An eight-month rest seems to have reinvigorated Brooks-Club’s passion for competition and Mike Azzie’s charge could follow up on an impressive win in his comeback when he lines up in Race 2 on the Vaal sand on Thursday, a Pinnacle Stakes over 1450m.
He won that race over this course and distance by 9,75 lengths from Troubled Waters, who gave him 3.5kg, and the runner-up came out next time to finish a 10.25-length sixth behind Formation at level weights. A strict line of form indicates that St John Gray’s mare will beat Brooks-Club, but Azzie’s charge would have been in need of a sharpener and natural improvement could see him holding her off.
Formation is the best-weighted runner by 4.50 lengths and is always a formidable rival at this track, having scored eight of her 10 wins here – four over this course and distance.
Regular rider Gavin Lerena produced her at exactly the right time over 1600m last time out and she held on gallantly from talented Straw Market.
Sean Tarry-trained stablemates The Mouseketeer and Across The Ice also come into the picture
Collateral form through Taptap Makhatini indicates that The Mouseketeer is a strong contender for top honours. He beat his stable companion by a short head, giving 7.5kg, over 1600m at this track back in April in his penultimate start. Brooks-Club gave Taptap Makhatini 3kg when beaten 5.50 lengths in a 1600m race in February and now receives 3kg from The Mouseketeer.
However, that was Brooks-Club’s first run on the sand track and sometimes horses need to acclimatise to racing on the surface. Also, The Mouseketeer has not raced for nearly seven months after fading to sixth behind Heavy Metal over 1600m at Turffontein in May and might need a pipe-opener.
Across The Ice would prefer a slightly shorter distance, but has placed over this 1450m before.
Race 3 is a Conditions Plate for fillies and mares over 1200m and Tarry-trained Jackodore looks hard to beat.
She showed pace before being hampered in the Merchants on Summer Cup Day but before that found 62.5kg only just beyond her in an 1160m race at Turffontein, when beaten into second by Tiger Quest.
She has experience on this track, having finished third in the Sophomore Fillies 1000 in 2011, and will get the services of Piere Strydom.