A promising young apprentice gets a further chance to pursue one of his life’s ambitions when a top yard gives him another vote of confidence. Apprentice Doctor Sifiso Lembethe rides the Sean Tarry-trained Mythical Palace at the Vaal on Tuesday and must have an excellent chance of building on the partnership record.
Lembethe, who turned 21 this year, lists the suggestion that ‘you get to be famous’ as one of the biggest attractions of being a jockey. While we know that misconception to very often be more the exception than the rule, he gets an opportunity to take his next baby step up the ladder on Tuesday.
Lembethe had ridden Mythical Palace in eight consecutive starts prior to his last run, and has achieved the enviable record of 4 wins and 4 second places.
The Fusaichi Pegasus gelding obviously runs for the good Doctor and after Gavin Lerena partnered him to a slightly below-par fourth at his last outing (he made noises there), they could resume winning ways here.
Mythical Palace only carries 58,5kgs thanks to the apprentice claim and the Australian-bred gelding looks to have every chance of adding to his winning tally here.
We are mindful of the fact that he is three kgs worse off with Dennis The Menace on their last clash, where Mythical Palace won over the course and distance and had Dennis The Menace beaten by 4 lengths. It is also worrying that Mythical Palace made a respiratory noise at his last start, but that does not appear to have been an issue previously.
Mythical Palace is obviously very talented and as a winner of 6 of his 14races, with a further 4 place cheques, his form stands out in this race.
But, and a big one at that, Dom Zaki’s Bezrin gelding Dennis The Menace may well hold the Tarry horse on their last run.
A comparison of the two horses’ form profile is like night and day though.
Formerly based in KwaZulu-Natal Dennis The Menace appears to have enjoyed the move North, and has won once and been on the fringes in most of his nine outings.
He caught the eye last Tuesday evening when running on well from deep midfield for third behind the emphatic winner Sharp Design. That race would have been a positive indicator of his well-being. Muzi Yeni maintains the ride.
His stablemate Oh Driscoll is labouring under an extended dry spell, and has little chance on current exposed form.
The main dangers to Dennis The Menace and Mythical Palace could be the likes of Americano and the lightly raced mare, Mystical Jet.
Robbie Fradd rides Americano for the first time for the Paul Matchett yard.
The Western Winter 4yo won two on the trot before a dull spell, that was punctuated by an excellent effort behind Deliver The Power in the Gr3 Man’O War Sprint at Turffontein at the end of March.
He is 1,5kgs better off with Legal Action on that run, but it should be soberly noted that race was run on very soft ground – which may well have inflated Americano’s effort.
The Clinton Binda yard is going through one of its emerging form phases and Piere Strydom is engaged for his maiden ride aboard the capable Jet Master mare, Mystical Jet.
The Patricia Devine-bred galloper made a smashing start to her delayed track career and won her first three races on the trot, before encountering more difficult hurdles.
That said, she did not disgrace herself with excellent efforts just off the placed horses in both the Sycamore Sprint and the Gardenia Handicap, and while the boys present some touch opposition here, she will be running on under her world-class jockey, whose style will suit her down to the ground.
Romeos Reward is one of the better and more consistent progeny of stallion Fan Club’s Mister and this winner of 3 of 14 starts ran on very strongly last time over when pipped by the capable Polar Moon in a tight finish over the 1000m of the Vaal sand.
The gelding is very fit and appears equally at home on both surfaces.Gavin Lerena, who won on him previously, stays with the ride.
Legal Action is very fast, but appears at his best over 1000m. He ran a disappointing ten lengths off Sharp Design last Tuesday evening under the lights and it could well be that his heavy recent campaign is taking its toll.
Moon Of Rangoon bounced back at his last start when going away smartly to beat Call The Challenge by 1,50 lengths in a Graduation Plate over 1200m on this track.
He is a half kilo worse off with Americano on that run for a 2,25 length beating, but should still hold the Matchett runner.
Moon Of Rangoon ended a lean spell since his debut win – also over the course and distance coincidentally – and now needs to confirm that he can maintain that level.
Leon Erasmus’ Prime Mover is a winner of 7 races and all these victories have been achieved on sand. He is a game and consistent performer but is pounds better on sand.
Brett Webber’s five-time winning Veto has very poor form, but scored his last two wins over the course and distance on sand. His last 9 runs have been below -par , however, and it is difficult suggesting that he could lift his game here.
The formless Ozymandias moves stable from the Human operation to the yard of Craig Mayhew. He is another whose general recent form inspires absolutely no confidence, but the change of scenery may revive his enthusiasm.
So few look capable of winning this race.
We are leaning towards the very consistent Mythical Palace to fight this one out with Dennis The Menace, while Clinton Binda’s Mystical Jet may lift her game in the hands of the master Strydom.
Romeos Reward, Moon Of Rangoon and Americano could be best of the rest.