It’s not often that we don’t have a weekend meeting on the Highveld but sometimes we need to look at the bigger picture and give the smaller racecourses a chance. So today it is Flamingo Park who will have the prime weekend spot.
Even though it is a minor centre there still is horseracing with betting and therefore an opportunity to make some money. As is so often the case when studying form, you generally have to follow your local horses. Sand racing is different to turf racing and it helps to follow horses who have proven form on the course. Horses with a lot of speed seem to suit the track conditions as on the sand it’s been proven time-and-time again you seldom can win coming from a long way back.
They go very fast in general which common sense tells you sounds wrong because horses who come from behind usually benefit from a fast pace because the runners in front tend to tire.
I’ve got my views but it would be interesting to see if anybody else has an opinion which differs. I have three reasons for this. Firstly, it is difficult to make up ground on a soft track. If you run on the beach at the water’s edge where the sand is wet, it is easy to keep your footing and keep up a good pace because the sand is firmer. But as you move up the beach to where the sand is loose and your feet sink in, it becomes more difficult to catch up with someone.
My second thought is that the amount of kickback they get could act as an inhibitor as it is not something the horses and jockeys will enjoy. Can you imagine the force at which that sand hits you in the face?
My third point is that the horses in front create divots so while they run on a smooth surface, those coming from behind have to deal with the pockmarked surface, again making it more difficult.
Naturally when you get visiting trainers raiding a track it makes it difficult to compare form. Some of their horses will take to the sand and others will not. A trainer who brings up horses to Flamingo Park will generally look at horses who work well on the sand track in the mornings.
Kom Naidoo has a number of runners and in the past he seems to have found the right formula for the track as he has regularly had winners at Flamingo Park.
We will try and run through the card and give punters a few pointers.
Race 1 is for work riders where the main runners are Savage Garden, Exclusive and So Vain. The unknown factor could be Betty Davis who is having her first run on the surface.
Race 2 is over 1300m which is around the turn so combine form and draw and therefore I am leading towards Quantity with the dangers coming from Naidoo’s Roy’s Taxi and Deep Down Rebel.
Race 3 is the first leg of the Place Accumulator and is also around the turn so consider Northern Storm, Alraune and Lady Bok. You do need to go a bit wide as there are others with chances as well.
Race 4 as the start of the carryover Pick 6 with R500,000 kicking off the pool which is expected to reach R1.6 million. My first selection is Assisted Take Off but unfortunately he was well beaten last time and also has a bad draw so for that reason include Grizzard in the Place Accumulator. If you want to go wider in the Pick 6 look at Nice Chap, Wealthsmith and the dark horse, Prince Of Damage.
Race 5 is a fillies’ handicap which often can produce upsets but Pulcheria looks a Place Accumulator banker. Her form is strong, she is drawn No 1 and as a young three-year-old filly she could still show improvement.
For the Pick 6 include Royal Kaitrina
In Race 6 my two main selections are Sea Bean and Town Flyer and they should be fine for the Place Accumulator. For the Pick 6 consider all of Seattle Wonder, Speed Monitor, Razzle My Tazzle and the horses who are under sufferance but have chances – Skyfire, Rockefeller and Warrior’s Stone.
Race 7 is the RA Flamingo Mile and my main selections are Notacademicatall, Ahead Of Traffic and Just Ask Me. Those three should be good enough for the Place Accumualtor. For the Pick 6 include Red Special, Trading Profit, Dodgy Itie, Seattle Sunset, Bongo Dance and Joey Piper.
Race 8 is the Betting World Sprint and my possible banker on the day is Roquebrune. Unfortunately he does carry 63kg so if you want, include Rock A Bye Baby and Turbo as back-up in the Pick 6.
Race 9 is a handicap with my selection being Timkat who is a possible Place Accumulator and Pick 6 banker. I would banker him in the PA but for the Pick 6 you could add Brookie and Tuscan.