Smart punters try to sniff out jockey-trainer combinations with good strike rates – even if the individuals involved are not near the top of championship logs. These lucrative partnerships can fly under the punditry radar in the hubbub of daily racing.
One team worth following at the moment is trainer Stuart Pettigrew and jockey Marco van Rensburg. These two excellent horsemen have combined 59 times in the current season and have run first, second or third 19 times – a handy hit rate of more than 30% for the judicious Place bet punters out there.
Pettigrew and Van Rensburg will be chatting on three occasions in the parade ring at tomorrow’s Vaal Outside course meet- ing and at least two of those chats could result in prize money.
One of them involves Zulu Dawn in Race 8, a FM 84 Handicap and the top-rated event of the day.
This well-named three-year- old by Await The Dawn out of Ithala is primed for a third career victory. She has also clocked up several places in 10 outings and in her last race went down by just 0.25 lengths after her rider lost his crop while leading with 100m of 1400m left to run.
That was Zulu Dawn’s third run after a short rest and she had been ignored in the betting after a disappointing second run after the layoff. It is safe to say that the first-time fitting of blinkers worked unexpectedly well.
With that headgear on again, Van Rensburg in the driving seat, and going 1600m down the fast Vaal straight, Zulu Dawn will not start at long odds this time. But she will surely be in the money.
Other fillies in the field with worthy form include Braxton, Make Me Happy and Noceur. The latter, from the Alec Laird stable, is coming to hand after a holiday and gets the notable assistance of Piere Strydom.
Zulu Dawn and Noceur should form the foundation of Exactas, Swingers, Trifectas and Quartets, while a value addition could be Teenage Dream as she drops down in class.
Pettigrew and Van Rensburg also team up in Race 3, a Maiden Plate for fillies and mares over 1000m, with Ulla. This juvenile has been 1.40 lengths behind the winner in both her starts – finishing second and then third – after being too strong-willed for her own good in preliminaries.
Another trainer-jockey combo to watch tomorrow is Ashley Fortune and Aldo Domeyer.
Cape Town-based Domeyer travels upcountry for four rides at the Vaal – three for his mother-in- law.
Their best chance appears to be with Pachanga, a four-year-old overdue a win as she lines up in Race 5, a Maiden Plate for fillies and mares over 1400m.
Also, keep an eye on this family connection with Seventh Rule in Race 4. A TAB Double with these two looks a decent bet.
Fortune and Domeyer might even pop up with first-timer Big Blue Marble in Race 2. This juvenile by Var cost R850,000 at auction last year.
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