A Rock And A Hard Place

MR90 Handicap over 1200m at Vaal on Tuesday

Hard Rock finished a close up fifth in last season’s Gr1 Golden Horseshoe

The highest purse on offer for runners on turf in midweek is that put aside for the MR90 Handicap at the Vaal on Tuesday. A spread of just 5,5kg covers the vast majority of the runners, so a very competitive contest can be expected.

Paella from the in form stable of Dominic Zaki heads the weights. Beaten just 3,75 lengths by the subsequent Gr1 Computaform Sprint winner Shea Shea three runs back, this son of Toreador is in good form at the moment and he has won three of his previous outings over today’s course and distance.

Where’s My Chop

Three of today’s runners including Paella met in a similar event over today’s course and distance last time out and the one who came out best was Where’s My Chop. Another with an exceptionally good record over today’s trip, St John Gray’s charge has won three of his last four starts. He’s still improving and looks sure to be right there again.

Made Of Magic

St John Gray is also represented by Made Of Magic. Whereas Where’s My Chop is at the top of his game right now though, this son of Announce has lost his form and having only managed to win once in sixteen outings over today’s trip, he is best just watched for now.

Hard Rock

The dark horse of the race is Hard Rock. Formerly with Deon Visser in Natal this son of National Emblem showed real potential as a juvenile last season, most notably when a 1,7 length fifth to Fighting Warrior in the Gr1 Golden Horseshoe over 1400m at Greyville. Equally effective over today’s distance, Mike De Kock’s charge races off a rating 9 points lower than that of his earlier mark and if ready after a break must be a very serious runner here.


Lance Wiid’s charge has won four of his eleven starts this season and interestingly, all of those successes have been gained over today’s course and distance. He had excuses having been reported as lame on the near fore when down field last time out and now 3kg better off at the weights with Where’s My Chop for a beating of just a neck in February, he clearly has claims if all is now well.

Bermuda Winter

Another in good form at the moment and closely matched with others in this race is Bermuda Winter. His three wins have all been gained elsewhere, but he has finished close up behind Edict and Where’s My Chop in his two starts over today’s trip, and he is now better off at the weights with both.


A runner up to the subsequent Gr1 winner Gold Onyx in the Gr3 Protea Stakes, Leglislature was close to the best of his generation as a juvenile. Since returning from a layoff of over a year in December though, he’s been below best and looks held.


Another once rated considerably higher than his current mark is Rabadash. Not the soundest of characters, Rabadash has come to hand nicely in recent outings and he has run on particularly well to win each of his last two starts. Those successes were both gained over further though and yet to score in six outings over 1200m, he could find this a bit sharp.

Tiger Flash

One of three 3yo’s in the event, Lucky Houdalakis’ charge has gained both of his wins over today’s trip. Strictly by the book he is held on his latest effort behind Where’s My Chop, but he does have plenty of scope for further improvement.

Legal Account

Beaten just a length and a quarter when third in the KRA Fillies Guineas last season, Legal Account, amazingly, has only won one race. He’s usually seen out over further and having run poorly in his two starts since relocating to Gauteng, he seems unlikely here.

Napoleon Dynamite

The 6yo Napoleon Dynamite has gained four of his five career victories over 1200m. He’s been performing at the top of his game since relocating to Gauteng and he was only run out of it late when beaten by Where’s My Chop three runs back. Napoleon Dynamite is now 1,5kg better off at the weights with Where’s My Chop for a neck beating.

Tiger Tales

Clinton Binda’s charge won well when shedding his maiden tag over 1160m in December and was then only picked off late when a runner up to Oh Driscoll next time out. Further improvement looked sure to be forthcoming at that point, but having finished a well beaten last of fourteen on his return from a four month break just two weeks ago, he is best just watched here.

About The Pace

With plenty of speed amongst the twelve going to post, at least a good pace looks assured. There’s little between these hard knocking handicappers and plenty have chances. The 3yo Hard Rock did show real potential earlier though and he could prove too classy if ready after a break. Watch the betting.

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