Richard Fourie will be the focus of much attention at Kenilworth today when he has his first rides since saying goodbye to Sha Tin and Happy Valley, writes Michael Clower.
Jockeys stepping out of Hong Kong’s steamingly competitive cauldron tend to ride in inspired form – who can forget Karis Teetan’s seven winners from 21 mostly-unfancied mounts in August 2014? – while Fourie himself landed a double on his first day back 12 months earlier.
He will be in action in all eight races with four mounts for his old boss Justin Snaith and four for Adam Marcus with whose father he spent much of his apprenticeship.
Snaith reckons Daring Dave in the OFYT Pinnacle has the best chance of his quartet but says: “This horse’s problem is that he has been left eight lengths in his last two starts but he will be a huge runner if he jumps.
“Alpha Girl (race one) will be better over this five furlongs and she should be in the money. Newcomer Le Harve (an R850 000 Var full brother to Golden Horse Casino winner Normanz) is a nice colt but it’s an extremely strong race and he would have to be very good to win. I am just looking for a good run from Nordic Wind (race five) which I think she will give and she could surprise.”
Marcus rates Gyre (race four) the pick of his Fourie rides, adding: “He has improved a lot and ran on well last time after coming from off the pace. Valerio (race six) runs over 1 000m for the first time and I’m excited to see how he goes. His main issue has been pulling quite hard and he ran a cracker when we brought him back to 1 200m.
“Golden Pass (race three) has to improve but we are going to switch her off and get her to run on while Come On Inn (race eight) is progressively getting better and should be in with a shout if she can continue that progression.”
Alpha Girl has mostly newcomers to contend with in the Birchwood Hotel Maiden but two of Mike Bass’s four juvenile winners this term have been first timers and his Live Life (a R2.5 million Trippi half-sister to Cold As Ice) gets the vote.
Dancer’s experience should prove decisive in the Wallace Trust Maiden and his form has been franked by stable companion Attenborough’s win last Saturday. In addition to Le Harve, newcomers to note include Moonrise Sensation who cost a whopping R4 million and Bass’s Caballo Blanco (a R360 000 Ready To Run purchase).
Peonie Rock made an eye-catching Durbanville debut and could be the one in the Boland Promotions Maiden while Gyre should score for Fourie 35 minutes later. Line Break, like Daring Dave, was unlucky in the Cape Flying and the 3kg he receives can swing things his way in the Pinnacle.