Racing News 19.1.2016 05:00 am

Take a chance on Cumberland

Var Bay could be the one to give the most cheek

Cumberland has scored two of his four career wins over the Turffontein inside 1450m and it might be worth taking a chance on him in Race 7 at the meeting there today, a MR 88 Handicap over that course and distance.

Spike Lerena’s charge shed his maiden tag over the trip in his second career start back in February last year, beating Street Flyer by a head, and his second win over the trip came in November last year, when he was game under pressure, hanging but still managing to beat Tabreek (placed twice in three starts since) by 0.50 lengths.

He meets Tabreek on the same terms at the weights, while Var Bay, who finished 1.75 lengths behind him in third, is 2.5kg better off and Mr Mulliner was another 0.75 lengths further back in sixth.

Cumberland went on to finish fifth to talented Shadow Ofhis Smile in a 1400m Pinnacle race and then failed by only 1.80 lengths against Shea Devon over 1400m on the standside track last month.

He carries only 55kg and could be a good Eachway punt with Ian Sturgeon in the saddle.

Quite a few punters will side with Jolie Roger, from the Alec Laird stable and to be ridden by Gavin Lerena, who partnered Cumberland in his win from Tabreek.

However, this Dynasty gelding is a trifle erratic and is held on direct form by Var Bay, who beat him 3.70 lengths over this course and distance in June last year and who meets him on 0.5kg better terms. That was Jolie Roger’s second run after a layoff but Var Bay could well confirm the form.

Lucky Houdalakis’ runner has won another two races since then. He was completely outgunned by subsequent Cape Guineas and Dingaans winner Noah From Goa and 10 other runners over this course and distance in October and last time out reared in the pens before finishing only ninth behind Analyse This.

That last effort can probably be ignored and Var Bay could shape from a good draw.

Fort Meyers represents the Sean Tarry-S’manga Khumalo partnership. He was having his first run after a break of nearly a year when drifting ominously in the betting and finishing fifth behind Kapellmeister over 1160m last month. This two-time winner from four starts is better than that and should be sharper for that run.

The best Pick 6 banker arguably comes in Race 8, a FM 68 Handicap over 1800m, in the form of Tobesuretobesure.

The five-year-old mare is not that well drawn but has been knocking at the door in her last three starts since being fitted with blinkers and teamed up with jockey Gunter Wrogemann.

She had Leah’s Little Luv (1.5kg better off) 3.50 lengths behind her when beaten only a long neck by Superwoman over 2000m at the Vaal in November and then finished second to Off The Mark over 1600m on the standside track last month.

She was backed at long odds in her last start and could recoup losses.

Wedgewood, who ran a fair post-maiden race when fifth behind Christmas Carol over 1600m on the standside track last time out, should enjoy this distance, which she tries for the first time, and could be the main danger.

Matsuri, who has been running consistently well recently, is another runner who could make a bold bid.

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