After months of a literal feast of top-class horseracing, the national programme goes into a brief lull this weekend with no feature races carded. The bread and butter fare is not tasteless though and the Pinnacle Stakes double feature on the Turffontein inside track today has some Gr1 flavour in the mix.
While the fields are compact, both races should be competitive and interesting.
An interesting runner in the 2000m Pinnacle, topweight French Navy is winless in over three years – his last victory being achieved in January 2016 when he scored in the London News Stakes at short odds to beat Killua Castle. The gallant 7yo was given a pipe-opener in the Listed Wolf Power 1600 when finishing 7,50 lengths off Doosra. Piere Strydom takes the ride again and it would probably be folly to write the son of Count Dubois off compeletely.
The SP top-rated Fort Ember is a strong front-runner and won a nice race last time beating Insignis. The Elusive Fort mare gets the value discount of talented apprentice Kabelo Matsunyane again and could be dangerous if she is allowed to dictate matters.
The high-class Irish bred mare Cascapedia has been scratched.
Her year younger stablemate Silver Thursday came right back to her best last time to beat the capable male Warrior’s Rest last time. Her form prior to that was slightly off her best and she can be watched to confirm her improvement.
The capable former Cape-based stayer Mr Winsome is being prepped for staying race targets later in the season. He should find this on the short side.
Course and distance winner Top Shot is always thereabouts but looks to have a bit to do on these terms.
In the 1600m Pinnacle Stakes for fillies and mares, which also opens the Pick 6 on the day, Sean Tarry has a nice hand with topweight Redberry Lane and recent winner Desert Rhythm.
Gr1 winner Redberry Lane will be ridden by Piere Srydom and was beate 6 lengths by Saturday’s Gr2 Gauteng Fillies Guineas winner Nafaayes in the Ipi Tomber Stakes last time. If not in need of the outing after a ten week break, she could challenge for honours.
Stablemate Desert Rhythm steps up in ground again after a fluent win over the Vaal 1200m last start.
The SP top-rated Emily Jay has decent earlier form but has not quite been herself at her last few starts.
The St John Gray charge Strawberry Pavlova is a consistent sort but is another who will have to improve to feature.
The Australian bred Being Fabulous has decent course and distance form and looks to have the edge over Tamarina whom she meets at 2kgs better terms for a 1,20 length beating last time.
Gary Alexander’s 5yo Bankable mare Cold Cash looks well held on her last start by Fort Ember.
Alec Laird’s Tamarina has a tough task at these weights. The daughter of Judpot has won her last two on the trot but meets Being Fabulous on 2kgs worse terms than when defeating the Van Vuuren runner on 12 January.
So plenty of competitive racing, with Fort Ember and Redberry Lane looking the likely Place Accumulator bankers. The smaller the field, the bigger the upset is the maxim – so go wider in the Pick 6!