JACK MILNER
3 minute read
24 Jul 2013
7:19 pm

Cyclone Michelle, Strydom to whirl up a storm at Vaal

JACK MILNER

Cyclone Michelle looks quite a difficult mare to assess. She is a four-time winner and based on her last two starts, win No 5 cannot be too far away.

FILE PICTURE: South African champion jockey Piere Strydom.Picture: Supplied.

Two runs back she contested an open MR 86 Handicap for fillies and mares over 2600m on the Turffontein inside track and finished a long-head second to Turkish Delight. She was unlucky to lose as she had to be eased at crucial stage of the race, which probably cost her more ground than the margin of defeat. Last time out she ran in a FM 92 Handicap over 1600m on the Turffontein standside track and finished fourth behind Cherry On The Cake, beaten just 2.05 lengths.

It begs the question as to what is her best distance? Her four wins have been between 1600m and 1800m but perhaps as she is getting older Cyclone Michelle might now prefer a little further. She also had the benefit of a 4kg allowance, courtesy of apprentice Franklin Maleking, which she will not have this time.

It is interesting that all four wins have come on the Vaal turf track, so that could be in her favour when she lines up for Race 5, a FM 86 Handicap over 2000m. The form is difficult to evaluate as different form lines lead one in opposite directions.

Four runs back Cyclone Michelle finished 9.25 lengths behind Secret Obsession but in her last start was just a short head behind the Geoff Woodruff-trained filly. In her following start Wallace Tolmay’s runner was beaten 6.25 lengths by Bibbety Bobbety and on 2.5kg better terms, she seems unlikely to turn that around. However, in both of those starts Cyclone Michelle was poorly drawn and that may have been her downfall.

In this event she is drawn No 4 and will be ridden by Piere Strydom. While she will not have the 4kg cushion, the services of the country’s new champion jockey should more than make up for weight allowance.

Bibbety Bobbety looks the obvious danger. She won well over the course and distance last time, beating Sunny Disposition by 2.25 lengths. Trainer Ormond Ferraris raced her in blinkers for the first time that day and the equipment seemed to have made the difference.

Sunny Disposition is also in the line-up and once again the 4kg claiming issue comes into the spotlight. In her last run Doctor Lembethe rode Dianne Stenger’s charge but apprentice Collen Thabana claims 4kg and that results in Sunny Disposition being 5.5kg better off.

The runner likely to make the most improvement is Mike de Kock-trained Magic Jet. On paper Andre Macdonald’s runner has little chance as she is 3.5kg under sufferance on handicap with Bibbety Bobbety and Cyclone Michelle.

However, she has only raced four times and won her maiden last time out, when tried over 1800m for the first time.

She did not beat a strong field but took a while to get going on the inside track and should love this longer straight and the additional 200m. For her to win this event she will have to be better than her merit rating of 66 and that could well be the case as she starts to race over longer distances.

Even though she is out at the weights, the three-year-old daughter of Jet Master carries just 52kg and will be ridden by Raymond Danielson.

St John Gray has two runners – Dance Alley and Turkish Delight – and both have winning chances if they produce their best form. Dance Alley has been running against the colts and will benefit from a drop to fillies and mares class.