The heavy rains of the week have forced to-morrow’s Turffontein Standside meeting to be moved to Sunday.
(For details see Page 8)The Grade 3 Tommy Hotspur Handicap over 1000m remains the feature race and half the run-ners met in the Lebelo Sprint at the end of last year.
As the two races are over the same course and distance, the outcome of the Lebelo Sprint is probably the best pointer, with the odd exception, to the winner of this event.
Rebel’s Champ won that race by 0.30 lengths from Prince Of Kahal with Rivarine third, beaten 1.90 lengths. Isphan (fourth), Great Shaka (fifth) and Donny G (sixth) will also line up again. Taking a look at the weights, the winner is up 2kg while Prince Of Kahal has been raised 1.5kg.
Rivarine runs off the same weight so the three of them are weighted to finish on top of one another.
Rebel’s Champ made the journey to Cape Town at the end of last month to run in the Grade 1 Cape Flying Championship over 1000m but finished unplaced.
However, the travelling up and down to the Cape could take its toll. Prince Of Kahal is very talent-ed but is undoubtedly a little better over 1200m although he has won over this trip.
That leaves Rivarine, who had a few problems when running in the Lebelo Sprint. He lost ground at the start, was cut into and was reported to have made a breathing noise.
He was one of the fastest finishers, and as Gavin Lerena has stuck with him, he could be the one to beat.
KwaZulu-Natal-based Red Chesnut Road makes the trip to Turff ontein and the fact the connections have engaged Piere Strydom for the ride, indicates they are expecting a big effort from the son of Pathfork.
Trained by the father and son team of Robbie and Shannon Hill, Red Chesnut Road looked to be a superstar in the making when he won his first two races by a combined total of 14 lengths.
However, he had a few issues which resulted in a break of more than eight months and although he did win a barrier trial, it was almost two-and-a-half years before the five-year-old gelding notched up his third win.
He has had a run at Turffontein which was in the Grade 3 Man O’ War Sprint over 1100m in 2017 in which he ran fourth.
He also has a very good record in so going which is undoubtedly in his favour given the likely conditions on the day.
Another runner to be considered is Exquisite Touch, whop finished a 1.50-length second behind Rebel’s Champ in a Pinnacle Stakes over the course and distance on 15 December.
She is 2.5kg be er off and Sean Tarry’s charge needs to be included in all bets. Lyle Hewitson takes the ride.