Gary Player-bred Vars Vicky changes route to Turffontein
Vars Vicky — taken out of a race at the Vaal on Tuesday — will be in action in the eighth race at Turffontein on Thursday. The Gary Player-bred three-year-old looks certain to start a hot favourite.
The change of venue may be a shrewd move by trainer Stuart Pettigrew as he ducked a clash with Mill Queen, who ran out a comfortable winner at the Free State track.
Vars Vicky will be taking on his elders at the city track and they include Mike de Kock’s four-year-old Battle Of Trafalgar. The son of Captain Al is a three-time winner and ran second behind stablemate Risk Taker last time out.
Callan Murray, who rode a double on Tuesday, knows the gelding well and, though not as well drawn as Vars Vicky, rates the main danger to Pettigrew’s runner.
Spring Break, a R1.8m buy as a yearling, won in good style on the Turffontein inner track in January and — back in handicap company — should be in the mix in the hands of this season’s leading jockey, Lyle Hewitson.
Captain Hindsight and Russian Prince are two others with each-way chances, particularly the latter who is 5kg better off with Vars Vicky compared to their recent clash.
Hewitson will be hoping Sean Tarry’s lightly raced four-year-old Namaqualand can get his act together and run well in the sixth race. The Trippi gelding has been slowly away on his last two outings so needs to get away on terms this time.
Most of Namaqualand’s rivals are in reasonable form including Alec Laird’s four-year-old August Rain, who ran a creditable third behind Kingsley’s Heart last time out. That winner is in the nine-horse line-up for Saturday’s Gauteng Guineas.
Luke Ferraris was in the saddle when Call Me Master won his maiden race over the course and distance in November so it is no surprise Gary Alexander has called up the Met winning jockey to partner the Capetown Noir gelding once again. The four-year-old warrants inclusion in all exotic bets.
Dubawi Princess, Persica and Rise As One are likely to corner most of the money in the seventh race, but it might be worth chancing an each-way bet on the lightly weighted Capitiana.
The apprentice claim of Joshwin Solomons will reduce Capitiana’s weight to just 49.5kg and the filly’s merit-rating has plummeted from 84 to 65.
Willow Magic has made a bright start to his stud career and his daughter, Dubawi Princess, was given an excellent ride by Hewitson to score at the Vaal in January. The handicapper gave her a three-point penalty for that win so she rates as one of the leading contenders.
Candice Dawson has a strong hand in the first leg of the jackpot in which she saddles Storm Commander and the hat-trick-seeking Banha Bridge. The first-named — another good mount for Luke Ferraris — takes a drop in class and could chalk up the second win of his career.
Recent maiden winner Shadow Creek ventures into handicap company for the first time and has the advantage of a favourable draw. In contrast, all of Waqaas, El Romiachi and Secret Dynasty have wide barriers to overcome.
1st Race: (1) Eskimo Pie (7) Miss Venezuela (11) The Bomb Dotcom (2) OwnYourfate
2nd Race: (10) Golden Spoon (1) Say When (2) Ms Flower Power (5) Bright Eyed Girl
3rd Race: (1) Shivers (3) Heart Stwings (4) Sidonie (5) Spice Market
4th Race: (5) Sparkling Water (9) Perfect Angel (3) Kay Tee Perry (4) Fire Flower
5th Race: (8) Storm Commander (7) Banha Bridge (2) El Romiachi (5) Shadow Creek
6th Race: (7) August Rain (6) Namaqualand (1) Elusive Force (3) Crank It Up
7th Race: (12) Capitiana (6) Dubawi Princess (4) Persica (5) Rise As One
8th Race: (6) Vars Vicky (5) BattleofTrafalgar (7) Spring Break (8) Russian Prince
9th Race: (8) The Brass Way (2) Governors Glory (3) In For A Penny (1) Romeo’s Magic
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