Meryl Tries The All-Weather

Daughter of Tiger Ridge set for a double

A non black-type feature tops the weekend national billing at Fairview on Friday. The fillies and mares Walmer Handicap has attracted a field of nine and should prove a competitive puzzle to unravel.

Local champion trainer Alan Greeff has a powerful three-cornered hand for the 1800m contest, with recent Listed Jockey Club Stakes winner Meryl out for a double after her breathtaking victory last time out.

Meryl flashes up to win the Listed Jockey Club Stakes (Pic – Pauline Herman)

The daughter of Tiger Ridge was left on a 101 rating by the NHRA handicappers after getting up in the final stride to beat Raven Girl. That run capped an excellent second on her East Cape debut and she is being kept in training for another season – a sign that she is loving her racing and will be very competitive. Charles Ndlovu, who rode such a pearler to win last time, is in the saddle again. She takes her time to find her feet and the change of surface and the 200m drop in trip are the only cautionaries for us.

Her stablemate Ontenderhooks, formerly with Candice Bass-Robinson, found her feet at just her third run in the Eastern Cape with a runaway success over Friday’s course-and-distance. This is tougher and Meryl stands in her way as a major centre stakes winner.

Ontenderhooks won well last time (Pic – Pauline Herman)

The SP top-rated, Jacques Strydom’s hardknocking 7yo Sao Paulo bounced back from an unsuccessful Flamingo Park raid early in August, when she ran on well to beat Double Black over the poly mile on 2 September. She tries the 1800m for the first time, but it is worth noting that her well-performed dam won up to 2000m.

Flying Squadron had no luck in the Jockey Club Stakes when cramped in running and being forced to ease. She has had four runs in this region and won her first start on the polytrack – so may warrant inclusion if she steps up further on the surface.

Seeking Wisdom ran a poor race in the Listed Jockey Club Stakes and dropped out to finish close on 24 lengths off Meryl. There was no official explanation for that strange effort and she could bounce back if finding her best form.

Delia’s Delight challenged strongly in the Jockey Club Stakes and was beaten a shade over a length into fourth behind Meryl. Her previous poly run was slightly below par. She is 3kgs better off with Meryl and must be a serious runner.

Former KZN-based Dean Kannemeyer charge Pearl Glow showed promising earlier form but has not run for 29 weeks and has her first run in the Eastern Cape.

Rocksette appears to have lost her better form of 2018 and was reported not striding out last time – that was only a fortnight ago.

Lateral’s Flash is the third of the handily weighted 52kg crew and the Gavin Smith charge loves the all-weather surface. She ran on steadily behind Ontenderhooks last time and even though well beaten by 4,50 lengths, she comes in on 4,5kgs better terms and should be held again.

If she doesn’t get found too far out of her ground, Meryl looks likely to follow up. The dangers are Sao Paulo and Ontenderhooks.

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