Vaal 29th January: Favourite backers got off to a nice start at the Vaal’s turf meeting on Sunday when ALPHA ONE (4) did the business in the opening maiden event over 1000m. Sporting blinkers for the first time, the son of Toreador was taken straight to the front by Marthinus Mienie and led throughout. He kept on strongly in the closing stages of the race and in what proved to be a real thriller, he only held on by the narrowest of margins from JOHNNIE QUID.
Much easier a winner was the best bet on the card for most, WHITELINE FEVER (63) in the novice 1400m. In a race where it rained throughout, Sean Tarry’s charge was always handy. He took up the running going through the 500m and comfortably accounted for the regular place getter AMATOL by two and a quarter.
Also worthy of note on this card was the performance of GLORIOUS JET (55) in winning the MR80 affair over 1700m. Sent off second favourite at 33/10, the 3yo son of Jet Master was always positioned close to the speed. He was ridden to lead as they approached the 300m marker and although GHOST DOG chased hard, he went on to score with some in hand by a length and a half. Keep an eye on Glorious Jet. He won well and looks useful.
Positioned well off the leaders going through halfway, the well supported newcomer EXCEPTIONAL DREAMS (5/1 into 22/10) was fairly flying in the closing stages of the maiden 1200m and only failed by the narrowest of margins to deny the runaway pacemaker Naharin.
Ducks To Water
Vaal 31st January: Tuesday’s action took place on the sand where by far the easiest victory on the card, in terms of distance, was that of MR TOBIN (82) who came home smoking in the MR94 Handicap over 1600m. A winner of both of his two previous outings on today’s surface, Mr Tobin was positioned in midfield for most of the journey. He made his move as they approached the 500m pole and after striking the front 300m later, he cruised clear in the closing stages of the race to score by seven and a quarter.
Another to win well in handicap company on this card was BLUE CONCORDE (46) when registering his fourth career victory in the MR75 affair over 1600m. Running on stoutly after racing in midfield, Chris Erasmus’ charge was ridden to lead shortly after passing the 200m marker and comfortably accounted for his fellow joint favourite ZEBULON by a length and a half.
The afternoon’s feature event was the non-black type Summer Speedsters over 1000m and as expected victory here went to last season’s Gauteng Fillies Nursery winner HIDDEN BEAUTY (69). Deep in the red 1/3 on the off, Sean Tarry’s charge got away well when the gates opened and was soon positioned close to the speedy pacemaker LA VOLTA. She was asked to take up the running going through the 400m and only having to be ridden with hands and heels from there onwards, she won comfortably by two and a half.
Now a winner of two from four, lightly raced FORMATION beat some very useful sand performers when cruising in by five and a quarter in the conditions plate over 1600m.
Greyville 31st January: IMPARTIAL JUSTICE (22) in the opening maiden event over 1200m always looked to be the best bet on Tuesday Night’s card and he didn’t let down his supporters. Deep in the red at 6/10 on the off, the son of Greys Inn was soon up handy. He was ridden to lead as they approached the 200m marker and kept on strongly in the closing stages of the race to beat a much improved HILAAL by three quarters.
Race eight on the card was a MR76 Handicap over 1400m and here we saw a smart performance from the lightly raced NORTHERN EMPEROR (64). Sent off a strong favourite at 9/10, Northern Emperor was always positioned close to the pace. He was asked to take up the running shortly after passing the 300m marker and drew clear easily from there onwards to win by four. Northern Emperor has now won both starts in good fashion and is clearly one to keep tabs on.
The lucky last was a maiden event over 1600m and here the locals were sent home happy when DESERT RAPTOR (24) did the business. Backed into 3/1 favourite from 7/2, Alec Laird’s charge wasn’t the quickest into stride and soon found himself positioned in the rear. Once in the short home straight though, he quickened best of all and with the rest well beaten he got up late to beat the well tried SUNCAT going away. Desert Raptor won well and is clearly much better than this bare form line would suggest.
Unable to get within ten lengths of a winner in each of his previous six outings, the 100/1 shot LIBERTY SON ran on strongly when fourth in the maiden event won by Impartial Justice and was only beaten 1,65 lengths.
Easy Maiden Wins
Durbanville 1st February: Wednesday’s action took place at the country course where the easiest victory on the card was recorded by VERTICAL DRIFT (32) in the maiden event over 2400m. Sent off a strong favourite at 17/20, Joey Ramsden’s charge sat fourth of the six for most of the journey. He quickened well early in the home straight and after striking the front 250m from home, he went on to score by four and a half with some in hand.
Another to win well at cramped odds in the maiden ranks was GOLD ACADEMY (25) when opening her account in the 1400m event. Yogis Govender’s charge got away well when the gates opened and soon up handy raced prominent throughout. He was asked to take up the running early in the straight and went on to score by three and three quarters without any anxious moments.
