With no black type available, in what is a very busy program in midweek, the highest rated equine athletes contest a progress plate at Greyville on Tuesday night. 50 runners were originally nominated for the event, but such was the calibre of the early acceptors, that just eight stood their ground, writes Steve Furnish.
The highest rated runner in the field, and indeed best in at the weights, is the Justin Snaith trained Run For It. Third in the prestigious J&B Met last time out, this son of Dynasty showed enormous improvement during the course of last season, and his style of racing would suggest that we haven’t seen the best of him yet. He would ideally prefer further though, and returning from a three month break here, his trainer will no doubt be happy if he shows his well being by flying up late.
Royal Zulu Warrior
The dark horse of the race is undoubtedly the unbeaten Royal Zulu Warrior. Ultra impressive in all three of his racecourse appearances, nothing has been able to get within six lengths of Tony Rivalland’s charge as yet. He quickened away in impressive fashion when beating the useful Ridethebreeze in his latest start over 1200m and with that one having finished a close up second in the Gr3 Byerley Turk in his only subsequent outing, Royal Zulu Warrior clearly has a very bright future ahead of him.
Excuse My French
Equally effective on both good and soft ground, the lightly raced Excuse My French has been progressing very nicely. He ran on well when shedding his maiden tag over 1200m at this circuit in his penultimate start and having again finished best of all when a runner up last time out, he is clearly better than rated. Further improvement looks sure to be forthcoming with globetrotter Kevin Shea now in the saddle, and the extra should suit.
Alyson Wright’s charge has gained two of his three career wins at Greyville and those do include a victory over today’s distance. He bounced right back to best when out at the weights in a Conditions event just 10 days ago, and he was once rated higher than his current mark. He should be thereabouts.
Doug Campbell’s charge is in good form at the moment and he does go well at this circuit. As his tally of just two wins from18 starts will attest though, he hasn’t found winning easy, and once again a place looks to be his best hope.
Once rated 15 points higher than he is today, the Woodborough colt Aim High showed promise early in his career. He has been well below best for a long time now though, and without a win since opening his account on debut, and badly out at the weights here to boot, he cannot be fancied.
As with Aim High, Kilcoy Castle was once rated many points higher by the official handicapper than he is today. He had failed to make the Quartet in ten starts prior to being laid off and having not raced for 18 months, he is clearly best just watched.
Formerly with Geoff Woodruff, this son of Thunder Gulch finished a close up sixth in the Gr2 Gauteng Guineas two years ago. As with a number of the runners in this event though, his better days do look to be behind him. He’s been very sparingly raced in the last two seasons and having been well beaten in his latest start following a five month break, he is not easy to fancy.
About The Pace
They usually set off at a fair clip over 1400m at this circuit and although just eight go to post, there is enough speed in the race to suggest that a fair pace will be forthcoming. Run For It is the class act in the field and although he is clearly being prepared for top class features during the Natal season, he is sure to be going like a boeing when the race begins in earnest. The exciting prospect Royal Zulu Warrior on the other hand is fighting fit and is sure to be right there when they come off the bend. He does have a bit to find at the weights, but the manner in which he has won his three starts would suggest that he could be up there with the very best. He gets the vote.