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Highly Competitive Weekend

Flying Rascal

Greyville 2nd February: Five of the nine races on the poly track on Sunday were staged over 1400m and in the fastest of these, a pinnacle stakes, the Visionaire gelding CALIENTE registered his fourth career victory. Freely available at 8/1 on the off, Dennis Drier’s charge was always handy. He was ridden to lead shortly after passing the 200m marker and kept on strongly late to beat the staying on pacemaker HIGH VOLTAGE by a length.
The only other distance to stage more than one race on the card was 1600m. The MR89 affair was not surprisingly the faster of the two handicaps and here victory went to CAESURA. Always handy, the son of Oratorio ran on strongly in the short home straight and got up late to beat BLACKBURN ROC by a length.
In terms of distance, the easiest victory on the card was registered by RALPH THE RASCAL when getting off the mark in the maiden plate over 1400m. Runner up when finishing strongly from midfield in his only previous racecourse appearance, Alyson Wright’s charge raced in the rear early on. Once given rein though he quickened in good style and despite having to switch 350m from home, he won going away by three and a half.
Titbits
The 4yo OPENSEA came from the rear when winning the twelve runner MR69 Handicap over 1400m going away.

Not So Elusive

Vaal 4th February: Fifty percent of the races on the Vaal’s classic track on Tuesday were run over 1200m with the fastest of the four being the graduation plate won by the Elusive Fort gelding BENJI. Soon positioned close to the speed, Paul Peter’s charge took up the running 400m out and kept on strongly late to beat the running on SMOKE by 0,3 lengths.
The bill topping MR96 Handicap was by far the faster of the two 1600m races on the card and here victory went to the 3yo SECRET DREAM. Also sired by Elusive Fort, Lucky Houdalakis’ charge led throughout. She was a length and a half clear going through the 400m and although the always handy AURELIA COTTA chased hard in the closing stages of the race, she couldn’t get closer than 0,4 lengths at the wire.
At the other end of the scale the biggest winning margin on the card was just the 2,5 lengths recorded by UNDISCLOSED when getting off the mark in the opening maiden plate over 1200m. Sent off a warm favourite at 2/1, St John Gray’s charge also made all. He was always in command and won comfortably from the unfancied BARISTA.
Titbits
Now a winner of two from five the aptly named SUPREME WIN came from the rear when getting up late to land the MR76 Handicap over 1200m.

Promising Start

Scottsville 5th February: Off a penetrometer reading of 25 the going was originally posted as Good to Soft in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday. However, after the running of race one it was changed to Good, and the winning times during the afternoon did confirm this.
A maiden juvenile plate over 1000m got proceedings underway and here followers of the money got off to a nice start when the Lezeanne Forbes trained newcomer SOFIA ERIN did the business. Backed throughout the morning into 2/1 from 13/2, this well regarded daughter of Vercingetorix broke well and was already at the head of affairs going through the 600m. She ran on strongly from there onwards and with the rest well beaten she won well by a length and a half from the always handy KINSKEY’S TUNE. Also supported in this race was another newcomer NIRVANA GIRL. She was staying on nicely at the finish after racing in midfield.
The only other race over 1000m was a MR78 Handicap and in a much faster time than that of Sofia Erin, the course and distance specialist BLAZE OF SILK made it four from twelve over the trip. Soon up handy, Corinne Bestel’s charge was ridden to lead as they approached the 200m pole and comfortably accounted for the pacemaker LA BELLA by just over a length.
Two maiden plates over 1500m brought the meeting to a close and in the faster of these BLACK FOX opened his account. Drawn widest of the twelve that went to post, the son of Black Minnaloushe raced in the rear early on. Once in the home straight though he ran on best of all, and in a classic finish he got up late to deny the supported KING JULIAN.
Titbits
The uneasy favourite CAPTAINS FORT ran on well from midfield when winning the maiden plate over 1200m very easily by four and a quarter.

Flashing Home

Vaal 6th February: Racing returned to the classic track on Thursday where the last race had to be abandoned due to a severe electrical storm.
Three of the seven races that did take place were run over 1000m and in the fastest of these, a MR80 Handicap, STARFLASH landed a gamble. Backed throughout the day into 11/2 from 16/1, Barend Botes’ charge raced in midfield during the early part of the race. He produced a nice turn of foot below the distance and in what proved to be a real thriller he got up in the very last stride.
They also ran three races over 1450m and quickest home here was the sparingly raced RIVONIA BOULEVARD in the MR88 Handicap. Having only his second outing following a 14 month layoff, Sean Tarry’s charge was soon up handy. He ran on strongly at the business end of the race and with the rest comfortably beaten he got the better of the hard knocking 8yo TOKYO DRIFT by a neck.
The one remaining race was a graduation plate over 2000m and here a bit of an upset was to be had when the odds on favourite WESTERN FORT got rolled. The best bet on the card for many, Paul Peter’s charge adopted a change of tactics here and made the running. He rallied gamely after being headed by the Mambo In Seattle filly DIORAMA 300m out, and in what proved to be a real thriller he went down by a quarter.
Titbits
Freely available at 16/1 on the off, the St John Gray trained newcomer PERSICA ran on well from the rear when a length and a quarter runner up to the heavily supported newcomer HERSTEL in the opening work rider’s maiden plate over 1000m.

