It is always worth having a bet on a winner without a penalty and that is the case in Race 5 on the Vaal Classic track today when Querari Viking lines up in a Maiden Plate for three-year-olds over 1450m.
There is not much to explain but in case people have forgotten Querari Viking won Race 1 at Turffontein on 3 September but an objection by second-placed Nordic Storm proved successful and that decision caused massive protests. At an inquiry held last week the decision was accepted as being incorrect by the Inquiry Board but they are in no position to reverse the result.
So Querari Viking remains a maiden but looks set to shed that tag in a field he should be able to get the better of. There is, however, one change. In an interesting move Adriaan and Rika van Vuuren, owners of Nordic Storm, have since purchased Querari Viking and the gelding has moved from Ormond Ferraris to Mike Azzie.
With Anthony Delpech aboard this time and No 2 draw, it could be a case of the Van Vuuren’s being on the winning end of both runs.
Querari Viking has run against some top horses, including Unagi, who beat Samurai Blade in a Graduation Plate last time.
The main danger could come from Sabre Dance who has run five times for three second places, a third and a fourth. He took a walk in the betting last time – drifting from 1-1 to 22-10 – when a 1.70-length fourth behind Midnight Racer over 1700m. He will enjoy the drop to 1450m. Gavin Lerena takes the ride.
Myfunnyvalentine won the Grade 3 Spring Spree Stakes over 1200m at Turffontein on the Inside track and looks the runner to beat again in Race 2, a Graduation Plate over 1200m. Sean Tarry’s charge and Hollie Point, trained by Alec Laird, are the two best handicapped runners and at the weights there is not much to choose between the pair.
Hollie Point ran fourth in the Spring Spree Stakes, beaten 2.50 lengths, and is now 2kg better off. That should still give the edge to Myfunnyvalentine who will now be ridden by Piere Strydom. The daughter of Captain Al is sure to have benefitted from that run and should improve further.
An interesting runner is South Atlantic from the Mike de Kock yard. This daughter of Horse Chestnut ran a 3.85-length fourth behind Modjadji on debut in December last year and then ran out a 3.50-length winner in January over 1400m at the Vaal. She has not run for 252 days and may well find 1200m too short, but Delpech takes the ride and one perhaps needs to keep an eye on the betting.