In Full Bloom

MR92 Handicap over 1200m at Scottsville on Wednesday

Country Rose has shown enormous improvement in recent starts.

MR92 Handicap over 1200m at Scottsville on Wednesday

In just a blink of an eye our race horses will all be a year older at midnight on Sunday 31st July and with the changing of the seasons’ also taking place at the same time, racing is of a rather quiet nature in midweek, writes Steve Furnish.

Of particular interest at Scottsville on Wednesday is a MR92 Handicap over 1200m.

Autumn Gold

The top weight Autumn Gold ran close to all of River Jetez, Gibraltar Blue and Here To Win at the back end of last season and at that stage of her career was rated 6 points higher than she is here. Since finishing a close up second in a pinnacle event at Turffontein last October though, she’s battled to find her form and hasn’t filled a place in the quartet in twelve starts. Her last two runs in particular have been very poor and on that alone she is best just watched for now.

Country Rose

The runner with the second highest merit rating in the field, Country Rose on the other hand has been improving rapidly. Indeed, she’s run on well to win each of her last two starts. This daughter of Camden Park was out at the weights with most when winning a pinnacle event last time out and because of the rules surrounding that event, she could only be raised a maximum of 6 points. Further improvement is sure to be forthcoming from Country Rose here and she is in all probability already a little underrated.

Lone Coupling

The only coupling in the race is that of Mark Dixon. He saddles both Bellagio and Honolulu.

Bellagio has gained four of her six victories over 1200m, and interestingly, three of those wins came over today’s course and distance. She’s come to hand nicely in recent starts and looks sure to be involved.

Sixth in the Ready To Run Cup last November, Honolulu showed real promise earlier in the season. Her recent starts have been a little disappointing in comparison though, and having failed to make the frame since being reported as not striding out three runs back, one has to have concerns.

First Sovereign

The Modern Day filly First Sovereign has performed with credit since shedding her maiden tag in January and both of her wins have been gained over today’s course and distance. Glen Kotzen’s charge has been very comfortably beaten by Country Rose in each of her last two outings, but she is now 3kg better off at the weights with that one and the talented Sean Cormack jumps into the saddle.

Brown Eyed Beauty

I remember being impressed when Brown Eyed Beauty came from the clouds to win over today’s distance at Greyville on debut back in Apr ’10. She’s only managed to win once since then though and that success was the only occasion in which she has made the frame in her fourteen subsequent outings. Her merit rating has plummeted as a result of those performances though and she is now racing off a mark some 16 points below that of her former best.

Roxie Heart

Formerly based in the Eastern Cape, Roxie Heart was as consistent as they come, missing the frame just once in ten starts. She’d caught the eye running on nicely on a number of occasions at that centre, but it was still a bit of a surprise when she won under an apprentice in her first start here. Dennis Drier’s charge ran on well to beat seventeen rivals in that latest start and should strip fitter here. She can improve.

Indigo Princess

Since winning her first two starts over the minimum distance of 800m, Indigo Princess has kept very good company, and most notably, she was only beaten by four lengths when third to Hidden Beauty over 1160m at Turffontein in the Gr2 SA Fillies Nursery. She races in handicap company for the first time here and has to be a threat if ready after a two month break.

Western Baby

Although Yogis Govender’s charge is yet to win beyond 1000m, she commands a very nice turn of foot and has given the impression on a number of occasions that today’s trip will suit. She goes particularly well at this Pietermaritzburg circuit and she was finishing almost as well as the winner Country Rose when only beaten a short head by that one over today’s distance at Clairwood last time out. Western Baby is 3kg better off at the weights with Jeff Freedman’s charge here and on paper should turn the tables.

About The Pace

With just nine runners going to post, there has to be a possibility that the pace will be a false one. There is some speed in the race though, so hopefully at least a fair pace will be forthcoming. Western Baby is weighted to at least fight it out and a big run can be expected. The lightly raced Country Rose has shown tremendous improvement in each of her last two outings though and with Anton Marcus in the saddle she could well confirm her superiority.

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