Spring Starts Again

Fitness and draw the key factors

After an unforeseen hitch last Saturday, the start of the 2018 Highveld Spring Season gets a second chance today with the running of the first graded stakes feature of the new racing season.

With a few of the class contenders coming off a rest, the barrier draw and fitness may be key to solving the puzzle in the Gr3 Spring Spree Stakes.

Talktothestars – could well need the outing

Carrying top weight in the 1200m Turffontein Inside Track handicap, the class act Talktothestars returns to action after a 22 week break and gets the bonus of a 1 draw and powerful veteran Mark Khan. The 7yo is probably past his brilliant best but would only need to rekindle his earlier fire to have a shout.

Mike de Kock has indicated that the highly regarded Redoute’s Choice grey Mujallad has improved after a 12 week rest and gelding and the Australian-bred 4yo could produce the goods back on home turf. A winner of 3 of his thirteen starts, he was considered Gr1 material early on and the Inglis Easter Sale graduate could prove some value.

Chimichuri Run – progressive sort

The only 3yo in the field, Sean Tarry’s Gr3 Umkhomazi Stakes winner Chimichuri Run is promising and progressive and put up sterling third-placed finishes in both the SA Nursery and the Gr1 Gold Medallion. From the 4 draw, he could prove his credentials and go very close under S’manga Khumalo.

Clinton Binda throws the speedy Premier Show into deeper waters after two fair thirds behind Isphan. He was regarded good enough to make a bid for the Daisy Guineas down at Greyville last term and has place credentials.

The revitalised 7yo Splendid Garden is one of a trio bidding to give the Azzie team a double in the race. The course and distance winner seldom runs a bad race and he could threaten the more fancied runners from his decent draw.

Grant Maroun’s speedy Great Britain mare Wrecking Ball is probably best at 1000m and could battle against the boys.

Mrs O – game sort (Pic- JC Photographics)

Second of the fairer sex duo, Mrs O is a very game daughter of Oratorio and bumps a solid field after an 11 week break. She gets the blinkers fitted again and was only 3,85 lengths off subsequent Gr1 star Redberry Lane in the Syringa Handicap. She showed pace when beaten 2 lengths by Dame Eleanor last time ad her jockey Muzi Yeni rode over 20 winners in the opening month of the season.

The poorly drawn Finchatton comes back after an 11 week break and doesn’t have the recent form to suggest he could take on and beat the better ones here. The son of Right Approach was beaten into sixth and just under 4 lengths behind Will Pays in the corresponding feature a year ago.

Clever Guy found his best form when showing speed and beating Angel’s Power by over 3 lengths a long odds over the Turffontein 1000m last time. He has to beat the wide draw and show that was no flash in the pan.

Lucky Houdalakis 6yo Just As I Said has not won in ages and could have a place chance at a stretch. The five-time winner’s last five runs have not been the worst but he appears to have the winning edge.

The former Joey Ramsden speed merchant Tar Heel is the second of the Terzi duo. The son of Var has his second run for his new yard and but looks held on his form of last season.

Angel’s Power – runs for Piere Strydom

Third of the Azzie trio, Angel’s Power has run second in this race in consecutive years and flew up late last year to be beaten only a length by Will Pays. Piere Strydom is again in the saddle but the son of Miesque’s Approval jumps from the widest draw and will need to maintain his recent improved form.

It’s a tricky handicap and we are leaning towards Chimichuri Run and Mujallad to fight it out. Talktothestars is all class and he could be pegging them back late in the race as he runs well fresh.

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