken rode his first winner at the Vaal on Tuesday and his 4kg claim will reduce the weight of his mount Winter Watch to 59,5kg. The mare may still battle to give weight to both Nawaasi and Memphis Belle.

Roy Magner, who trains Winter Watch, has a good chance of winning the sixth race with six-year-old mare Claremorris. She has been placed in five of her last six starts and is overdue a visit to the No 1 box.

Punters will need back-up to Claremorris in their jackpot and Pick 6 perms and all of Queen Of War, Moggie Brown and Desert Kitten warrant inclusion in this 1,000m sprint.

Joe Soma is another trainer who ended the season on a high note capturing the Premiers Champion Stakes at Greyville with his talented two-year-old colt Got The Greenlight.

On Thursday Soma sends two runners to the Free State track, Eightfolds Lass (fourth race) and Tirzan (seventh) and both possess good chances on form. The former ran out a comfortable three-lengths winner here in July while Tirzan has finished second in his last two outings.

One runner who could trouble Eightfolds Lass is Muzi Yeni’s mount Scent Of Evening, who made significant late progress when second behind Rouge Allure here a fortnight ago.

Rouge Allure bids to follow up that victory when Stephen Moffatt’s mare takes on five opponents in the second race. Though the six-year-old is reverting to a shorter trip, it could be another big payday for her owners as the winner’s purse is R81,250.

Alec Laird’s runner Pretty Penny rates the main threat to Rouge Allure with her regular pilot Muzi Yeni in the saddle.

Geoff Woodruff will be tearing his hair out that Blanco is still in the maiden ranks, but the gelding meets a decidedly weak field in the ninth race.


Selections

1st Race: (1) Britaania Queen (2) Aziri Sun (11) Seven Seas (12) The Lady Is Mine

2nd Race: (2) Rouge Allure (3) Pretty Penny (5) Double O Eight (1) Afrostar

3rd Race: (10) Dark Tide (1) Pidgeon Rock (2) Inside Politics (4) Orchid Street

4th Race: (2) Scent Of Evening (6) Eightfolds Lass (1) I Like It (3) State Star

5th Race: (6) Nawaasi (4) Memphis Belle (3) Elbi (1) Winter Watch

6th Race: (7) Claremorris (6) Queen Of War (5) Moggie Brown (3) Desert Kitten

7th Race: (3) Tirzan (2) Top Shot (5) Snorting Bull (1) Bondiblu

8th Race: (2) Changing Seasons (7) Don Pierro (4) Movie Magic (3) Sovereign Reign

9th Race: (1) Blanco (3) In For A Penny (12) Mr Cuddles (5) Hold Your Horses