The Vaal Outside Track hosts a competitive eight race meeting on Thursday. High draws by trends are favourable in all races, but some of the best form horses on the day have low draws. An example is the three-year-old Toreador gelding Refuge, who runs in the highest merit rated race of the day, an MR 88 handicap over 1200m.
Refuge has three wins, two seconds and a third in eight career starts and has acquitted himself well against some useful sorts.
Piere Strydom, picture Goldcircle.co.za
Piere Strydom has won on him twice and was aboard last time on his return from a three-and-a-half month layoff. On that occasion Strydom was forced to switch him inward for a run and he still managed to do some excellent work late to get up for third. He should have benefitted from that run and can win this time, but unfortunately the low draw of two is a concern.
Refuge’s Scott Kenny-trained stablemate Hidden Agenda is a fascinating runner in this race. This five-year-old Brave Tin Soldier gelding has won over 2000m before, yet his 1200m form makes good reading and includes a victory over the classy Rafeef.
The admirable Golden Man earns a cheque virtually every time he races and is effective over this trip so should run on into the money from a fair draw under his regular pilot Ryan Munger.
Al Azraq can’t be ignored as he has talent and has dropped to a competitive merit rating. He is drawn on the right side and his penultimate start can be ignored as he missed the break. However, it has to be said he had every chance last time at Turffontein over 1160m and failed to kick on, although he was found to be coughing afterwards.
Dennis The Menace is capable of a strong finish and has a good record over this course and distance, so can’t be ignored.
Morpheus, Kapitan and Machismo are also tough to ignore in a typically competitive sprint handicap.
The previous race, the sixth, is a fillies and mares MR 84 handicap over 1200m and Silver Class makes a lot of appeal. She was campaigned in strong plate races and feature races until last time when she was finally put back in a handicap off her lowered merit rating. She proved she was better than an 82 by running a good second in the 1450m event. She was duly raised three points, but still looks well handicapped and has a fair draw over her probable optimum trip.
The best bet on the day could be Playing Games in race three, a Maiden for fillies and mares over 1200m. She fought for her head early on over 1200m last time, but was still doing good work late to finish second. She should have benefitted from the experience and should be more settled this time. She is thus preferred to Martha’s Vineyard, a well-bred filly who made a good debut, but who is bred to Northern Hemisphere time so is six months younger than her contemporaries and she also has the tough number one draw to overcome.
Form for the meeting at Vaal on Thursday.
The nine race broadcast commences at 8.50pm AEST on Sky Racing2 and from 11.10pm AEST on Sky Racing1.
Form includes Racing And Sports complete form service, neurals, worksheet and customised form guide.