Sunday, 6 January 2019


Hawwaam looks a stand-out bet at Turffontein tomorrow.

Piere Strydom

This is a big weekend for South African racing as today’s L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate meeting is arguably the second biggest on the Cape calendar.

I am disappointed that this year I will not be part of the occasion as most of these horses have riders who are committed to their stables and I was unable to get a ride.

You can actually make a case for all but three horses of the 10 horses in the Queen’s Plate. It’s a small field so hopefully we will have no hard-luck stories and we will be able to see who is the best miler at the moment.

To be fair, some horses are prepping for other races and some are better over 2000m. So I have based my selections on those going for this race in particular and for that reason my first choice is Legal Eagle. He’s done it all, he’s beaten them all andhe looks an easy horse to ride. This will be his third race after a layoff and he can go on to make it 11 wins from 11 runs over 1600m.

However, he is by no means a banker as there are a number of younger horses who have a lot of scope for improvement.

Those who finished close up behind him in the Green Point Stakes are Undercover Agent, Rainbow Bridge (who is now 2kg worse off) and Do It Again while we also have one of top fillies in the country in Snowdance. The unknown horse, who by no means can be written off, is Soqrat, who scored a very easy win the Cape Guineas and is obviously very talented as well.

For the Place Accumulator pick three of those mentioned but for the Pick 6 go put all of them in.

We are also racing at Turffontein tomorrow and we kick off with a Maiden Plate over 1400m. You can start the meeting off on a winning note by backing Sea Air who ran a good race behind stable companion Mythical Bolt first time out and can only improve. From a decent enough draw is the horse they will all have to beat.

The danger could be The Right Stuff but he has a bad draw and that makes Sea Air even harder to oppose.

Race 2 is another Maiden Plate over 1400m where the draw plays a big part. My selections are Azeeza, Tuscan Light and Hit The Road. However, no horse stands out so include all of those,and maybe more, in your BiPot.

Race 3 is a Pinnacle Stakes, also over 1400m, and normally your best weighted horse would come out on top. That is my ride, Emily Jay, but unfortunately she could carry some overweight. We still have to give her a decent chance but my two fancies are Flying Winger and Full Mast, who is my roughie for the race. He now comes back to his better distance and I believe he will be better without the blinkers. With a 4kg claimer up he must have a decent chance, but he does have a bad draw. For the Place Accumulator include all of those mentioned and also Captain Aldo who must be a big runner from a good draw.

Race 4 is the Listed Sea Cottage Stakes for three-year-olds. The best handicapped runner is Marchingontogether but he has not raced for a while and has a wide draw. So for that reason I’m leaning towards Roll Of Drums. Others with chances are Chijmes and Green Haze. Put them all in the PA and for the Pick 6 consider Atyaab, Protea Paradise and In Cahoots.

Race 5 is the Three Troikas Stakes where the best handicappedrunner is Ronnie’s Candy. On form she could easily win this race but she has a wide draw, so for that reason consider Storm Destiny and Return Flight. Those three should suffice for the Pick 6 as well.

Race 6 is the Tony Ruffel Stakes and here Hawwaam is the best handicapped runner by some way. He looks quite special and should be hard to beat. Banker him in all bets.

I ride Rocking Night. He could find this field a bit tough but any place money would be good.

Race 7 is the London News Stakes where your two fillies – Al Danza and Secret Potion – are your best handicapped runners. Maybe the handicappers have it right but I am leaning towards Dawn Assault. His dangers should be Noble Secret and Like A Panther who I believe have not shown their true ability as yet.

I ride Captain And Master, who could have a chance on form but this is more an experimental run to see if he will see out the distance.

For the PA go with Dawn Assault, Like A Panther and Noble Secret. For the Pick 6 add in Captain And Master and Pietro Mascagni.

Race 8 is a handicap where my first selection is Diamond Dancer who has strong form and a 4kg claimer up. He is a possible PA banker and he could even be a Pick 6 banker as well.

Unfortunately he is drawn wide and if you don’t want to banker him consider D’ Arrivee and Big Voice Jack. The dark horse could be Mambo Symphony who has competed against some good opposition but he is coming off a short rest and I’m not sure of his fitness.

I ride Verdier who should find this distance too short but he is one to make a note of for the future.

Race 9 is a fillies’ handicap which is difficult and a number ofhorses need to be considered. My first choice is Glamourous Scandal but she is by no means a banker so consider Kissmeinmydreams, African Sunbird and Ossetra. Include as many of those mentioned in the PA but for the Pick 6 put them all in and perhaps even one or two of your own fancies.

I ride Elusive Coral who is held on form but hopefully over a shorter distance this time could show some improvement.




Race 3 Full Mast

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