Saturday, 13 April 2019

Piere Strydom Saturday Racing Comments

Royal heroines rule the day


Cascapedia looks the back-up horse in Empress Club Stakes. 

Piere Strydom

After Tiger Roll won the Grand National in England last week, the first horse in 35 years to win the race two years in a row, thousands of people came out the next day to welcome him back to his home town in Ireland. 
Racing fans love a hero and today at Turffontein we will welcome one of our equine heroes, or heroines in this case,and that is Oh Susanna. For those who don’t know, she is the current Equus Horse Of The Year after having won last year’s Sun Met and two other Grade 1 races.  
We will have another heroine at Turffontein in HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco, who also represented South Africa at the Olympic Games in swimming. It is always great to be part of these special days. In fact, I have friends who are making the trip who form out of province to experience the occasion. 
Topping the card is the Grade 1 HSH Princess Charlene Empress Club Stakes over 1600m and Oh Susanna, should she be victorious, will be earning her fifth Grade 1 win. She looks a worthy favourite and should she produce the best form, will be hard to beat. She is drawn No 1 and she should be suited by the Turffontein Standside track. She has a lot in her favour and the fact the race is run at weight-for-age terms should make her even more of a certainty.
Nevertheless, there are some “ifs” and “buts”. She has come up to Joburg from Durban but she first made the move from Cape Town to KwaZulu-Natal a couple of weeks back so it has been a lot of travelling, and to keep her ticking over as well is not an easy job. 
But Justin Snaith is our champion trainer and he knows what it will take to win a race of this nature.     
Oh Susanna could quite easily be a banker in all bets but because of the doubt Cascapedia could be included in the Place Accumulator as she has had the perfect preparation.
For the Pick 6 also consider Fresnaye, and then all the up-and-coming protagonists – Nafaayes and Celtic Sea, who came past me last time like I was standing still.
I ride Redberry Lane who was the filly well beaten by Celtic Sea last time but at the weights looks unlikely to turn the tables.
Going to back to Race 1, we kick off with a Juvenile Plate over 1100m. It is very difficult race as they are all lightly raced and it is hard to get a comparison on form lines. You can also have dramatic improvement from run to run. I’m leaning towards What You Are and Singforafa, who has a big reputation. Blessed Rain is another danger as she has only raced once and could improve.
Race 2 is an Assessment Plate and that favours your highest-rated horse. In this case it is Zillzaal and he should win with ease. The danger is Epic Dream.  
Race 3 is a Maiden Plate and is the first of the two Princess Charlene-sponsored races and carries an amazing stake of R250,000. It is over 1400m so the draw will play quite a big part. For that reason I make Eskimo Kisses a possible PA banker. Her dangers are Julep, Varquera and Shezahotti.
I’m riding Coin Mistress who looks held on form but luckily for me she is drawn No 1. Who knows, I might just have the run of the race and finish in the money.   
Race 4 is the second of the Princes Charlene-sponsored Maiden’s Plate which is open to all maidens. This looks a lot more competitive and my first selection is Arabian Sniper who is a reserve runner so he may not get in. However, he does have a wide draw. Then I went with Captain Flynt, who could be a runner based on his first outing. He could find this distance more to his liking. Of the more established runnersStockbridge needs to be included as well as Setablaze and my ride African Rock, who also have chances but are also not well drawn. For the PA put them all in and for the Pick 6 go as wide as you can.  
Race 5 is another Assessment Plate and that should be ideal for Naafer who is well weighted but he is having his second run after a rest, so for the PA you could banker Comaneci or maybe include Basilius
For the Pick 6 those three and Algebra as she is lightly weighted and can improve.
Race 6 is another Assessment Plate and the same rules apply. The horse well handicapped is Rocking Russian and she should be a PA banker and maybe even a Pick 6 banker. But if you are concerned about banking her, the only other runner to include is Captain’s Princess.
I ride Saints Alive who is not well handicapped, but I’m hoping she can run to her best and at least place. 
Race 8 is a handicap which is always difficult to find winners but my first selection is Satin Slipper. She is lightly raced, she’s had some bad draws and she is dropping in merit rating. There are others with chances, such as Jetorio with stable jockey Lyle Hewitson up. She could be the second inclusion in the PA and they should get you through.
Others for the Pick 6 are Seeking Gold, Emily Hobhouse, Live In Love and All I Got who is a danger if she stays 2400m.   
I ride Cranberry Crush who is well held by Seeking Gold on many runs.
Race 9 is another handicap and they are sometimes difficult in which to find a winner but on this occasion Popsicle Toes could be another PA banker. His last run was against stronger opposition. This is his second run after gelding and he is lightly raced and should improve.
You could even consider him a Pick 6 banker but if you want other inclusions put in Major Return and Fire And Rescue.
Race 10 is a handicap over 1400m so the draw plays a part. Many of these have chances and in typical handicap style, if any horse won it wouldn’t surprise me. 
But for that reason I will lean towards good drawsI see the race between Soldier On, Regal Graduation, Kings Archer and Dan The Lad.



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