On the surface every runner looks to have a chance but perhaps if one makes the odd assumption to eliminate a few options, one eventually can bring it down to just four horses who could fight it out.
Top weight is the Mike de Kock-trained Mercurial Brave, who clearly has ability but who also appears to have some ailments. In virtually all of his races he has reported to be making a respiratory noise but lately has also pulled up distressed. Three runs back he scored his third victory, easily beating Mountain Master by 2.75 lengths, and he followed up with a 7.25-length eighth behind Master Sabina in a Grade 2 event which is essentially the Durban July Consolation race over 2200m, but his last start was diabolical. He raced over 1800m at Scottsville and trailed in almost 20 lengths behind True Master.
This will be his first attempt at racing on the Polytrack and might produce some improvement but it would need to be almost miraculous for Mercurial Brave to win this so he could be left out.
Beewithmee Is also having his first run on the course but despite his decent recent form, Duncan Howells’ charge is likely to find this distance too short as he has been campaigning over 2400m and upwards. So perhaps he can also be overlooked.
Money Doesn’t Count has produced his best form over 1400m and looks held by Caribbean Day so he is another who could be ignored.
On the other side of the coin there was a lot to like about the manner in which De La Danza performed in his first start on the track last time out. He ran in a MR 93 Handicap and finished a 2.75-length second behind Bold Inspiration.
The Ivan Moore-trained runner takes a drop in class and will have no problem with the distance. He is well drawn at No 3 and will have the services of Kevin Shea.
Patriotic Rebel finished 1.75 lengths behind De La Danza in the race won by Bold Inspiration so Alec Laird’s charge, who is now 1kg better, must also come into the reckoning. He will be ridden by Anton Marcus this time and jumps from barrier No 2.