Today we celebrate the Royal Raceday at Turffontein with the running of the R1-million HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes over 1600m on the Standside track.
Racedays like these take me back to the good old times when people attended race meetings dressed to the nines. Even some of the jockeys make an extra effort, but as we have to get out of our smart attire and get into racing silks it probably does not make much of a difference.
The main race is a Grade 1 for some of the best fillies and mares in the county. As it is run at weight-for-age terms the best handicapped runner should have the best advantage. This race looks ideally made for Nother Russia. She won this race last year and not only is she the highest rated horse but also jumps from pole position. She should be a banker in all bets.
The main danger on form is Cascapedia but as she is coming off a rest, has a bad draw and runs over a distance short of her best, all that should make Nother Russia even a better bet.
I’m riding Gimme Six who has a place chance but looks held by Silvan Star.
All three met in a Pinnacle Stakes at the Vaal on 24 March where Silvan Star beat Gimme Six with Nother Russia third. However, on that occasion Mike de Kock’s charge was reputed to be in need of the run which she proved to be correct in her next start when a neck second to Legal Eagle in the Horse Chestnut Stakes over 1600m at this course.
We start the meeting with a Juvenile Plate and my first selection is Van Halen who is already a winner, while everybody else has yet to win a race. Unfortunately he shows some issues every time he runs so consider Lady Jackson and Over Sharing as the dangers if things go wrong for Van Halen.
There are some unraced horses of which to take note, in particular De Kock-trained Barahin who has attracted betting support and has been nominated to run in the Grade 2 SA Nursery on Champions Day.
Race 2 is a Pinnacle Stakes and Exquisite Touch looks a hard horse to beat. She is very well handicapped and looks a winning bet.
Movie Show could be the horse to chase her home and could supply some value especially for Place, Swinger and Trifecta bets.
Race 3 is a Maiden Plate sponsored by Princess Charlene and it is rare for us to race in a Maiden Plate for R250 000 in prize money. Unfortunately it is over 1400m so the draw eliminates quite a few horses as it is hard to negate a wide draw when we start right on the bend.
Taking form and draws into account my selections are Hafla, Delphine, Two Guns and Flexible Fugitive. Pick three of those for the Place Accumulator or maybe because it is such a difficult race, go with all four.
I ride Bosphorus who is coming off a short rest and unfortunately he had a hiccup before leading up to today’s race and may possibly be in need of the run.
Race 4 is another Maiden Plate sponsored by Princess Charlene and my selections on form unfortunately all have shocking draws to overcome. They are Silvez, Kentucky Blue and Tia but she is unlikely to get into the final field.
Because of the draw for the PA you should consider Tortola, Dunas Douradas and probably Silvez who, with a bit of luck, can overcome her poor draw. For the Pick 6 include all of those mentioned and perhaps add in Kindavar who has a good draw.
I ride Kick Butt who is held on form and has a wide draw to overcome.
Race 5 is a fillies’ race and it seems quite difficult to find a winner but I’ve cut it down to Oh My Darling, Jet Star and Being Fabulous. Pick two for the PA and include all in the Pick 6.
Race 6 is another race for fillies and here Dame Kelly has been running in feature races and looks the filly they will all have to beat. The dangers look to be Regal Graduation, Circle Of Latitude and Insignis. Put all four into the Pick 6 and take Dame Kelly and Insignis in the PA.
Race 8 is the Listed Spook Express Handicap for fillies and mares with the main contenders being Witchcraft, Emerald Bay, Patchit Up Baby and Tambalang. Pick out of those for the PA, as many as you want and for the Pick 6 take all of them and add in Bondiblu, Royal Utopia, Parisienne Chic and Arte.
Race 9 is another Handicap where my first selection on form is Shogun. Unfortunately he has a wide draw to overcome and therefore Star Of Joburg could be a huge danger.
Others to consider are Blazing Winter, Infamous Fox, Galactic Warrior, Zerodarkthirty and Jika, if he takes his place as he ran on Thursday.
For the PA go with Shogun, Star Of Joburg and Blazing Winter and put them all in the Pick 6. Race 10 is a handicap and again, as it is over 1400m, you need to consider the draws.
On form my first choice is Pachuco but he ran on Thursday and may not take part. So I will go with Bubbly Reply, Hyperactive, and Time To Be Great who unfortunately has a wide draw.
I ride Hungry Heart who also has a bad draw and she’s taking on the colts so I’m hoping for a place.