Delayed from last Sunday where the persistent rains cut up the 1750m turf track, the R150 000 Listed The Sledgehammer is now run on the Greyville 1800m all-weather today.
The weather is forecast as partly cloudy, 25 Degs, with a 30% chance of rain and a 15 – 20 Km/h north easterly head wind.
It is a traditional low-key season opener for some of the big guns looking to stretch their legs.
The race is weighted on merit rating bands and has attracted a quality field.
Mike and Adam Azzie have been in a rich vein of form in Gauteng and they saddle the SP top-rated smart Western Winter 4yo Orpheus who comes in here on a hat-trick after two smart wins . He has shown ability up to 2400m and seldom runs a bad race. With jockey Marco van Rensburg riding the crest of a wave, he could be tough to peg back.
Paul Lafferty’s Our Coys hasn’t won a race in close on 15 months and comes in under sufferance. The son of Uncle Mo will have fitness on his side and has run close up recently against weaker.
The enigmatic Eyes Wide Open carries topweight of 61,5kgs and has his first run back since running just over five lengths back in the Sun Met. The son of Dynasty has failed to deliver on a few occasions but is clearly the class act in the race.
Dean Kannemeyer’s highly regarded Silva’s Bullet is yet to finish out of the money in seven starts and ran a fair third in the Jet Master Stakes at Kenilworth at his last start. The 4yo could up his game to challenge again and should not be disregarded as the yard has turned the corner recently and are in good form.
Roy Had Enough comes off a four month break since a fair fourth in the Christmas Handicap.Prior to that he was beaten 5 lengths by Tilbury Fort in the Summer Cup.
Gauteng raider Doosra has been well beaten at his last two starts but drops down in class and could revive his fortunes again.
Sean Tarry’s lightly raced Dynasty entire Shenanigans caught the eye last time when only caught late by the low-flying Pietro Mascagni.
It looks on the short side for the solid Gimmethegreenlight stayer Gimme One Night who has his first run in 12 weeks since a fair effort in the Reserve Stayers race on Sun Met day. H will have races like the Gold Cup on his radar.
Wealthy caught the eye with a good victory in the Michael Roberts Handicap at his penultimate start. The son of Silvano seems to be a touch in-and-out.
With the fitness unknowns a factor, the race could produce a surprise. But Orpheus could be good enough to hold Eyes Wide Open, Roy Had Enough (if reasonably fit) and Silva’s Bullet.