Gavin Smith always seems to be in form, but lately he has been having a particularly good run, with a first-three strike rate of more than 37% over the last 28 days making him the “hottest” of the merry band of trainers at Fairview.
Smith looks likely to improve on those stats at Tuesday’s meeting on the PE Polytrack, saddling decent chances in most of the eight races.
His brightest prospect might be the comically named Agrademarmalade in Race 1, a Maiden Juvenile Plate over 1200m. This colt has reeled off three successive second places and will be at short odds to go one better this time.
Lyle Hewitson, chasing his third champion jockey title, jumps him from pole position and should rack up another win.
Unraced filly Fiorenza has been marked up as the ante-post second favourite, but that might have more to do with bookmakers being gun-shy about the Allan Greeff-Greg Cheyne trainer-jockey combo than heavy betting support. Greeff has declared that Fiorenza “could run well if not green”.
The far more experienced Zacpack Assassin could be the one chasing Agrademarmalade home.
Race 5, an MR74 Handicap over 2200m, is one of several trappy affairs and punters with deep pockets will be inclined to take the field in the Pick 6.
One horse no-one can afford to leave out, though, is Smith’s Reef Knot, who has delivered a win and a second in his two local runs since transferring from Candice Bass-Robinson’s Cape Town stables. He looks like the sort of horse who’ll thrive in the abundance of Eastern Cape staying races.
Smith’s regular jockey Marco van Rensburg partnered him both times locally and gets back aboard.
Mojito Magic is another who has done well since moving to the pleasant surroundings of Greenbushes – from Dennis Bosch’s Summerveld yard. The sprinter hasn’t finished out of the first three in six runs since the beginning of December and looks unlikely to despoil that record when he tackles a MR68 Handicap over the minimum trip.
Van Rensburg rides Mojito Magic, as he does What A Cracker in the eighth and last race on the programme – a 1300m MR67 Handicap that is another head-scratcher for punters.
The latter could face a challenge from stablemate Atkinson Grimshaw, who’ll be ridden by Hewitson, as well as from I Love Mambo and Wangan Midnight.
1 Agrademarmalade, 6 Zacpack Assassin, 2 Aquaholic, 7 Fiorenza
7 Africa’s Rock, 2 Al Qaasim, 1 Ownyourfate, 3 Livingstone
2 Mesmerising Moon, 7 Madam Seville, 10 Dancing Girl, 9 Orferd’s Flash
3 Prince Alf, 2 Hikaru, 13 South Sandwich, 1 Pacific Duke
2 Reef Knot, 9 Imperious Duke, 1 Arion Express, 6 Super Noir
10 Purple And Gold, 2 Mary Lee, 1 Mifid Two, 5 Close To My Heart
2 Mojito Magic, 10 Spanish Fort, 3 Pluviophile, 9 The Carpenter
3 What A Cracker, 6 I Love Mambo, 11 Wangan Midnight, 5 Atkinson Grimshaw
2 x 3 x 1,2,3,6,7,9 x 1,2,5,7,10,14 x 1,2,3,4,6,9,10 x 3,4,5,6,8,11 (R1512)
7 x 2 x 3 x 1,2,9 x 1,2,10 x 2,10 x 3,6 (R36)