Roll Out The Barrel

Fairview Mile (NBT) at Fairview on Friday

Red Barrel

Opener. The smart Red Barrel makes his local debut for Tara Laing at Fairview on Friday

The 2011 R2 million Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Cup winner Red Barrel makes his Eastern Cape debut for the in form Tara Laing yard on Friday. The son of Right Approach contests the R100 000 Fairview Mile and gets weight from the local star miler, Celtic Fire. It should be a closely contested affair.

Trainer Tara Laing registered a hat trick of winners at the track last Friday, and also filled the exacta in the feature, with Vauclair outpointing his stablemate Protest Song late in a tight finish to the Fairview Merchants.

Local Debut

The competitive Miss Laing will be keen to win Friday’s non black type feature again for her boss, and if she has Red Barrel fit after his trip from the De Kock yard in Gauteng, he could well make it a winning start in the Windy City.

Red Barrel is certainly a good sort, although he has never really reached the heights predicted when he won the Ready To Run Cup at his second outing. The form of the restricted races have been known to have limitations. Interestingly a horse he meets on Friday was 1,50 lengths behind him at Turffontein on that November Saturday.

That horse was Blaze Of Fire, who finished third in the Cup. He has won 7 races (admittedly in weaker company) as opposed to Red Barrel’s 3 wins, and is also Gr1 placed in KZN. Red Barrel was narrowly beaten at his last start by the strong frontrunner Spitfire Run in an MR 96 Handicap over a mile at Turffontein on 17 December. Red Barrel ran on strongly there and looks competitive here. He has never won beyond 1400m and could enjoy a true run race in this company.

Bremner Duo

The Yvette Bremner duo of Celtic Fire and Blaze Of Fire are the two top rated runners in this field and stand between Red Barrel and victory. Celtic Fire is a household name in the territory and has won 16 of his 52 starts. He has an excellent record in this race and won it in 2012.

He ran unplaced in the Charity Mile at Turffontein in November and then bounced back smartly with a fluid win in the Memorial Mile back in his hometown.We have already mentioned his stablemate Blaze Of Fire. He enjoys Luyola Mxothwa’s claim and is no slouch at all. He looks well in here on the handicap on his best form, but the Victory Moon entire has not run for 18 weeks and may need the run.

Justin Snaith’s Ottimo will be a fit horse. He ran on Met day when finishing fifth and 3,65 lengths behind surprise winner Castlethorpe. The son of Oratorio is well drawn and as a lightly raced six time winner from a top yard he warrants inclusion in all bets.

Wiese Pair

Mitch Wiese saddles Silent Partner and Shujaa. Top local jockey Wayne Agrella is an interesting riding engagement for Silent Partner. The son of Silvano was quietly fancied in the Fairview Merchants last Friday, but never got into the race and was always on the back foot.

He finished stone last there but may have enjoyed the gallop and should strip fit for this race. He was beaten 2,25 lengths at level weights by Celtic Fire in the Memorial Mile late in December and is now 3kgs better off with the Bremner miler. The Australian bred Shujaa is a pacy fellow who has lost his form of late. He tends to fade rather than go on with it these days, and will have to improve to have any chance of challenging here. He is very badly in at the weights.

Good Greeff

The Alan Greeff coupling of Way Clear and Lord Badger are both capable of upsetting. The Ashaawes gelding Way Clear has enjoyed the polytrack facility and has won his last two starts on that surface. He is held by a horse like Silent Partner and interestingly runs with a merit rating boosted more by polytrack performance than turf runs.

He will strip fit though and should have a serious hope of running into the back end of quartets. His stablemate Lord Badger appears to have his problems and has no recent form to recommend him. The Hekkie Strydom trained Russian Mig never finishes too far off and gives the impression that he will be entirely comfortable over a trip like this. He finished just over 2 lengths behind Vauclair in the Fairview Merchants and from the 1 draw could challenge for place money.

Off Form

The Gavin Smith trained grey Occhi Di Lupo will be ridden by S’manga Khumalo from 2 draw. The son of Dupont was highly rated as a top sprinter in his days with Dennis Bosch in KZN but has not sparked this season. He was found not striding out when running 8 lengths behind Blackmalkin at Fairview three weeks ago. That was his first start in five months and he now tries a mile. It may be a sign of frustration, more than anything else.


There are bigger more complex fields to unravel on the card. It makes no sense going against a proven miler like Celtic Fire. He is fit and consistent and has proven himself to be very reliable. But a fit and ready Red Barrel could give him something to think about.

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