Picture: JEFF GRIFFITH/UNSPLASH
Picture: JEFF GRIFFITH/UNSPLASH

One thing is certain about Saturday’s meeting at Hollywoodbets Scottsville: Randjesfontein trainer Alec Laird will be taking a double with his raiders in the two feature races.

Like his legendary father, Syd Laird, who tickled up the bookies on more than a few occasions, Alec also likes a punt and will fancy his chances with Pamushana’s Pride (Track & Ball Derby) and Chitengo (Oaks).

Laird jnr has done superbly well in continuing the family dynasty. He was thrown in the deep end when his father died of a heart attack in 1988, but has been equal to the challenge.

His total of grade 1 wins must be nearing 20 and top horses he has handled include London News (epic win in Hong Kong), Crimson Waves, Malteme, Bezanova, Sacred Jungle and Smart Call.

According to bookmaker Lance Michael, the double of Pamushana’s Pride and Chitengo works out at 13-2.

A son of Louis The King, Pamushana’s Pride ran second (beaten five lengths) by Malmoos in the SA Derby and that may be good enough form to see him land this grade 3 event.

The Justin Snaith inmate Silver Host is rated six points inferior in merit-ratings but may pose a threat. His most recent effort was a fourth behind Black Knap in the Lonsdale Stirrup Cup.

The defection of Smiling Hot in the Oaks makes Chitengo's task easier though — on Aquanaut Handicap form — the filly had zip chance of turning the tables. It looks as if Warren Kennedy or his agent worked this out as he deserted Candice Dawson’s four-year-old in favour of Wendy Whitehead’s runner Keep On Dancing.

While this is Keep On Dancing’s toughest assignment to date, the Silvano filly has won four of her past five starts and could be the right one for the exacta with Chitengo. The one worry about the latter is that — albeit over 1,800m — she was beaten a long way by Puerto Manzini on her most recent outing.

Alyson Wright’s four-year-old Preferential has been priced up second favourite and the six-time winner was noted running on when four lengths behind She’s A Keeper on her latest start. Still, her merit-rating is 12 points inferior to that of Chitengo.

There is an intriguing newcomer in the first leg of the Pick 6 with the Snaith stable introducing the British-bred filly Different Face for her SA debut.

Formerly trained by Simon and Ed Crisford in the UK, Different Face won a five furlongs race at Lingfield in June 2020 and was also placed second in races at Goodwood, Chester and Yarmouth.

So — fit and well — the daughter of Exceed And Excel who was given a 78 rating by Timeform — can win Saturday’s Fillies & Mares Handicap with stablemates Travelling Light and Blush Of Dawn, possibly her toughest rivals.

Snaith’s comment in Winning Form is: “Speedy type, gallops have [been] good, each way chance.”

The fifth race — the Umlazi Pinnacle Stakes over 1,000m — can produce a tight finish with Vernichey, Traces, Constable and Valyrian King the four runners who make most appeal.

Aussie-bred five-year-old Traces was probably in need of the run when two lengths behind Ishnana at the Scottsville track last month and Peter Muscutt’s speedster can pose a threat to the favourite Vernichey.

Richard Fourie retains the ride on Constable and Candice Bass-Robinson’s sprinter warrants inclusion in both jackpot and Pick 6 perms.

If by the final race punters need to get out of jail, the suggestion is to support Lezanne Forbes’ runner Broadway. Bought by Suzette Viljoen for R1.3m, the Dynasty colt was practically drawn in another province when fourth behind Ellis Island last time out.

This time Sean Veale — the likely pilot of Rascallion in the Durban July — is better drawn than his chief rivals Parallax and Victory Twist.

Formerly with Lucky Houdalakis, Parallax has been expensive to follow but looks the right one for the exacta with Broadway. Interestingly, the three-year-old is also owned by Viljoen.

For those backers who like to take a treble, the suggestion is: Different Face (4th race) to win, Pamushana’s Pride (6th race) to win and Broadway (9th race) to place.

SELECTIONS

Track & Ball Derby

1 (1) Pamushana’s Pride

2 (2) Silver Host

3 (6) Legitimate

4 (9) Favour

Track & Ball Oaks

1 (9) Chitengo

2 (11) Keep On Dancing

3 (6) Preferential

4 (10) Silva Magic

Umlazi Pinnacle Stakes

1 (8) Traces

2 (12) Vernichey

3 (3) Constable

4 (4) Valyrian King

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