Old Em is the best-weighted runner in Race 6 at the Vaal tomorrow and if she improves on her recent comeback run from a four-month rest she could be hard to beat in this Conditions Plate for fillies and mares over 1200m.
Trainer Sean Tarry’s charge had only one run from last June to February, that when leading 400m out and finishing 14th and lame behind talented Green Pepper over 1160m at Turffontein in November.
She made her return to action on Thursday last week and showed good pace after a slow start. At the girth of winner Clever Guy for much of the way, she tired late and was beaten by 3.50 lengths over 1000m at the Vaal.
She will be ridden by 4kg claimer Mpumelelo Mjoka, who is picking up a few good rides from the Tarry stable, and the apprentice allowance could tip things in the favour of the daughter of Trippi.
Tarry could decide that this race is too soon for the lightly raced four-year-old filly and if she is withdrawn, then Mike de Kock trained three-year-old Dame Eleanor could capitalise.
De Kock has several horses with chances at this meeting. All, however, have serious rivals.
New Approach filly Dame Eleanor won her first two starts before finishing a close fifth behind Smiling Blue Eyes in the Grade 3 Fillies Mile on Summer Cup Day last November when she started favourite. She has not raced since, but looks above average.
Joan Ranger, Fort Ember and Penny Serenade are others to consider.
Other races on the card include a Progress Plate for fillies and mares, in which Weiho Marwing-trained Sensible Lover and De Kock runner Noor are the best weighted. Both come into the reckoning over this straight 1600m, Race 4 on the programme.
But Bi Pot from the Geoff Woodruff stable may be better than rated and gets the nod.
She has run only three times for two fourths and a win, returning from a short layoff on 4 February in a 1600m race on the Inside track at Turffontein and finding fair sorts Unagi, Shukamisa and Pagoda just a little too good.
My Friend Lee is not well treated by the conditions, but found the winning groove again over 1400m this month and likes this course.
Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained Cathedral County could provide good Eachway value in Race 5, a MR 80 Handicap over 1000m. She is in a competitive field but a line of form through Chief Sioux gives her a good chance of posting her third win in four career starts.
Mike Azzie-trained duo Isphan and Aussie Austin could threaten, with Fieldmarshal Fenix and Evening Breeze others to include.