Pera Palace could not have been more impressive when winning a MR 90 Handicap over 1400m at Greyville last time and can carry that excellent form into Race 6 at the Vaal tomorrow.
As racing takes place on the Classic track they will be racing around the turn and that is likely to suit this Paul Peter trained three-year-old in a MR 94 Handicap over 1450m.
Although only a three-time winner he gives the impression that he is a very good sort and we have not yet seen the best of him.
The connections had him gelded in December last year and since his return to racing a month later Pera Palace has only once run out of the placings.
He was very well supported to win at Greyville in June and went off as the outright favourite in a most competitive race.
It is worth noting that apprentice Luke Ferraris rode him on that occasion, taking 4kg off his back and he gets the ride again, once again claiming his full apprentice allowance.
Ferraris looks to have a bright future and as was the case with Lyle Hewitson, is worth every kilo he claims.
At Greyville he managed to get a soft lead but the one concern in this race is he might not be able to get to the front that easily from No 8draw.
The statistics over this course and distance show there has not been a winner this season from that barrier position from 23 runners.
If Pera Palace fails then the race is wide open. Trainer Mike Azzie sends out Splendid Garden who has Piere Strydom up and they must have a winning chance.
Had this race been over 1200m he would have been the selection to win but he is suspect over further. His last race was over 1400m at Turffontein and he faded late to finish 5.30 lengths behind Will Pays.
That race, however, was a lot stronger than this so it was not a bad performance. Young Ferraris rode him on that occasion but Strydom is more experienced and is more likely to get his mount switched off.
Radiant Splendour is the lone filly in the field and she had a magnificent start to her career, coming from well off the pace to win her first two races. She failed in her next three events but they were all features and perhaps it may have been asking too much too soon. Remarkably her merit rating of 89 has not been reduced so she may still be at a disadvantage.
What she does have is No 2 draw and five-time former champion jockey Mark Khan in the irons.
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