It has been a long, dry winter season but the Highveld Spring Season kicks off in earnest on Saturday with the running of the
Grade 3 Spring Spree Stakes over 1200m on the Turffontein Inside track.
This race used to be run as the August Stakes in the days when the sand track was still up and running at the Vaal and was a great warm-up for the Grade 2 race over 1450m at the end of September.
The August Stakes was re- placed by the Spring Spree Stakes and this is an ideal preparation race for the R750,000 Grand Heritage over 1475m at the Vaal on 30 September.
The problem for a number of runners is that the draw over this course and distance is vital and could put a spoke in the cogs of runners like Champagne Haze, Captain Aldo, Amazing Strike and Pure Blonde who will all have to contend with a double figure draw.
Whatever happens, this race looks ideal to get rid of a few cobwebs at the beginning of the season and looks sure to bring on a lot of the runners.
Alec Laird, whose stable is currently one of the hottest on the Highveld has three runners – Romi’s Boy, Amazing Strike and Pure Blonde – but with current first-choice jockey Randall Simons aboard Romi’s Boy, who is nicely drawn at No 5, he looks to be the stable elect.
Pure Blonde has performed superbly since he was gelded with a second place followed by two wins.
Weichong Marwing rides but he will have a lot of hard work to overcome from the widest draw of all.
Amazing Strike has some good form but he will have his work cut out from No 11 draw.
Port Elizabeth-based Classify has been entered for the Grand Heritage and trainer Dorrie Sham has her runner up on the Highveld to contest this Spring Spree Stakes.
He obviously had his issues as he only started to race as a five- year-old but has won five of his nine starts.
He wins every alternate race so if that record holds up he is unlikely to take this feature but that does line him up nicely for the Grand Heritage.
Marco van Rensburg has won on him twice and is in the irons again.
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