With the season moving back to the Highveld we are experiencing massive improvement in the quality of the fields and that is the case today where racing takes place on the Vaal Classic track.
Of course, that also tends to make the racing more competitive as many of these horses are get geared up for the various features over the next three months. That means some of them may not be at their peak so it could pay to follow the horses with proven fitness.
Topping the Vaal card is Race 5, a MR 96 Handicap over 1200m, and the runner to beat is unquestionably Torre Del Oro from the Sean Tarry yard.
This four-year-old became expensive to follow in the early part of his career but is a different animal since having been gelded in May last year and since then he has set up a record of seven runs, three wins and four places. While he has won over 1400m he is probably at his best over this distance.
Last time this son of Trippi contested a very strong Pinnacle Stakes over 1400m and after being 10 lengths back at the 400m mark, flew up to finish fourth, beaten just three lengths by Amazing Strike.
One thing worth noting is that in six of his last seven runs Torre Del Oro has run the fastest 400m to finish so it could result in a grandstand finish. His style of running could well suit jockey Raymond Danielson, who will be riding the gelding for the first time. This will be run around the turn so No 6 draw should work out well for him.
The Torre Del Oro, which translates into Tower Of Gold, is a military watchtower in Seville, southern Spain and could turn into reality for his followers. He is undoubtedly a Place Accumulator banker and could even be considered a Pick 6 banker as well.
The main danger could be Splendid Garden who has raced against far stronger that Torre Del Oro but is not always the most reliable performer. If in the mood Mike and Adam Azzie’s charge will undoubtedly be a contender.
He ran very well last time when beaten 1.25 lengths by Mujallad over 1160m at Turffontein and jockey JP van der Merwe will need him to repeat that if he is to mount a challenge.
I am happy to see Doosra returning to 1200m. He has yet to prove he sees out 1600m and is far better over this sort of distance. Weichong Marwing rides from No 2 draw but it is questionable whether he will be able to give 5kg to Tarry’s charge.
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