Sunset Eyes to shine bright
FORMER Vodacom Durban July winner Legislate will be one of the centres of attention when he runs in the Gr2 Post Merchants at Greyville tonight.
Legislate’s stud career was cut short as he has fertility problems so just how he performs back on the racetrack after an absence of two years will be interesting.
He hacked up in a recent barrier trial at Scottsville but tonight’s race is a different proposition.
He was carrying plenty of condition in his trial and is unlikely to strip anywhere near his peak, but he does have class on his side.
The Post Merchants has a reputation of throwing up surprise results and tonight’s race could be no different as it has attracted a highly competitive field and the list of possible winners is a long one.
Likely favourite is the Brett Crawford-trained Sunset Eyes, who finished second to stable companion Bold Respect in the recent Tsogo Sun Sprint. Sunset Eyes recorded his last win over Friday’s course and distance and both he and the Crawford stable are in mustard form. Joey Ramsden was disappointed with Attenborough’s run in the Tsogo Sun Sprint and the Gr1 Computaform Sprint winner will be out to redeem himself.
Ramsden blamed a wide draw at Scottsville and he has fared better here and will jump from a mid-field draw of seven.
Sniper Shot is smart and versatile although dropping back to 1 200m after contesting the Daisy Guineas may be a problem albeit that he has run Sunset Eyes close on two occasions.
Alec Laird tends to fly under the radar and Pure Blonde could be the surprise package of the race.
The gelding has some solid Highveld form and the blinkers are back on which should see him improve on his effort behind Bold Respect and Sunset Eyes in the In Full Flight Handicap.
Dennis Drier is chasing hard to regain his KZN Champion Trainer title he lost to perennial rival Duncan Howells last season and Caliente will be a strong fancy in the card opener after a smart barrier trial led to a promising debut.
However, he could find the year older Pavarotti Passion difficult to beat. Mark Dixon’s gelding has been a nightmare at the gates but showed in his first barrier trial that he has plenty of ability. His next trial is best ignored and the fact that he lines up this evening means that he has been passed at the gate.
Merit ratings have been a hot topic of debate this past week after African Night Sky seemingly got off lightly after his victory in the Cup Trial but that’s a debate for another day.
An interesting runner tonight will be the showing by Flying Myth in the Wild Coast Sun Handicap.
Sean Tarry’s runner obviously has his problems given his record of time between races and they have not been at all good since winning a Juvenile Maiden back in 2016.
He started his three-year-old career off a rating of 93. That has dropped to this evening’s 66 and given his recent form that is probably a fair assessment.
But the fact that Tarry has persisted with the gelding may tell a tale and the switch to the poly track could hold the key.
He’s not one for a big wager but also one that you cannot ignore. MASTER’S SPIRIT can benefit from the talented Luke Ferraris’s 4kg claim and upset the big guns in the Pinnacle Stakes at Kenilworth tomorrow.
On adjusted merit ratings the Justin Snaith six-year-old might as well stay at home – certainly compared with Dutch Philip and Tevez – but the rain has changed the complexion of the race and this is a horse that goes in the soft. Furthermore he is a decent price at 11-2.
Dutch Philip is a class act and the obvious favourite. He gave away more ground at the start than he was beaten when second to Silicone Valley in a similar race over a furlong further in April and on official handicap marks he has the beating of everything except Tevez.
However he is untested in soft ground and at 18-10 that is too big an imponderable.
Tevez (7-1) acts on this going but there is more than a suspicion that he is not quite as good as he was and, rising nine, that is only to be expected.
Olympian (9-2) has strong claims, not least because he is proven in the ground. Over 1 200m last time he had Nasty Harry, Master’s Spirit and Power Grid behind and is weighted to confirm the placings.
Kingston Passage (8-1) looked very good last season, particularly when making the running, and he likes this trip. His ability to act in the wet is a complete unknown but that doesn’t mean to say he won’t.
Power Grid, also an 8-1 chance, should be in his element but you would have to wonder if he is quite good enough to beat this opposition.
Nasty Harry (9-1) will like the underfoot conditions and Mike Stewart has long predicted that Al Wahed will really come into his own when the rain arrives.
That said, the six-year-old has too much to do at the weights while Strikeitlikeamatch is a long shot even at 33-1 and allowing for his ability to go in the ground.
Of the others 30-1 shot Big Mistake has been disappointing in recent starts while Fifty Cents (16-1) has been off since February.
Snaith Racing are now finally beginning to unleash their two-year-olds.
They run four in the first, four in the second and two against older horses in race three. Seven of them are firsttimers.
But they will have to be smart to beat Shadowing in the opener and the form book says that Winter Five is likely to prove too strong for Without Limits in race two.