The Greyville polytrack may have saved many a meeting over the four years since it was inaugurated.
But there is nothing quite like watching a turf meeting at the historic Durban track and we enjoy that pleasure for the second weekend running with the running of today’s R150 000 Listed Michaelmas Handicap.
The Michaelmas takes centre stage on an eight-race card and is back on the green surface after a three year sabbatical on the all weather. Tha said, be wary of the 90% chance of rain!
The 1900m feature has attracted a mixed bag field of nine runners, with the Eastern Cape Derby winner American Landing heading the SP ratings at his second run as a 4yo.
The beautifully bred Dynasty colt didn’t make quite the impact anticipated during the SA Champions Season. He started favourite in the mixed Track & Ball Derby but was beaten by Equus Champion It’s My Turn and on his seasonal debut last month found the mile sharp when staying on behind the classy Matador Man. He looks nicely in off the 52kg mark here over the extra 300m.
The Darley Arabian winner Roy Had Enough carries top weight and looked to be in need of his last run when failing to kick and finishing just over 4 lengths behind Matador Man. The Australian-bred gets the services of Anton Marcus and showed his mettle as a 3yo of some standing with good performances in some of the classics. He should be ready for a big effort here.
The ever game 6yo Celtic Captain won this race on the polytrack in 2016 when stilled trained by Gareth van Zyl. A strong front-runner, his last run is best ignored as he needed it and did not settle. He holds Roy Had Enough on his penultimate effort – but it could be a very different ball game on the turf.
The lightly tried Pathfork colt Marchingontogether is the only 3yo in the field. This progressive sort tries the 1900m for the first time but his Montjeu dam has proven a source of stamina – and his racing style augurs well for a big effort off a decent pace.
Lezeanne Forbes’ Warfarer is a decent hardknocking 5yo who steps up in class and could challenge for the places in the hands of the wily veteran, Mark Khan.
Dean Kannemeyer won the race last year with Mr O’Neil and he saddles the first of a trio of staying sorts in One Man Show. The son of Tiger Ridge is a dogged dour stayer who has his first run when not disgraced and only 6 lengths behind stablemate It’s My Turn in the Gold Cup.
Sabina’s Dynasty is a gutsy mare and she showed nice enthusiasm when staying on behind Dawn Assault at her season opener on 27 September. She was outgunned in the July Consolation and the Gold Bracelet but looks set to improve again from the 1 draw.
It’s a fascinating handicap where a pace looks reasonably likely with several candidates looking set to take them along.
American Landing is highly regarded and was staying on well over shorter last time. Roy Had Enough is talented and could beat the weight to challenge. Marchingontogether is thrown in the deep end by Gavin van Zyl – how good is the 3yo? We will find out more on Sunday.