If the expression “the smaller the field, the bigger the upset” is true, there is lots of money to be made at the Vaal today.
The reason for that saying is because invariably one gets a false pace in a small field and that often leads to some extraordinary results. A perfect example of this is Race 2, a MR 79 Handicap for fillies and mares over 2000m on the Vaal Classic course.
Only seven runners are carded to go to post and on paper, Coby stands out in this field. She has beaten the boys on more than one occasion and comes from the in-form Gary Alexander yard. In addition Andrew Fortune is in the irons and he is, as they say, in the zone right now. With only one month of the new season gone Fortune has already ridden 26 winners and is eight clear of Randall Simons.
Doing a little bit of maths, if he can continue at that rate he will have ridden more than 300 winners by season’s end which would be something of a South African record.
Coby, however, would probably prefer a little further and if she is to win this event she will need a fast pace. Fortunately Alexander has put another runner in this event and one would imagine he will use Mighty Kahal to set the race up for his more fancied mare.
Ironically, her lone victory has come over this course and distance in a work riders’ race and with apprentice Mpumelelo Mjoka claiming 4kg, this four-year-old will have just 48kg on her back.
That could leave opposing riders in a bit of a quandary. If they chase Mighty Kahal and hope she will stop they could be playing into Fortune’s hands. If they let her go, she could end up getting a soft lead and could prove hard to catch.
On form, however, the runner best set up to beat Coby is Parisienne Chic. In the race won by American Story over 2000m on the Turffontein Standside course, St John Gray’s runner finished second, 1.45 lengths ahead of Coby and is only 0.5kg worse off. Simons, who is another jockey riding at the top of his game, is in the irons and will not make life easy for Fortune.
Bright Bronte is another who has won over the course and distance but she has raced in lower rated races. However, she is in good form and is at her best over this sort of distance. Chase Maujean is another who has been riding well and he is aboard Joey Soma’s charge.
Laurel Cherry and Angelic Appeal look best of the rest.