The Gr3 Tommy Hotspur Handicap headlines the Turffontein rescheduled standside track programme today and with the likely give in the ground, it looks a really tricky 1000m handicap puzzle where a hesitant start or a split second decision could mean the difference between a cheque and a hard-luck story.
Formerly with Brett Crawford out at Philippi, the speedy Var colt Valbonne has his first run for Roy Magner and looks quite nicely in off the 52kg marker. While he was well beaten by subsequent Cape Flying Championship star Kasimir in the Cape Merchants at his penultimate start, Valbonne showed more enthusiasm when showing pace and beaten into fourth behind Speedpoint in the South Easter Sprint last time. He should strip fit and ready for a big effort with a change of scenery set to recharge his batteries.
Clinton Binda’s Premier Show races fresh off a 23 week break when chasing Chimichuri Run home in the Spring Spree Stakes. With only 52kgs to shoulder, the son of Mogok could have a say in the outcome at best.
Mike Azzie’s Golden Loom Stakes winner Rivarine gets the blinkers fitted and ran a nice third behind Rebel’s Champ in the Lebelo Sprint last time out. The son of Var meets the Paul Peter topweight on 2kgs better terms for a 1,90 length defeat and should be right in the mix.
It looks quite tough for the rest.
Alec Laird’s Pure Blonde has not shown any form signs recently and would be a surprise winner.
Much the same applies to Candice Dawson’s Rocky Valley who returns from the Cape empty handed after the Cape Flying Championship on Met day and is formless for some time.
Much the same references apply to the likes of Isphan, Tandava, Cathedral County and Down To Zero.
Robbie Hill tries his luck with the smart Red Chesnut Road who travels from Summerveld after an 11 week break. He drops down to the 1000m in an interesting move.
Sean Tarry’s good mare Exquisite Touch is a class sprinter on her day. She has stayed on well at both her starts this term and could surprise with improved fitness.
Grant Maroun has a top record in this race having won it twice in three runnings with Viking Hero (2016) and the filly Wrecking Ball (2017). He saddles Donny G and the newly blinkered Great Shaka – both quick customers. Great Shaka’s headgear should see him tearing away up front and the preference is for him.
Course and distance specialist Rebel’s Champ has to lumber 62kgs and has his first start since an unsuccessful tilt at the Cape Flying Championship on Met day. He is a gutsy sort but has it all to do with that back-breaking impost.
Prince Of Kahal ran a smart race in the Lebelo when chasing Rebel’s Champ home. Beaten 0,30 lengths there, he is a half kilo worse off here – and will enjoy the quick pace.
A handicap where there should be little separating the top few in the rush to the wire. Our preference is for Valbonne to make it a winning Joburg debut at the expense of Rivarine and the ever reliable Rebel’s Champ.