Strydom opts for Spies runner in wide open Grand Heritage
Jockey who plans to retire at the end of the season will partner What You Are at the Vaal
Piere Strydom is a form studier so it is surely significant that he has chosen to partner What You Are in preference to Whorly Whorly in Saturday’s WSB Grand Heritage at the Vaal.
Strydom, who plans to retire at the end of the season after an outstanding career, has ridden Whorly Whorly to his past two wins — the latest at Turffontein last Saturday. He is certain to have been offered the ride again by trainer Clinton Binda.
What You Are is one of three runners from Corné Spies’s stable in the 1,475m race in which he also saddles Golden Pheasant and True Words. He has his team in good form though Imperial Ruby’s no show in the Racing Association Handicap was a shock.
Unquestionably, What You Are, a son of Captain Of All, boasts the best form of the trio which includes a fifth behind Summer Pudding in last season's SA Fillies Classic.
A runner drawn on the inside close to What You Are is the ante-post favourite Oscar Wilde. The four-year-old is co-owned by Michael Javett who will be delighted with Tree Tumbo’s third place in the Summer Cup.
Racecaller Alistair Cohen — Tellytrack’s jack-of-all-trades — is an excellent commentator as he has now sidelined Nico Kritsiotis. He thought Rock Of Africa had held on to beat Oscar Wilde in November, but Gavin Lerena’s perseverance on Mike de Kock’s choicely bred four-year-old won the day.
With only 52kg on his back, Oscar Wilde has got a favourite’s chance and — with Lerena unable to do the weight — the Dynasty gelding should go well in the hands of Callan Murray.
Lerena switches to Stephen Moffatt’s game mare Rouge Allure, who is now seven years of age yet continues to do the stable proud. Her two lengths second to Summer Pudding on her penultimate start was a huge performance. If there is one worry it is that this will be her seventh race this term.
Drawn next to Oscar Wilde is Spanish Boy and this inmate of the Lucky Houdalakis stable could be the joker in the pack. The Silvano gelding is trying this trip for the first time, but he is out of a Western Winter mare so could relish the step up in distance.
With 17 closely matched runners a tight finish is on the cards and What You Are gets the nod to beat home Oscar Wilde, Rough Allure and Spanish Boy.
A banker bet on the nine-race card should be the grey filly Anna Capri who can notch her third career win by beating Greens in the Sophomore 1,000. It appears David Nieuwenhuizen’s sprinter has received a 14-point penalty for running fourth in the Gardenia Handicap raising her figure to 110.
Though they will meet at level weights in Saturday’s race, it means Greens will receive 6kg from Anna Capri if they meet next time in a handicap.
Spies’s filly Sweet Sensation can earn a cheque in the Sophomore and the stable also has chances in the first race (Spartan Warrior), third (Impressive Duchess) and Valetorio in the first leg of the Pick 6.
It will be interesting to see how Sean Tarry’s well-bred four-year-old Namaqualand fares in his comeback run in the fourth race. After an impressive maiden win at Kenilworth, the son of Trippi was priced up at 14-1 for a race on Met day and this columnist was getting ready to fire. Unfortunately, he was injured before the race and has been sidelined since.
If support arrives for Namaqualand, his rivals — including The Contractor, Money Fighter, Valetorio and Panama Kid — may have to be at the top of their game to beat him.
1st Race: (1) Bella Black (18) Rose Willow (2) Sabrina Fairchild (3) Meet The Captain
2nd Race: (17) Spartan Warrior (16) Raisetheredlantern (4) Jet Cat (6) In Abundance
3rd Race: (6) Sweet Future (7) Glowtoria (9) Impressive Duchess (3) Varina
4th Race: (7) Namaqualand (2) The Contractor (9) Money Fighter (14) Panama Kid
5th Race: (2) Gimmethegoahead (8) Forever Light (7) Florida Keys (1) Purple Panther
6th Race: (6) Anna Capri (7) Greens (8) Sweet Sensation (2) Captain Morisco
7th Race: (9) What You Are (13) Oscar Wilde (3) Rouge Allure (11) Spanish Boy
8th Race: (8) Dark Tide (9) Push Off (2) Rock The Globe (3) Kayla's Champ
9th Race: (5) Loving The Victory (1) Making A Scene (3) Wherestheregold (13) Wedding Bliss
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