The Champions Day betting bonanza is at hand and punters will want to build up a decent wager- ing pot ahead of Saturday’s big meeting. But it will not be easy at Turffontein tomorrow, with the public holiday card presenting plenty of challenges.
The positive flip side of a tough card is better-than-usual returns for those who can find the winners.
Most of the exotic bet races look very competitive and settling on a banker is essential for players who want to go as wide as possible in some legs.
A standout runner on the card is Awayinthewoods in Leg 1 of the Pick 6, Race 3, a Maiden Plate for fillies and mares over 1600m.
She is a two-year-old taking on older horses, which might scare o pundits who believe juveniles are seldom mature enough to beat their elders.
But trainer Paul Peter seems con dent Awayinthewoods can mix it in open company against fairly moderate opposition. Importantly, the daughter of Fort Wood gets a chunky 4kg weight advantage over the older fillies. Combine that with progressive form two third places in her only outings – and the case for Awayinthewoods is strong. Those thirds came in sprints and this week she goes 1600m, for which her pedigree is ideal.
In-form jockey Keagan de Melo, who partnered her in those races, stays in the irons and should know what’s needed to get the best out of her here.
Diva Faustina has delivered regular prizemoney over her 15 starts to date. She is overdue her first win, but sometimes handy- galloping horses of this type – for all their willingness – are shy to put a head in front when it comes to the crunch.
The highest-rated contest on the programme is Race 7, a MR 96 Handicap over 1200m. A handful of accomplished sprinters have been assembled, but most have performed indi erently of late, or have been rested.
The likes of Just As I Said, Professor Brian and Donny G would normally be to the fore of calculations, but they all carry lumps of weight.
Rebuked looks well-in and has a string of speedy showings in recent months. One negative for Stephen Moffatt’s charge is a No 9 draw, though a 12-horse eld hopefully means he will not be shuffled too far back in the running.
Golden Man has had hard luck lately but seems in good heart. With blinkers removed and partnered by Muzi Yeni – who’s done well on him before – in-form trainer Grant Maroun could spring a surprise.