The Grand Heritage, which was scheduled to be run at the Vaal on Saturday, has finally been abandoned as a race and has been transformed into the World Sports Betting Grand Series.
It was apparent following a track inspection on Monday that the Vaal course would not be quite ready for the race meeting so it therefore became necessary to move the event to Turffontein. Unfortunately, Turffontein cannot accommodate a 28-horse field so it was decided to split the field into two races.
The two races will now be called the World Sports Betting Grand Series Leg 1 and 2, both run over 1475m.
The winners of the two races will qualify for a match race early in December at the Vaal to determine who carries the title of Series Champion.
Favourite for the original race, Mardi Gras, has stood his ground and is now carded to run in Leg 2 for which he is now the 16-10 favourite. Gavin Lerena takes the ride on the Johan Janse van Vuuren-trained runner but the one concern is that he is drawn No 11, not great on the Turffontein Inside track. Having said that, Mardi Gras comes from off the pace and is likely to be dropped out in any case. He has won his only race at the course.
Trainer Geoff Woodruff, no doubt, will be delighted with the move as he saddles 11-2 second favourite Zouaves who has raced four times on the track for three wins and a two-length third behind Puget Sound. In addition, he has landed an ideal No 3 draw. Chase Maujean rides.
He looks great value at the price and is the selection to win this event from Mardi Gras.
Janse van Vuuren and Lerena have had better luck in Race 7 (Leg 1) where they team up with Divine Odyssey. He is drawn No 3 and is quoted as the 7-2 favourite.
However, this race looks wide open and there could be very good value if one goes along with Lake Kinneret. His last race is one of the most impressive form lines in field as he ran in a Pinnacle Stakes won by Africa Rising who would probably be favourite if he ran in this event. Lake Kinneret finished fifth, beaten just 1.80 lengths.
The average merit rating for that race was 97 while for this event it is 89. He is beautifully drawn at No 4 and has one of the best jockeys in the country aboard in Richard Fourie.
Lake Kinneret is owned trained by St John Gray and his yard is in good form currently.
Another runner with decent form is Sean Tarry-trained Purple Diamond. He was a top two-year-old and won a Grade 2 race at Greyville with Nooresh Juglall up. The son of Var is showing improvement again after losing his form and must be rated with a chance in an open race.
Soldier On is second favourite at 5-1 along with Chepardo, both of whom have decent form and must come into contention.