Follow The Swift

Not for the faint hearted

Looking for a favourite’s graveyard? There’s no better than the Sycamore Sprint, if results from the last years are anything to go by.

Perfumed Lady_v20150926 (2)_web

The promising Captain Al filly Perfumed Lady returns after a 4-month break, wearing blinkers for the first time. Mike de Kock’s filly is the winner of three of her first four starts

Since Smangaliso (16/1) in 2010, winners have come home at ten, eleven, twelve, and fourteen to one. The only one to start in single figures was Extra Zero in 2012, at 7/2. Not a favourite in sight, not even in the trifectas.

So with that nugget of wisdom unearthed, a preview of the Sycamore Sprint handicap is not for the faint hearted. Sixteen fillies and mares make up a full field for this year’s 1160m dash, at weights ranging from 60 down to 52kg. Let’s try and do the impossible, starting at the top.

Sarve charges clear under Francois Naude (JC Photos)

Sarve – handicapper may have her measure

Lone top weight at 60kg is Sarve, who mixes turf and sand racing and whose form is mostly erratic. She won her last start over 1200m in Kimberley earlier this month, following a break since November. That was a conditions race in modest company and she’ll have to do a lot more here to score again. The impression is that the handicapper has her measure.

Winter Star, with second top-weight, has been dropped by 2 MR points following an unplaced run over 1400m (an unusual distance for her).

That may not be enough and she is another who looks to have a stiff task at the weights. She has three stable companions in the field.

One of those is Silver Class who has contested only conditions races this year, showing form some way below her previous best. The return to handicap weights will need a substantial improvement in form.

Be Mine Tonight usually races over distances of 1400m and more, and is unlikely to reproduce her best up the straight here. Last of the Van Vuuren-quartet is Seattle Lady, whose last two efforts were somewhat below her best form. She tries blinkers again, which might be to her advantage.

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Easy Game – career best at penultimate start

Easy Game is a 5yo daughter of Var and put up a career best effort when winning over 1000m here early in March, beating stable companion Spring Wonder.

She followed that two weeks later with a close fifth behind Gun Fighter, after her merit rating had gone up by six points. Lightly raced three-year-old Spring Wonder is one kilo better off with Easy Game, for a 2-length beating. She will probably race with the pace (as she usually does) and might well turn the tables on Easy Game.

The Tarry stable has three representatives.

Khumalo has the mount on Tiger’s Touch, who hasn’t been out of the first two in her last four starts. The handicapper may have her measure, though, and she has her work cut out.

Stable companion Swift Sarah could be an interesting back-up.

Sean Tarry - strong hand

Sean Tarry – strong hand

The 3yo is lightly raced, and after a career best performance (on our ratings at least) over 1200m at the Vaal in January, travelled to the Cape for the Million Dollar two weeks later. She ran no sort of race in the 1400m event, and was again below best on her return, in the race won by Easy Game from Spring Wonder. If she can reproduce her best January effort she has a big chance here.

The third of the Tarry runners is Seventh Heart whose last three runs have been over 1400 and 1600m, and who probably isn’t a sprinter.

Trippi filly Ha Lucy is another from the Easy Game form line, where she finished 4 lengths behind the winner. That form was below that of her previous run, when she won over 1000m at the Vaal after a sluggish starts. She usually comes from behind and will need luck to make those tactics work up the straight here. Ha Lucy’s stable companion Drifting Dusk finished just in front of her in the Easy Game race. She could well be better than rated and seems likely to again be ahead of Ha Lucy.

Lumya finished third to Easy Game and Spring Wonder last time out. She’s better off at the weights this time and looks to have as good a chance as her two conquerors here. She has good recent form.

Sensible Lover - not a sprinter

Sensible Lover – not a sprinter

Richard Fourie gets the mount on the well travelled Sensible Lover, who has ability, but who isn’t a sprinter and should find this much too sharp.

The very lightly raced Trippi filly Kilauea has two wins from three starts to her credit, both over 1200m. Her second win, earlier in March, came after a lay-off since October. That was a career best in terms of ratings, suggesting that she will be better still. This race will tell.

Mike de Kock has Perfumed Lady, who blotted her copybook last November following 3 wins from her first 3 starts, all at short odds. Expectation is that she’s better than rated, but the break of almost 4 months following a below-par run must be a concern. She tries blinkers for the first time here.

If it is again to be a long priced winner, side with Swift Sarah and Drifting Dusk.

If the trend is reversed, then Kilauea and Perfumed Lady at shorter prices may be the ones to be with. Clearly a very competitive sprint and not a race to go short in.

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