The same could now apply to Uncle Tommy, who after being the model of consistency – especially on the Vaal sand – might finally be showing signs of old age.
In his penultimate start, which was the Kings Cup at Greyville, he finished just 2.80 lengths behind The Hangman in eighth place and was reported to have pulled up lame. His next start was on the Vaal sand, a course over which he has established a wonderful record, but again he ran unplaced and this time was reported not to be striding out.
Today on the Vaal sand, the Weiho Marwing-trained runner steps out in a Conditions Plate over 1600m in Race 4, but the usual confidence if no longer there. In fact, many of the runners have not been particularly consistent so it is not an easy race to assess.
Marwing, however, has suitable back up for Uncle Tommy in the form of The Royal Rumba. This three-year-old gelding has started to develop a decent feel for the Vaal sand track and could hold the key to this event. All three of his runs at the course have been over 1600m and he has established a record of one win, one second and one third.
His last run was in a MR 89 Handicap in which he finished a 2.70-length third behind Lavender Landscape. They meet again in this event and The Royal Rumba is now 4kg better off, which should be enough to reverse the position. One needs to point out, however, the Mambo In Seattle gelding did not give jockey S’manga Khumalo an easy ride last time as he kept hanging in the entire race.
This is a tendency that has troubled him for quite a while now and hopefully Marwing can sort out the problem.
An interesting runner is Iwo Jima from the Tyrone Zackey yard. This three-year-old joined the Zackey stable in February and prior to that, had run in a number of three-year-old features. He did not perform all that well against the best of his age but must have been showing his trainer some decent work for them to race him in those events.
He has won a race for Zackey and then was gelded.
This is his first try on the sand so one does not know what to expect but he races with just 48.5kg on is back as Mathew Thackeray claims his 2.5kg apprentice allowance. He is worth putting in the Pick 6 and Jackpot.
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