The Womens Day public holiday on Thursday brings some welcome respite for the overworked. For those taking the week off, a trip down to Vereeniging on Tuesday could produce some easy financial rewards with our old favourite Mr Tobin appearing to be the closest thing to a racing certainty when he contests the R110 000 Womens Day Hospitality Pinnacle Stakes over 1600m on the Vaal sand.
Chris Van Niekerk’s Numerous gelding Mr Tobin is the king of the sand and is an Argentinian-bred who has clocked up seven of his nine career wins on the surface. It won’t exactly be a case of getting rich for the average punter at what should be prohibitive in –the- red odds, but it is very difficult to oppose him. And being the first leg of the Pick Six, he will no doubt be the world’s banker.
Only seven runners turn up to oppose him and his prowess and ability on the sand has obviously scared off the rest. The conditions of this event make Mr Tobin’s task even easier and at the weights he should hardly raise a sweat.
Mr Tobin hails from the Vodacom Durban July winning Sean Tarry yard and his regular pilot Gavin Lerena gets aboard after Piere Strydom blotted his copybook at his penultimate run. There were excuses that afternoon in the first week of June when he was beaten 1,25 lengths by Mr Premier. The track had been rolled and horses were battling to make up ground from off the pace – in the fashion we know Mr Tobin enjoys to run his races.
He set the record straight last time when cruising in by 3,25 lengths in a Pinnacle Plate beating Follow The Piper and turning the tables by over 6 lengths on the hapless Mr Premier.
Sean Tarry also sends out Incomodo, who may need it after a six month break. He also has no chance with his stablemate on their last meeting.
Representing the fairer sex, St John Gray’s Formation is a gallant mare and this daughter of Sarge is something of a genuine sand specialist and four-time winner on the surface. She only gets 6kgs from Mr Tobin, which is not enough to beat him, but is a serious place bet and will be running on late-probably when the favourite is already home though.
Steve Kenny’s Mogok gelding Sayadaw is an obviously capable sort judging on his nine win career haul. That said, Mr Tobin always has his measure and he is unlikely to finish ahead of the Tarry runner.
On The Riverside
Stuart Pettigrew’s Lecture gelding Calanish has drawn best at 1.The Listed Riverside Handicap winner has had a two month break and could be a factor running fresh. He meets Roy Magner’s Eastern Cobbler at level weights after receiving 2,5kgs and beating him 2,75 lengths in the Riverside clash.
The Ascot Stud-bred Eastern Cobbler is top-class on the sand at best and ran a tremendous second behind The Mouseketeer in the 2011 Emerald Cup. His form of late is not inspiring though and he appears to have developed a worrying breathing issue- which is no doubt impacting negatively on his performance.
Gavin Van Zyl’s twice winning turf campaigner Liquid Motion is the unknown quantity in the race. His KZN turf form was a little lacklustre before he relocated to Gauteng, where his last two starts on the Vereeniging turf have not been bad at all. He ran on strongly at his penultimate start and then was slightly one-paced last time when a 4,25 length to Napoleon Dynamite in a MR 88 handicap. Team G, as the Van Zyls label themselves, have a powerful satellite operation and they have obviously seen something in this fellow’s homework. Include him in quartets.
The Australian-bred Costsaver does not lack for stamina having won his maiden over 2500m on the turf. He has only won once on the sand, when beating Pimp My Ride narrowly over a mile five months ago. He showed some spark when staying on for second behind Dual Alliance at his penultimate start, but this should be too strong for Kom Naidoo’s charge.
This is one of those races that look straightforward and without a likelihood of an upset.
In the unlikely event of Mr Tobin fluffing his lines though, Piere Strydom will be waiting to swoop for the kill. And knowing the favourite as well as he does, Strydom could well strategise his downfall.
Beyond that consideration, we cannot see beyond Mr Tobin running anywhere, but first.
We suggest punters apply the KISS principle and be with him in everything.