Gr3 Kings Cup over 1600m at Greyville on Tuesday night.
With a number of meetings having been abandoned in Natal recently, large fields are the order of the day at Greyville on Tuesday night. Always a very competitive handicap, the Gr3 Kings Cup tops the bill and with the going more than likely to be soft, it’s not an easy puzzle to solve, writes Steve Furnish.
Shouldering top weight is the 6yo Maliyakhe. More often than not seen sprinting, this son of Muhtafal is yet to race over trip this far, and in his only previous effort beyond 1400m he was unplaced. He is at the top of his game right now though and usually one to run on stoutly from off the pace, today’s distance might suit now.
Also in top form at the moment is Bay Route. One of two runners from the stable of Deon Visser, Bay Route has gained five of his six career victories at this circuit and most significantly, one of those successes was achieved in soft going. At his best from the front, Bay Route is yet to score beyond 1600m, but he has done well over further than they race here, and setting off from pole position with champion jockey Anton Marcus in the saddle, he has to be a very serious runner.
Veteran stable companion Keat’s Drift is without a win in fifteen starts now and having failed to fill a place in the Quartet in the last seven of those, he is not easy to fancy.
Dance At Daylight
The Veteran Dance At Daylight was sixth in this race last year and fifth the season before. He’s without a win since landing the Christmas Handicap back in 2009 and although he did put in a very promising effort when returning from a seven month break last time out, he is not easy to fancy whilst still racing off a mark 8 points higher than when gaining that latest success.
Mike De Kock’s sole representative in the event is the lightly raced Jet Legend. Prior to finishing fifth in a very competitive handicap last time out, Jet Legend had been showing good improvement with each outing since returning from a 12 months absence in November. He has a very handy galloping weight of just 52kg here and could still improve plenty.
Sean Tarry’s charge is a bit of an enigma. He won the Gr1 Premier’s Champion Stakes over 1600m at this circuit back in 2010 and if at his best here would certainly have claims. He’s never been the most consistent of performers though, and coming off a four month break here, one is not quite sure what to expect.
The runner up in last season’s Cape Derby, Sage Throne has come to hand nicely since returning from a break in October. Indeed, he’s won his last two starts, both at this circuit. Those two latest successes were both gained over further than they race here and he hasn’t won over a trip this short since shedding his maiden tag over 1600m. The lightly raced Sage Throne has won over 1950m though, and clearly still improving must have a shout.
Excuse My French
Duncan Howell’s charge showed real potential earlier and after beating the likes of Run For It and Royal Zulu Warrior in a progress event he was thought good enough to contest the Gr2 KZN Guineas. Sparingly raced since, Excuse My French has been unable to fulfill that early potential, but he did put in a promising effort last time out and we have by no means seen the best of him yet.
Usually one to race up with, or close to the speed, Gavin Van Zyl’s charge has gained his last three wins at this circuit. He’s at his best over 1400m where he’s gained five of his six career successes. He has done well around today’s distance though, and in good form at the moment cannot be discounted.
A runner up in both the Gauteng Fillies Classic and KZN Oaks last season, the Toreador filly Las Ramblas is not too far off the best of her generation. She’s come to hand nicely since returning from a break in December and she has done well at this circuit.
The 7yo Cape Town was once rated 8 points higher by the official handicapper than he is here. He’s clearly been well below his former best in recent months though and when picking up a MR78 Handicap in January, he was gaining his first win in 29 starts.
Another veteran battling to find the winner’s enclosure right now is Thandolwami. Craig Eudey’s charge has run some good races in defeat, but amazingly he has now gone 36 outings without a win and although he finished runner up in this race back in 2010, success here does look unlikely.
Yet to race beyond 1600m, the 4yo Mr Harry has gained both of his wins over sprint distances. He’s without a win in nine starts now, but he has been keeping very good company and is always thereabouts. He returns from a break here. It will be interesting to see how he goes.
About The Pace
With a number of candidates for the role of front runner amongst the thirteen going to post, the pace looks sure to be on. At home in soft going, the front running Bay Route has won his last three starts at this circuit. Champion jockey Anton Marcus takes the ride here and setting off from pole position, he looks sure to fight out the finish in what is clearly a very open contest.