Nother Russia has been out of action for 245 days but this beautifully bred daughter of Tiger Ridge can extend her winning run to three when she lines up in Race 6 at the Vaal today, a MR 80 handicap for fillies and mares over 1600m on the Outside track.
She is out of that top mare, Mother Russia, who had no problem taking on and beating the boys. Nother Russia ran two second places before she managed her first victory and that was a facile 5.40-length beating of Tricia Dupont over this course and distance.
Her next race was over 1800m on the Inside track at Turffontein and while the records show she only beat Snowdonia by 0.75 lengths, Nother Russia had a lot more in hand than the margin suggests.
That was on 31 March and trainer Mike de Kock will have used the time to let the filly grow and if close to peak fitness she will take a lot of beating over what appears to be her favourite course and distance.
Craig Zackey has ridden Nother Russia in all four of her starts and he is back aboard today.
The best-performed runner is Inaninstant from the Sean Tarry yard. She won the Listed oaks Trial over 2000m at Turffontein and has raced in the Grade 2 Gerald Rosenberg over the same course and distance and the Grade 3 Yellowwood Handicap over 1800m at Turffontein. She did not perform well in the last two races but she is dropping in class.
She will also get a 4kg off her back as apprentice Mpumelelo Mjoka claims that allowance. The one concern is she might find this straight 1600m a touch short.
The opposite is true of Bajan Fantasy who has won twice in four starts over the course and distance. This Gary Alexander-trained runner actually performed better than both Inaninstant and Angelic Appeal in the Yellowwood Handicap and is likely to prefer this drop in trip as well. More importantly Gavin Lerena is in the irons and it is hard to leave him out of anything right now.
Samurai Blade is carded to run Race 5, a Novice Plate over 1600m, and if he takes his position he will be very hard to beat. The problem he ran in the Sansui Summer Cup last Saturday and there is a question as to whether Tarry wants to run him so soon after the big race. He is probably the highest rated one-time winner in the country and has certainly not run up to his current merit rating of 100.
Samurai Blade finished 16th in the Summer Cup, 30.60 lengths behind Master Sabina and his rating has come down to 95.