The Star Early Edition
Save The Rhino ripe for the trip
THE Listed Java Handicap over 2 400m on the Vaal Classic track is the headliner tomorrow and Save The Rhino could be the one to beat under national champion jockey Anthony Delpech.
Ormond Ferraris is an outstanding trainer of stayers and has given Save The Rhino three runs over 2 600m going into this race, so he should be super fit and everything is in his favour.
The six-year-old Mogok gelding, running off an 84 merit rating tomorrow, is well treated on his best form and jumps from pole position.
He finished a 0,8 length second in the Listed Aquanaut Handicap over 2 450m in March off an 85 merit rating and is now better drawn.
He stayed on nicely last time out over the Turffontein Inside track 2 600m.
However, he became one-paced in the final stages of that race, so looks likely to prefer the 200m shorter trip tomorrow and should be cherry ripe.
Let It Rain
Weiho Marwing’s charges always have to be reckoned with in staying features and he has a chance with the second top weight Let It Rain. This Dynasty gelding stays all day and had a good pipe opener when setting the pace over 1 950m on October 21, which was his first start since finishing third in the Gold Cup.
His draw of 17 shouldn’t be a worry considering he jumped from draw 15 out of 16 in the Gold Cup.
He has remained on the same 92 merit rating as in his Gold Cup run.
However, he was beaten 0,7 lengths by Save THe Rhino in the Aquanaut Handicap and is now a whopping 7,5kg worse off.
Kinaan is another who is well treated on his best form.
On his day he is a resolute galloper and maestro trainer Mike de Kock is in fine form, so should have the son of Galileo ready to fire in his second run of the season. Hyaku is a most interesting runner. In his only race over this trip he was staying on well for a close up fourth in the Lonsdale Stirrup Cup and is now off the same merit rating.
He has been campaigning out of Sean Tarry’s Summerveld yard, so travelling up to altitude might be a slight concern for some.
However, it should be borne in mind Summerveld is not on the coast and is actually a third of the altitude of the Highveld.
The Elmo Effect will have to defy topweight of 60kg in order to retain his crown.
This six-year-old Admire Main gelding proved his class last time when beating a useful field in a MR90 Handicap over 1 800m at Turffontein, although a lot of the beaten horses were unlucky due to the hanging antics of the runner up Hidden Agenda. \
Last year The Elmo Effect won this race, which was run over 2 450m on Turffontein Standside, off a merit rating of 82 and carried only 54kg.
He also has a tough task when considering March’s Listed Aquanaut Handicap, as he is 4,5kg worse off with Save The Rhino despite having lost to him by 3,3 lengths.
However, the Aquanaut was run in yielding going and The Elmo Effect prefers faster ground.
He also has Gavin Lerena aboard, so this longstriding six-year-old Admire Main gelding can’t be discounted.
Royal Honour was the winner of the Aquanaut Handicap and is 7kg worse off with Save The Rhino for a mere 0,8 length beating. However, his record over 2 400-2 450m is three wins, one second and a third, so he has to be a contender under in-form Gunther Wrogemann.
St. John Gray
St. John Gray is in good form and Dawn Assault showed his liking for staying events last time when winning a Pinnacle Stakes event over 2 600m.
However, he was raised five points and will be 3kg worse off with Save The Rhino for a 2,8 length beating.
Like any staying event The Java Handicap is wide open and including the whole field would be the only way to ensure getting through the exotics.
However, the horses mentioned above are the ones which make most appeal.
The second race, a Progress Plate over 2 000m, will be full of interest as it is a potentially important qualifier for the Sansui Summer Cup. The SA Oaks winner Wind Chill is officially weighted to romp home and to show just how seriously Mayfair Speculators are taking this race Anton Marcus will fly up for just this one ride.
However, Elevated, is surely better than an 88 merit rating, considering his fourth place finish in last season’s Grade 1 Cape Guineas, and with the Mike de Kock yard in flying form he is selected to beat Wind Chill.