Welcome to the Plate

The top rated runners in Assessment Plates – which so far have been a boon to bettors – at Vaal look hard to oppose as bankers.

We have seen a couple of Assessment Plates over the last couple of meetings and so far few punters can have any complaints. The “good things” have won and although they started at short prices they have provided bettors with solid bankers in all the exotics.

One can hopefully expect much of the same at the Vaal today where two Assessment Plates are being run and although they might not be as cut and dried as the previous ones, the respective fancied runners should still be fighting out the finish. As they are in Races 5 and 6 they will be included in the BiPot, Place Accumulator, Pick 6 and Jackpot and in that regard, the first one in particular, which is over 1200m, should assist punters.

Sean Tarry saddles Bien Venue, French for welcome, who looks above average and is the runner they all have to beat. This son of Fort Wood won on debut over this course and distance in which he beat Deerupt by 1.70 lengths. The runner-up came out to win at Turffontein on Saturday but more impressive is that in his next two starts, Bien Venue twice ran third to Mike de Kock’s star juvenile, Soqrat.

He is the best handicapped runner, but only by 1kg from Rule The Night. However, on a line through Soqrat, Bien Venue should have the edge.

The other danger could be Gunston who improved when fitted with blinkers. However, based on times, and as they will race at level weights, Bien Venue looks to have his number as well.

That should make Tarry’s runner a banker in all bets but some people may wish to cover with the other two. 

Race 6 is over 1400m and in this case the only filly in the race, Strawberry Pavlova, is the best handicapped runner. She is 1.5kg better off with Daffiq, who is now with Gorkhan Terzi and will be having his first race since May.

This daughter of Call To Combat, on the other hand, is fit and ideally distance suited. She is one of three St John Gray runners and will be ridden by Warren Kennedy, who was aboard when she finished a 1.20-length second to Be Fabulous.

Daffiq has the class to win this race and it is interesting that Terzi has engaged Piere Strydom for the ride.

Ashley Fortune saddles Tsitsikamma Dance who is the third-best weighted runner. He finished just 3.10 lengths behind unbeaten Rainbow Bridge in the Grade 3 Winter Guineas so he must have a chance if he produces his best form but often the horses up from the Cape need a run.

For the Pick 6 the choice is simple. You either banker Strawberry Pavlova or you go with the field of seven horses.  

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