Our River Of Dreams

Unfortunately both Carry On Alice and Anjaal have been withdrawn - so Zambezi River looks a penalty kick

Zambezi River is our first choice in a  small field

Zambezi River is our first choice in a small field

Trainers Sean Tarry and Mike De Kock provide an island of gems in a sea of mostly middle of the road modesty at the Vaal on Tuesday.

Ed note: Unfortunately both Carry On Alice and Anjaal have been withdrawn.

A five runner Progress Plate hardly sounds inspiring. The race does, however, include such luminaries as a Gr1 winner, a multiple Gr1 placer and a youthful equine millionaire. It is the stuff of midweek punting dreams.

The eight race programme is not the worst card by any means but the Place Accumulator opener run over 1200m stands out as a high quality contest and a rare midweek bonus for race watchers.

Better Things

Trainer Sean Tarry -  powerful duo

Trainer Sean Tarry – powerful duo

It is good to see the powerful yards using a race of this nature to prep for bigger things but there must have been some head scratching as the entries for the R250 000 Gr3 Man O’War Sprint to be run at the end of the month on Classic Day close on Friday 13 March, as we go to print.

Only three horses appear capable of winning the Progress Plate on Tuesday – and all three would not be out of place in that feature line-up.

While Sean Tarry will have plenty of respect for the Mike De Kock-trained Anjaal, the national log leading trainer will consider himself a touch unlucky if he does not win this with either the colt, Zambezi River or his smart filly, Carry On Alice.

Bigger Fish

Both look headed for better – the Senor Santa and Golden Horse Sprint likely targets for Zambezi River, while Carry On Alice may have her sights set on the Computaform Sprint and the SA Fillies Sprint.

Zambezi River just fails behind Brutal Force

Zambezi River just fails behind Brutal Force

The Trippi colt won his first three races on the trot, including a bank balance boosting win in the Lanzerac Ready To Run Stakes in Cape Town in November. His current career earnings of R1 325 000 bear testimony to that payday.

After a quiet fifth placing in the Cape Guineas, he was desperately unlucky to be beaten by Brutal Force in the CTS Stakes over the Kenilworth.

He had no luck when bumped and cramped before not threatening Harry’s Son in the Gauteng Guineas a fortnight ago.

The jury is still out as to whether Zambezi River is a miler or a sprinter – while he has shown himself to be genuine quality in the speed stakes (besides a propensity to be slow away), in time he could yet mature into a horse who stays on a bit.

He carries topweight here and gives his superior rated stablemate Carry On Alice 2,5kgs.

Very Quick

Carry On Alice wins the Gr1 SA Nursery at Turffontein on 2014-04-26

Gr1 winner Carry On Alice is very fast

The winner of the Gr1 SA Nursery last term, the lightning fast Carry On Alice has shown herself to be a versatile quality daughter of Captain Al, and her MR of 107 underlines this.

She comes off a six week break after being hampered when 2,35 lengths behind Inara in the Majorca Stakes on Met day.

Much like her stablemate, she is another on whom the distance jury is out – but she could blitz this lot off their feet on any given Tuesday.

The Australian

Mike De Kock - Tarry's only threat with Anjaal

Mike De Kock – Tarry’s only threat with Anjaal

Mike De Kock’s Australian-bred Anjaal looks the only opposition for Tarry,

The son of Lonhro finished a half length behind Harry’s Son in the Gauteng Guineas, but ran two Gr1 places as a 2yo and is a high quality colt that cannot be underestimated.

Joey Soma’s Translator was bizarrely tried over 2600m last time but pulled up not striding out and reverts to the sprints again.

He has some leeway to make up.

Not Likely

Coenie De Beer saddles Kostya Zu, who races off a modest rating of 74 and looks to be making up the numbers.

The son of Lithuanian has won once from six starts and showed plenty of pace last time over the course and distance when a well beaten 1,75 lengths by the highly thought of Alec Laird sprinter, Dollar Dazzler.

His only win was over Tuesday’s course and distance, but he has made respiratory noises at his last two outings and this won’t aid his cause.


The Tarry duo look to be the two to be with.

Realistically, only Anjaal could beat either of them.

Zambezi River is a slow starter, but his sprint form is impeccable and he is the choice to deliver the goods in a race where very few PA tickets look likely to be consigned to the dustbin.

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