As the final leg of the Work Riders’ Challenge is taking place at Turffontein this weekend, I’m riding in Port Elizabeth.
After Saturday’s meeting I will be taking two weeks off as I have been struggling with a minor injury, but I’m not looking to make a small problem big.
My next meeting back will be the Scottsville Festival Of Speed and hopefully I will be fresh when I return.
I’m not a regular rider in PE so I am not in a position to interpret the form properly. I have asked for help from a very knowledgeable friend in the city.
However, I have had a good look at the Turffontein card. I have to comment on what a great incentive the work riders’ competition has been over the years as not only does it give the guys a chance to show their talent and make some extra money but in general the work riding at track in the mornings must have benefited the racing industry enormously.
It is a very difficult meeting as they are all Maiden Plates and to be fair, most of the races have very poor quality horses running.
Riders like Samuel Mosia, Francis Semela and Goodman Dadamasi know what they are doing and it could pay to follow the leading riders. As the races are very difficult the best plan of action is to play a Place Accumulator. I will give you an outline of my thoughts and you add in whatever else you may fancy.
In Race 2 the unraced runner, Double Tap, is meeting a very weak field and any money for him could indicate he is the horse to beat. The others to consider are Bono and Bravo Zulu.
In Race 3 I’m leaning towards Gotoluvher and Playing Games.
Hope Solo ran a cracker at the Vaal on Thursday and if she does run in Race 4 she must be considered. The others to put in are Subtle Force and Half A Bar.
I know Houston Rocket needed his run two starts back. He is a weak horse but is getting stronger with each run and the fact the Mike Azzie yard is in form makes him the horse to beat in Race 5.
His danger is Ohio, who even though well beaten last time, was in a strong maiden and was badly drawn.
Race 6 has a possible banker in Lainsberg Blue as he has only had one run and could improve a lot. He seemed to tire quite badly at the finish last time which is a concern. The main danger looks to be Swing Vote and maybe Play Misty For Me.
The main horses in Race 7 are Lady Lucinda and Cinnamon Slew but you could also consider Passion from a good draw.
The last race looks a match between Eurythmics and Phillydelphia. I rode Eurythmics last time and she is too fast for herself but as she is getting stronger with each run in this quality of field she has to fight out the finish.
As far as Saturday’s meeting at Fairview is concerned, this is what I have been told by my friend.
Race 1 is for work riders and it looks very difficult but the selections are, in order, Kirinia, Wise Whisper, Run For Your Life and Battersea Bridge.
Precious Pansy won a feature race on debut and looks the runner to beat in Race 2. Queen Forever looks the main danger with Lawdy Miss Clawdy and Three Times A Lady Quartet hopefuls. My mount, Queen Forever, has the ability to win but we will have it all to do from No 14 draw over this 1400m.
Gizmo ran on strongly in his last race over 1400m and just went down to Angkor Watt, who looks a better performer than Stokvel, Gizmo’s main rival in Race 3. Those are the two for the first leg of the Place Accumulator.
Others to consider are Silver Blade and Time Travel.
My ride, Acaciawood, has good form against stronger in Cape Town and could be the first choice in Race 4. Star Burst Galaxy is the best handicapped runner and is 5.5kg better off with Easy Street for a two-length defeat. They should be good enough for both the PA and Pick 6.
La Rebel is distance suited and with just 50kg to carry could be upset material.
Normanz is currently in good form and although probably better over 1000m, the tailwind today will help him. He holds almost the entire field on form and is a banker in all bets.
Fort Winter won the East Coast Nursery as a maiden and should continue to improve. He is 2kg better off with runner-up Scared Oration in Race 6, the Listed Epol Dahlia Plate over 1200m, and is the runner to beat. Seattle Flame ran third in the Nursery and must also be considered. Those are the choices for both the PA and Pick 6.
The best outsider in the field could be Joking. Although a filly and still a maiden she has run behind some good horses and, with just 52.5kg to carry, could be competitive.
Race 7 is the Listed World Sports Betting East Cape Derby and the first choice is Strathdon, who won very well last time. However, the word from the Western Cape is that Dorset Noble is very useful and the Candice Bass-Robinson yard is full of confidence. Those are the two for the PA.
Arabian Dynasty has form but looks held by Dorset Noble on their last run while En Gee Oh could be the best of the local horses. Add them into your Pick 6.
There is respect for Sabre Charge but it is a long road trip from KwaZulu-Natal to Port Elizabeth and the travelling is a concern.
Fortissimus won the Listed East Cape Oaks over 2000m beating a very good filly in Beataboutthebush. She’s coming back in trip to 1600m in Race 8 but that is not too much of a concern. The biggest danger is Crackpot who will be very competitive with a 4kg claimer on top. Those are the two Place Accumulator runners but add Kissimmee and Black Kitten into the Pick 6.
Race 9 looks the hardest on the card and you need to go wide in both bets. The choice in order of preference is Stratocruiser, Frederick Fox, Green Lantern and Warrior Poet. Put all four into the PA but also include Rebel House. For the Pick 6 add Trees Of Green.