Smelling Of Roses

Fairview 7th February: This meeting was originally scheduled to take place on the turf. A maiden juvenile plate over 1000m was first up on the poly track on Friday and here we saw a smart performance from the Yvette Bremner trained FIREVIEW. Nibbled at on course to go off second favourite at 5/2, the son of Global View led throughout. He only had to be pushed out in the short home straight and cruised in by three.
Another to win with authority on this card was the newcomer SCENTED GARDEN in the maiden plate for the girls over 1200m. Soon up handy, Alan Greeff’s charge was ridden to lead approaching the 300m marker and drew clear easily in the closing stages of the race to score by five and three quarters.
Three of the afternoon’s eight races were staged over 1300m and in the fastest of these, the MR92 Handicap, the What A Winter mare FOREHAND gained her first win since relocating to the province. Easy to back at 8/1 on the off Alan Greeff’s charge led throughout. She kept on determinedly over the final 400m and just held on from her gaining stable companion CHAKRI (the favourite) by a half.
Titbits
One of four winners on the card for trainer Alan Greeff, LUNA WISH ran on well from the backend of midfield when getting up late to win the Breeders Guineas Plate for 3yo fillies over 1400m.

Top speedratings for this weekend include:-

Fairview (fri)
Race 1: (1) Andrea 14
Race 2: (2) Ascending Heights 14
Race 3: (2) Bridesmaid Blues 7
Race 4: (7) Tom Tom 45
Race 5: (4) Gold Pact 38
Race 6: (4) Born A Bully 42
Race 7: (7) Twin Falls 41
Race 8: (8) Gimme Katrina 42
Turffontein (sat)
Race 1: (2) Double Hearts 17
Race 2: (2) General Jackson 19
Race 3: (3) Binky 12
Race 4: (1) Chijmes 88
Race 5: (3) Regal Graduation 77
Race 6: (1) Matador Man 100
Race 7: (5) Isphan 70
Race 8: (1) Our Man In Havana 42
Race 9: (3) Varquera 18
Kenilworth (sat)
Race 1: (1) On Captain’s Side 23
Race 2: (1) Diva’s Express 15
Race 3: (1) The Second Wave 24
Race 4: (1) Long Reign 22
Race 5: (4) Over The Odds 58
Race 6: (3) Dragon Power 61
Race 7: (3) Hildegarde 62
Race 8: (12) Rebels Spirit 52
Scottsville (sun)
Race 1: (6) Kinskey’s Tune 4
Race 2: (1) Anika The Angel 15
Race 3: (10) Wave 71
Race 4: (2) Tribal Fusion 81
Race 5: (7) Quick Star 53
Race 6: (10) La Valette 32
Race 7: (1) Marchingontogether 94
Race 8: (5) Excessive Grace 18

Top rated winners last week included

On The Bayou won 16/1
Royal Rustler won 16/1
Thandekhile won 28/10
Razna won 2/1
Undisclosed won 2/1
Still Tappin won 13/20
Al’s My Daddy won 6/10
Jay Fizz won 4/10

Notebook:-

Ralph The Rascal (A Wright, KZN)
Scented Garden (A Greeff, E-Cape)
Sofia Erin (L Forbes, KZN)

FASTEST TIMES

The number of races run over each distance is shown in brackets
*Denotes – Times taken by Clockwatcher

Greyville (poly) 2nd February
Going Standard
Course Variant: 1,36s slow
1100m (1) Jay Fizz 65,33
1400m (5) Caliente 82,72
1600m (2) Caesura 96,15*
2000m (1) Joseph Jagger 122,79

Vaal (classic) 4th February
Penetrometer 22 – Going Good
Course Variant: 0,78s slow
1200m (4) Benji 69,22
1450m (1) Louvain 86,58
1600m (2) Secret Dream 95,97
2000m (1) Ration My Passion 123,41

Scottsville (inside) 5th February
Penetrometer 25 – Going Good
Course Variant: 0,29s slow
1000m (2) Blaze Of Silk 56,58
1200m (2) Tarocco 69,95
1400m (1) Diadala 84,65
1500m (2) Black Fox 91,24
1950m (1) Slievanorra 121,30

Vaal (classic) 6th February
Penetrometer 24 – Going G/Soft
Course Variant: 0,18s slow
1000m (3) Starflash 56,61
1450m (3) Rivonia Boulevard 87,40
2000m (1) Diorama 125,52

Fairview (poly) 7th February
Going Standard
Course Variant: 0,48s slow
1000m (2) Wild Move 57,12
1200m (1) Scented Garden 70,49
1300m (3) Forehand 75,14
1600m (1) Travetire 97,63
2000m (1) Hopeful 121,80

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Clockwatcher’s Top Rated 10-13 February