MR94 Handicap over 1600m at Vaal on Tuesday
With the best of the season’s sand racing now behind us, both meetings at the Vaal in midweek will be run on turf. Two MR94 handicaps head up the eight race program on Tuesday, the most interesting of which looks to be the 1600 affair, writes Steve Furnish.
Shouldering top weight of 60kg is the hat trick seeking Titano. A winner of seven of his twenty races to date, Erico Verdonese’s charge has been progressing very nicely during the course of 2011, and he has won his last two starts going away. His usual partner Gavin Lerena is not riding at this meeting and his four latest successes have all been gained over a tad further. Jockey Deon Sampson is a very able substitute though, and this son of Doowaley has previously won over today’s course and distance.
The West Man gelding Super Trouper showed considerable improvement during the first half of last season and after gaining back to back victories in December, he ran a fair third in the listed Sea Cottage Stakes. Super Trouper later finished third in the non black type Egoli Mile and although he didn’t take his place because of the date change, he was scheduled to run in the Natal Guineas. Super Trouper was below best in his latest start over 1700m here in May, and returning from a four month break here one is not quite sure what to expect. His stable has come to form nicely in recent weeks though. Watch the betting.
Another to look out for in the betting market is Enchanted Kingdom. The stable of Paul Peter has a big following and this highly regarded daughter of Kahal has shown flashes of real ability. She was reported as lame on the off fore when making her first appearance on the highveld earlier in the month, but she did run on well to win each of her two previous outings. She could still improve plenty and on that alone must have a shout.
Once rated 89, this 6yo son of Al Mufti has some fair earlier form to his name. His wins have been few and far between though, and he is yet to score over a trip further than 1400m. He’s battled to find his form since returning from a ten month break in July and although he did show signs of life when five lengths off Always Al on the sand last time out, he is perhaps best just watched for now.
Equally effective on sand, this son of Wolfhound is a bit of a dark horse. He’s a powerful front runner on his day and after showing steady improvement during the course of last season, he ran a good third in the listed Derby Trial at Turffontein in April. That run, along with the rest of his best form was over further, and he is yet to score over a trip shorter than 1800m. He returns from a five month break here and will more than likely need the run. His stable is in good form at the moment though and if ready he could take some pegging back.
Rarely out of the frame, it’s hard to believe that the 5yo Amatol has only managed to win one race when you look at some of his earlier form. His ratings have been very in and out in our book of late, but he has finished a runner up in each of his last three outings. Amatol goes particularly well over today’s distance, as his recent runs to Tender Twilight and Wildest Dream will attest. Pierre Strydom was in the saddle when he gained his only win to date and together they are yet to be unplaced.
Another who is undoubtedly better than his current win record would suggest is the Spectrum gelding Spectaboolous. Paul Matchett’s charge runs on well on his day and would certainly have a shout at today’s weights if reproducing his 2,25 lengths second to House Of Wax in May. His form has taken a bit of a dive since then though and having been well beaten in weaker company in each of his last two starts, he is not easy to fancy here.
The veteran Zebulon gained his last win over today’s distance, but that latest success was over a year ago now. He’s failed to fill a place in the Trifecta in eleven starts since then and in under sufferance to boot here, he is unlikely to find friends in the ring.
About The Pace
With the only front runner amongst the eight racing down this long straight coming off a break, there has to be a chance that the race will develop into a sprint. Super Trouper and the only female in the race Enchanted Kingdom undoubtedly have chances if putting their best foot forward and both Amatol and Masai Warrior are not out of it. Titano has won each of his latest two outings going away though, and clearly still improving could well complete the hat trick.