Trainer Paul Matchett is in the best form of his long and distinguished career, having taken a chance buying a batch of young horses by an unproven stallion that have since blossomed into stars.
Hot on the heels of War Of Athena’s Triple Tiara and Woolavington Stakes triumphs f0r Matchett and patrons Roy Wentzel and Dr Rose Waterman-Wentzel, came this past weekend’s remarkable victory by Battle Force in the Grade 1 Golden Horse Sprint at Scottsville.
The warm glow of success could reach all the way to the Vaal racecourse on Tuesday when Matchett saddles 10 runners on the programme – most notably the smart handicapper Tyrus Express in Race 6, an MR96 Handicap over 2000m.
War Of Athena and Battle Force are by Act Of War, a stallion of the moment in South African racing, whereas Tyrus Express’s dad is the rather less fashionable Marchfield. However, his parentage hasn’t stopped five-year-old Tyrus Express from racking up four wins and 10 places and collecting a merit rating of 94.
The gelding is clearly as tough as teak as he has been campaigning for many months – seldom finishing out of the money – and appears to be finding another form peak right now.
Last time out he was a 1.50-length behind the progressive Dr Doolittle, a sometime Durban July entrant. Matchett regular Muzi Yeni rode him that day and does so again, from a handy inside draw. A course-and-distance win on Tyrus Express’s form line will be a clincher for some punters seeking a Pick 6 banker.
Six well-performed opponents are ranged against Matchett’s horse, with Nebraas and Romeo’s Magic the main dangers and the additions to more conservative permutations.
Matchett does have an Act Of War sprog competing at the Vaal, two-year-old colt Angel Of War who could follow up a good third-place debut with a win in Race 2.
1 Swingthewillow, 9 Master Archie, 3 Lulu’s Boy, 2 Jet Cat
11 William Robertson, 1 Angel Of War, 4 Dyce, 8 Mr Livingston
9 Icy Night, 4 Cocoa Hill, 12 Passion Fantacy, 5 Country Flame
9 Miss Magician, 8 French Joy, 3 Quick Run, 2 Smelting
4 Emerald Crest, 12 Allez Le Bleu, 1 Greens, 2 Glowtoria
2 Tyrus Express, 7 Romeo’s Magic, 6 Nebraas, 4 Trend Master
3 Big City Girl, 5 Fantasy Flower, 2 Putins Promise, 9 Sheltering Sky
2 After Hours, 5 Feather The Nest, 10 Bridge Of Spies, 8 Eastbrook
3,4,5,8,9,11,12 x 2,3,8,9 x 4 x 2 x 2,3,4,5,9 x 1,2,4,5,7,8,10 (R980)
1,4,11 x 4,9,12 x 9 x 4 x 2 x 2,3,5 x 2,5,8,10 (R108)