Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)
King’s Command to lay down the law
BOOKMAKING firm Track & Ball are the headline sponsors of today’s Greyville meeting but by mid-day yesterday there had hardly been a bet struck with plenty of drifters and not a single horse on the card shortening.
That’s all likely to change by midday today but that’s no help for this article.
Sold in the dispersal of a deceased estate, King’s Command never set foot on a racetrack when under the care of Duncan Howells, but the Ashburton trainer had high hopes for the colt who had shown him excellent work.
The sale proved to be Sean Tarry’s good fortune as King’s Command made a promising debut on the Greyville poly before running out a comfortable winner of his maiden.
Both those races were sprints and Tarry steps the colt up to a mile in the Track & Ball Pietermaritzburg Handicap.
King’s Command takes on some well exposed handicappers and fellow three-year-olds but with apprentice Lyle Hewitson just five winners away from breaking the record for number of wins as an apprentice, the colt is likely to get every assistance from the saddle.
Hewitson is fresh back from a suspension today and will be keen to better the current record of 284 winners held by Gavin Lerena who bettered the legendary Michael Roberts’s record that stood for nearly four decades.
Ironically, Roberts saddles Viento who has come good at recent starts and poses a major threat to King’s Command’s chances along with 5-2 antepost favourite Ryker, who could appreciated the extra after disappointing in two recent sprints.
However, on a cautionary, seven of the eight runners are quoted in single figures, 7-1 and less, with only Winter’s Coming in the cold
The virus that has plagued Ashburton yards over the past couple of months adds risk to those looking to plunge on any runners from that centre.
However, Belinda Impey and Lowan Dennyschen had winners on Wednesday and Louis Gooden can add to their tally with Gotoluvher in the Track & Ball Stanger Handicap.
Goosen gave notice before her last start that he expected a big run from Gotoluvher if she didn’t blow the start.
She behaved at the start but obviously ran below expectations.
However, all three of her recent outings have been in soft ground.
Her best local effort has come on the poly and that could make all the difference today and 7-1 could be a value bet.
Gooden saddles the speedy Imbali in the Track & Ball Shelly Beach Handicap in what looks to be a seriously tricky event.
She has a big weight, is taking on males and an outside draw will not help her cause but she does look to be over her optimum trip.
Dark horse could be the Shane Humby runner, Moon Bird, a weak 4-1 favourite yesterday. The gelding has not been out since July last year and is lightly race but has shown promise.
The give away here could be the presence of Anton Marcus in the saddle even though he is carded to put up a half-kilo over-weight.
Doug Campbell looks to hold the trump cards in the opening leg of the place accumulator where he saddles Rose Hill and Lovely Lucca, both boasting smart recent form with top jockeys aboard.
However, Marcus has deserted Rose Hill in favour of Lovely Lucca and his judgement is seldom far off the mark.
Judging by the wide range of tips in the various form guides, the opening leg of the Pick 6 is a veritable minefield as one cannot safely write off the chances of any of the 12 runners.
Texas Sky, who recently changed hands at the Shongweni Horses in Training sale, has his first run for Alyson Wright.
He was good enough to finish second behind the smart Ancestry early in his career but has been disappointing since his maiden win.
A change of regime could bring out the best in him but he is something of a long-shot.