After last weekend’s top-class racing in Port Elizabeth life returns to the more mundane at Fairview today.
Racing is on the Polytrack and the racing is extremely competitive but perhaps we can rely on trainer Justin Snaith to keep our heads above water in Race 4, where he saddles Naval Intelligence in a MR 72 Handicap over 1600m.
The six-year-old gelding has been racing against much stronger opposition and this drop in class, merit rating and distance should prove ideal for the son of Trippi. Last time he contested a MR 82 Handicap over 1900m on this track where he finished 6.85 lengths behind Road To Indy. He looks to be best over 1600m so the drop in distance should help.
His previous few races were in better company so this drop to a MR 72 Handicap should count in his favour, even though he will carry more weight. However, that has all been made possible courtesy of a merit rating drop which sees him now racing off a rating of 74.
That puts him back on the same level as when he last won.
Things still get better. Naval Intelligence will be ridden by champion jockey S’manga Khumalo who has a decent record on him. He has been in the irons four times for one win, two thirds and a fourth place. They will also be assisted by the fact they will jump from pole position.
Once you look past him the race becomes extremely open. Zama ran in a Graduation Plate last time, also over 1900m, and faded into fourth place after leading the field through the 400m mark. He will also benefit from the drop to 1600m. Top apprentice Lyle Hewitson takes the ride.
Apoc raced against strong opposition last time in a MR 71 Handicap over this track and trip and did well to finish a two-length third behind Scent. He carries 1kg less so should be a contender.
Imperial Velvet has not visited the winner’s enclosure for 518 days but is rarely out of the money while Rosslyn Chapel also takes a drop in class but looks well held by Naval Intelligence on a line through Razed In Black.