Bill Prestage does not have many horses in his yard but still remains one of the shrewdest trainers around.
He can start off the new season on a winning note when Red Peril lines up for Race 7 at Durbanville today to contest a MR 84 Handicap over 2000m. It always helps when a horse has shown form at this course because it does not suit many horses. Red Peril has run four times at the venue and although he is yet to notch up a win, he has finished second on two occasions.
In fact, his last start was over 2400m at Durbanville and he was beaten just a neck by Charlie Strong to whom he was conceding 6kg. Charlie Strong will be in action in Race 8, also over 2000m, and looks to be one of the best bets on the card.
Craig du Plooy has built up a good rapport with this six-year-old son of Western Winter but on this occasion Prestage has chosen to go with apprentice Bandon May. That might be because his runner takes a leap in class and he may very well have wanted may’s 2.5kg claim to level the playing fields.
As a result of allowance Red Peril will come in carrying 53kg and that should make him most competitive.
Justin Snaith saddles Captain Splendid who will have a lot of support. He is the highest rated runner and will carry top weight. He did win the East Cape Derby over 2400m at Fairview, beating Welsh Emperor who is probably not at his best over that distance.
However, he has two things against him. The son of Captain Al has been running over further and would probably prefer a little further. The second concern is that he has not yet raced at Durbanville and one can only guess whether he will like the course.
He does have the services of Richard Fourie in the irons and that will enhance his chances.
Jeremy has won two of his last four races and in between that he ran in the Grade 3 Winter Classic over 1800m which was won by Vodacom Durban July runner-up Marinaresco. Greg Ennion’s charge was no match for the winner but he appears to have some ability. He also has not had a run at Durbanville but his record over the distance is excellent with two wins and two seconds from four starts.
This will be the first meeting that Candice Robinson will have her name in the race card as an official trainer. She takes over from her dad, Mike Bass, and could have her first winner in Race 3 where she saddles two runners – Come On Sonny and Desert Wisdom. Come On Sonny has only raced once and looks likely to improve while Desert Wisdom ran on well last time to finish fourth at Durbanville. With that run under his belt he could go close.