A FM 80 Handicap has top billing on the eight-race programme that forms a prelude to Africa’s richest race on the sand this Saturday, the R600,000 Emerald Cup.
The honours in this 1450m race could go the way of Secret Mogok. The Stuart Pettigrew-trained four-year-old is generally a consistent individual and has failed to feature in the finish only twice in her seven career starts. Those failures came immediately after her maiden win in April.
She is coming back into form and has placed in her last two starts. She was having her first run on the sand when running on for fourth, two lengths behind Velvet Jar over 1200m last time out and should prefer this longer distance. She could be hard to beat from a preferred low-number draw.
Her jockey Marco van Rensburg will have to keep Go Indigo in his sights.
The Leon Erasmus-trained mare finished a close sixth behind Secret Obsession in the Syringa Handicap over 1600m at Turffontein in May and has run well in her three races since.
She followed that effort with a neck win over 1400m at that track, a race that has been well franked, and was then put on the sand track again to post her first form on this surface with a distant third behind Shattered Image over this course and distance. Then, last time out, she finished a 4.75-length fifth behind Magic Smoke under the same circumstances.
Both Shattered Image and Magic Smoke are due to run in the Emerald Cup, so those runs represent good sand form. She must be included in calculations.
The banker at this meeting comes in Race 6 over 1400m – King Scott, who is also trained by Erasmus.
This five-year-old gelding has been running consistently well recently, with a win and four places from his last five starts.
The win came over 1600m at Turffontein in August, while the places were all recorded at this track.
In the first he finished a 2.75-length third behind Baron Zemo over this course and distance where Chedwin Park (0.5kg better off) was 0.50 lengths behind him in fourth, Velddrifter (0.5kg better off) was only another neck adrift in seventh and Zebulon was downfield.
He then finished second to Aces High over 1600m, with Chedwin Park (1kg worse off) a well-beaten fifth.
Again put over the Vaal sand 1450m this month, he finished fourth behind Flaming Forge (Chedwin Park was seventh) and then last time out, he finished second to three-length winner Banjo Bay over 1600m.
Chedwin Park ran last Thursday and won over 1600m at this track, beating Kudos by 9.25 lengths. He must rate a danger but has repeatedly battled to beat Erasmus’ runner, and will now carry 57.5kg, rather than the carded 52.5kg. That penalty will be offset slightly by Akash Aucharuz’s 1.5kg apprentice allowance.
Many will fancy Bradley Maroun-trained Beautiful Dawn in Race 5 over 1450m, but she has not managed to beat Sucha Wonder in either of their encounters and Erasmus’ runner could repeat the dose with only 54.5kg to carry.
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