The racing public is on a diet of rations again this weekend and we have to be content with a main course of a R120 000 MR 102 rated handicap on the Turffontein inside track on Saturday. With much of the field having a prep outing, our chief interest may rest on anticipating just how good Mike de Kock’s Supreme Cup casualty Toro Rosso really is, as he reverts back to the turf.
The 4yo son of Elusive Quality has won three of his six outings by an aggregate 18,60 lengths and two of those wins were on the sand.
He is an exciting prospect – and being named after an Italian Formula One team owned by Austrian beverage company Red Bull, gives him the added charisma that accompany good horses.
Toro Rosso came into Africa’s richest race on that surface as something of a talking horse – but his 14 from 14 draw effectively destroyed any chance he may have had.
The Brazilian-bred chestnut was always going to have a mountain to climb, but he nevertheless emerged with credibility, hanging on for fourth cheque, just under 7 lengths behind Deputy Jud.
That was a fair effort for an inexperienced horse who was forced to gallop at virtually top speed and around his rivals to get into some sort of challenging position in the early stages – and then still fought tooth and nail to stay in contention for a share of the prize money in a most competitive race.
“This was a big run from Toro Rosso as he had to work very hard from an impossible draw. He’s a good horse and we’ll be hoping he can take his form to the turf tracks now, ” was the official word from the top stable after the race.
It must be of some concern that he has made respiratory noises at most of his starts – but his trainer will no doubt have that under control.
Well, talking aside, Toro Rosso gets his chance under top jockey Anthony Delpech from a good draw in hardknocking handicap company on Saturday to prove his worth .
His stablemate Crevasse is another well-bred and promising 4yo.
He returned from a break of six months last time and moved up menacingly, before losing power to finish two lengths behind The Captain’s Tune in an MR 92 Handicap at the Vaal.
He carries a galloping 52kgs and will strip fitter this time. Just note that he was also due to run 48 hours earlier at Turffontein on Thursday.
The third of the De Kock trio is the rather disappointing Anjaal, who failed to show and returned lame off-hind when 6,50 lengths off Trip To Heaven in the Gr2 Joburg Spring Challenge.
The promising Prince Of Orange has his first run since gelding and also reverts to wearing no blinkers.
On best form the son of Indigo Magic looks quite competitive, and will surely improve on his disappointing last sand effort.
The class act in the race is the topweighted Heavy Metal, who will be ridden by the in-form Andrew Fortune.
The son of Silvano has not visited the winner’s box since the 2013 Vodacom Durban July but has reasonable form – and has his second run after a mid-year four month break.
It is on the short side for Lions Emblem and Noble Star.
While Toro Rosso has plenty to do on paper, he has the stamp of quality about him that suggests that he is streets ahead of the handicapper and the form guides.
He is the choice to beat Crevasse with Heavy Metal and Prince Of Orange fighting over place money.