The afternoon’s feature event was a MR80 Handicap over 1800m and here victory went to the top weight GRASP YOUR DESTINY (55). Sent off a rather uneasy favourite at 3/1 (opened 22/10), Grasp Your Destiny raced in midfield during the early part of the race. He ran on stoutly in the home straight and in a race where only a length and a quarter separated the first five home he only held on by the narrowest of margins after striking the front 150m out.
After not getting the clearest of runs, PELICAN POINT was finishing best of all when only beaten a length by Lord Paramount in the MR78 Handicap over 1200m.
Vaal 2nd February: They raced on the turf on Thursday where the first of just two favourites to arrive was THREE NATIONS (49) in the MR75 Handicap over 1000m. Backed throughout the morning into 15/10 from 7/2, Stanley Ferreira’s charge was taken straight to the front and led throughout. She kept on strongly at the business end of the race and although AGAPANTHUS NANA and HOWHIGHCANUFLY both finished well, she went on to score comfortably by a length and a half. Three Nations has won both of her starts in good fashion.
A Pinnacle Stakes over 2400m was next up and in what proved to be a real thriller victory here went to the lesser fancied of Mike De Kock’s two runners DUNRAVEN (68). Allowed to drift right out to 7/1 from 33/10 at the track as his stable companion ATYEB remained firm at the top of the boards, Dunraven raced fifth for most of the journey. Atyeb made the running and as they approached the 400m marker it was clear that he wouldn’t be stopping. Indeed, he had the rest well beaten and it was only in the very last stride that Dunraven got his whiskers in front.
Race six on the card was a MR94 Handicap over 1400m and here we saw a smart performance from the St John Gray trained SUPER TROOPER (68). On leaving the stalls it was MARKET DRIFT who elected to make the running and easily six lengths clear going through the 500m the 9/1 shot had most under pressure. The son of West Man quickened well at that stage though and after striking the front 250m later he easily drew clear.
After racing detached at the rear, the newcomer STRAIGHT SET was running on nicely at the finish of the maiden juvenile event over 1000m and was only beaten a length.
Top speedratings for this weekend include:-
Fairview Race 1: (6) Spartan 5 Race 2: (8) Ok Corral 7 Race 3: (3) Rosette 75 Race 4: (2) South Dakota 54 (EW) Race 5: (7) Solar Charged 70 Race 6: (3) Thunderflash 85 Race 7: (12) Phemba 54 Race 8: (12) Midnight Bet 50 (EW) Kenilworth Race 1: No Qualifiers Race 2: (5) Lookatmego 26 Race 3: (3) Cosmic Flower 2 Race 4: (1) Bronco Buster 19 Race 5: (2) Kwitizina 53 Race 6: (7) Vertical Drift 54 Race 7: (8) Soul Singer 55 Race 8: (5) Falling Blossom 52 Race 9: (5) Boundless Blue 76 (EW) Vaal Race 1: (11) Quick On The Draw 12 (NAP*) Race 2: (1) Pride Of Africa 6 Race 3: (4) Java Junkie 15 Race 4: (8) Silver Forest 36 Race 5: (4) Marius 21 Race 6: (3) Valmorne 53 Race 7: (6) Brandy Nan 59 Race 8: (5) Ahoy Captain 51 Scottsville Race 1: (1) Bella Blue 4 (NAP*) Race 2: (12) Maak ‘n Plan 23 Race 3: (1) Saddle Me Up 2 Race 4: (1) Island Mischief 15 Race 5: (2) Jamal 27 Race 6: (8) Green Day 78 Race 7: (4) Devon Gold 51 Race 8: (2) Unannounced 87 Race 9: (5) Silent Nights 78 Race 10: (17) Bold Princess 56
Top rated winners last week includedFort William won 13/2 Rose Lorraine won 9/2 Lord Paramount won 7/2 Vertical Drift won 17/20 Gold Academy won 15/20 Impartial Justice won 6/10 Premium Wood won 9/20 Hidden Beauty won 1/3
Notebook:-Desert Raptor (A Laird, Gauteng) Glorious Jet (St John Gray, Gauteng) Hidden Beauty (S Tarry, Gauteng)
FASTEST TIMES(Shown in brackets is the number of races run in each category)
Vaal 29th January Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (6) Alpha One Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (2) Whiteline Fever Fastest Long 1900-3600 (1) Euterpe
.Vaal 31st January Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (3) Captain Winter Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (5) Mr Tobin Fastest Long 1900-3600 (0) No Qualifiers
.Greyville 31st January Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (4) Read My Heart Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (4) Northern Emperor Fastest Long 1900-3600 (1) Rokocoko
.Durbanville 1st February Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (3) Callisto Moon Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (4) Grasp Your Destiny Fastest Long 1900-3600 (1) Vertical Drift
.Vaal 2nd February Fastest Sprint 1000-1300 (2) Three Nations Fastest Middle 1400-1800 (6) Super Trooper Fastest Long 1900-3600 (1) Dunraven