Conditions should suit Dan The Lad

The distance appeared a touch too short and the opposition a touch too strong.

Dan The Lad was really up against last time when trainer Paul Matchett decided to run him in the Grade 2 Merchants over 1160m at Turffontein.

The distance appeared a touch too short and the opposition a touch too strong.

Nevertheless, Dan The Lad did not disgrace himself and although never really in it, finished just 4.25 lengths behind The Thinker. Many of the more fancied horses ended up behind him so it was a decent enough performance.

Today he takes a significant drop in class when he contests Race 7, a MR 88 Handicap at the Vaal inside track, and it is over his best distance of 1400m. The average merit rating in the Merchants was 101, in this event it is 81.

Perhaps most importantly, Dan The Lad is reunited with jockey Gunter Wrogemann who has an excellent record on the four-year-old son of Dan De Lago. In seven rides, Wrogemann was aboard for two of his three victories, has finished second on three occasions, one third and a fifth in which he was beaten just 1.80 lengths.

The main threat is likely to come from Count Tassilo who looks due for another victory. Three of his five wins have come over 1400m and Sean Tarry’s charge has won his only run over this course and distance. In his last start Count Tassilo ran on steadily to finish fourth, but beaten just 0.90 lengths, behind Maximizer.

Piere Strydom gets the ride.

What could decide the outcome is where the better going might be as Dan The Lad is drawn No 4 and Count Tassilo at No 17 for this race up the straight.

Father and son team Mike and Adam Azzie saddle Bonnie Prince who has a solid record of three wins from seven starts but will be coming back from a 193-day break. In his last run this son of Pathfork beat Unagi who is an above-average performer so has the form to win an event like this. However, he has not placed over 1400m and also seems to prefer the Turffontein Inside track with its short run-in.

As there has been so much rain about one also needs to consider a runner like Front Rank. Tyrone Zackey’s charge enjoys some give in the ground and at the moment is in good form. Mathew Thackeray gets the ride and with 54.5kg on his back, the six-year-old gelding should be competitive.

Sucha good double to jet in on at Turffontein

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