The withdrawal of Mike de Kock’s Gin Fizz from the fourth race at the Vaal today has thrown the exotics wide open as everybody’s obvious banker won’t run.
The daughter of Soft Falling Rain was to have lined up in a Graduation Plate for fillies and mares over 1000m and had everything in her favour.
But that’s history now and Emerald Tiara from the Sean Tarry yard is now the horse to beat.
The daughter of Gimmethegreenlight has not raced since finishing 17.50 lengths behind Basadi Faith in the SA Fillies Nursery in May last year, a race in which she pulled up lame.
Prior to that she had run three decent races, winning on debut over 800m and then placing third in a Listed and Grade 3 race for juvenile fillies respectively. She is likely to be in need of the run.
Tabnews report that the sixth race is the second Graduation Plate on the card and looks far more competitive. It is over the straight 1600m and no runner has a clear advantage over the rest based on merit ratings.
Tarry probably has the strongest hand with Rivonia Boulevard, marginally the best-handicapped, and Flash Burn, pictured above.
Apprentice Luke Ferraris seems to be the first-choice jockey for the stable these days as he has been getting the plum rides. Ferraris is riding Rivonia Boulevard, but Tarry has a vast array of talented horses in his yard and very often there is very little to choose between them.
He has engaged Gavin Lerena to ride Flash Burn so there will be no shortage of assistance from the saddle in that regard.
Trainer Tyrone Zackey saddles four of the 10 runners and clearly Johnny Hero is the best of his quartet. Interestingly he has engaged Piere Strydom to ride the three-year-old gelding and that is a combination which has produced a number of winners.
Mike Azzie also has two runners and of the pair Bohica must be a contender. This son of Capetown Noir made a return to racing in January after having been gelded, finished just two lengths behind Approach Control in a Graduation Plate over 1450m but then had to contend with a wide draw in the Grade 2 Gauteng Guineas and faded out late.
This will be his third run after the layoff so Bohica should be at peak fitness and will have S’manga Khumalo on his back to guide him home.
The false inside rails are set at 12m in from the 1600m to the 600m, with a 12m spur at the 600m mark. The outside rail is set at zero.
Warren Kennedy is still indisposed and has been replaced on his rides.
The first race is off at 13h10.