Today’s Hollywoodbets Greyville feature holds good memories for the Van Zyl family.
Veteran jockey-turned-trainer Gavin’s son Gareth saddled the 2016 winner Celtic Captain at his first meeting as a fully fledged conditioner.
It was Friday 28 October 2016 when Gareth saddled his first runners under his own name. His very first representative Northern Storm was a winner, and an hour later Celtic Captain won the Listed then sponsored by Jonsson Workwear Michaelmas Handicap, under Warren Kennedy.
The high-riding Kennedy is back – this time riding Blackball for Gareth’s Dad, Gavin.
And Gareth has his own pair of representatives in topweight, and former Mike de Kock charge, The Dazzler, and the lesser acclaimed, Paths Of Victory.
Fitted today with the blinkers and the ear muffs removed, The Dazzler started his career in fine style when winning at 50-1 for trainer James Goodman. The son of Mogok has proven a decent handicapper over time, picking up three further wins and some eyecatching place money, and has his first run in 15 weeks since a very decent third behind Shenanigans in the Consolation July. On best form he has a shout.
Stablemate Paths Of Victory also returns from a break following an outing on Durban July day. The son of Noble Tune pulled up distressed after going the 3000m of the Gold Vase for the first time. He ran just over 5 lengths behind Walter Smoothie but looks a better proposition over shorter.
The Sporting Post top-rated White Lightning (pictured left) gets the blinkers fitted and now looks to improve after failing to get beyond a maiden victory in his 3yo season. Rested after a fair fourth in the KZN Derby last term, he has had two prep runs and showed some pace when beaten 2,70 lengths behind the paper weighted Jack Of Hearts last run. He strips fit.
His stablemate Our Coys carries a handy 52kg galloping weight and is a dangerous sort who could grab a place cheque with some luck in running. The son of Uncle Mo is in under sufferance but shouldn’t be disregarded in a tricky race and with the services of the astute competitor, Muzi Yeni.
The smart 5yo Blackball is fitted with a cornell collar. He has been rested 19 weeks since beaten 1,25 lengths by the progressive The Sultan’s Bazaar under a welter 63,5kgs last time. He showed nice versatile promise on both surfaces earlier and could be right there if not too much in need of a run.
Wealthy (seen above) was a surprise winner of the Listed Michael Roberts Handicap in January and his form has tapered off a bit since then. His running on fourth behind Walter Smoothie in the Gold Vase saw his connections take their chances in the Gold Cup. He ran no kind of race after making respiratory noises and comes in here off a twelve week break.
The 7yo Silver Rose is a hardknocking seven-time winner who never runs a bad race. In his favour, he has had a run earlier this month and will strip fitter than some of his opposition. Pilot Gareth Wright knows him well and he will stretch them.
One of the fittest of the eight runners the Querari filly Arianos Shadow – the only member of the fairer sex in the field of eight – was a stakes placed 2yo but has been quite disappointing. She now steps into mixed company and has a stiff task.
Fitness is probably the single biggest variable in a race where a decent pace looks assured by the pacy Silver Rose.
Ed note: The false rail is set at zero.10% chance of thunderstorms later
White Lightning strikes us as much better than a one-time winner and he is the choice – but don’t write off Blackball. And they obviously can’t let Silver Rose get too far ahead.
Please click on the image below to source a racecard