The nine race meeting at Turffontein on Saturday will not be an easy one for punters as it is back on the Inside track which can throw an upset or two.
Samurai Blade, picture Nkosi Hlophe
The main race is the Listed Drum Star Handicap over 1800m and Samurai Blade could exact revenge on Romany Prince. He is 2.5kg better off for a 1.75 length beating by Romany Prince over this trip, so there is not much in it on paper. However, Samurai Blade has a plum draw of three with Strydom up, while Romany Prince has to overcome a wide draw.
On the other hand Romany Prince has a better turn of foot than Samurai Blade, who produces a sustained finishing effort, and that could be telling on this tighter track, so Samurai Blade is not a confident selection.
Master Switch has come into his own as a five-year-old this season and also has the class to go close here, but this will be his first outing since his third place finish in the SANSUI Sumer Cup. He beat Samurai Blade by 29 lengths in the Summer Cup, but it was obviously not the latter’s race. Samurai Blade bounced back after the Summer Cup to win his next two races.
Top Shot also has a shout as he has turned the corner recently. He is 10.5kg better off with Samurai Blade for a mere 2.8 length beating over this trip at the Vaal in December. However, it must be taken into account how easily Samurai Blade won. Arctica is an improving sort who is course and distance suited. He likes to run from the front, so his pole position draw is ideal and he has S’Manga Khumalo up too. Stonehenge should ensure a good gallop in this race.
Earlier there is an interesting Pinnacle Stakes race which features last year’s Grade 1 SA Fillies Classic and Grade 2 SA Oaks winner Juxtapose over 1600m. She could reverse 1450m form with Intergalactic, being 4kg better off at the weights from their last meeting in September, especially as she is drawn in pole. It is likely to be a preparation outing for bigger events, but her class should pull her through.
In the next race, a MR 84 Handicap over 1600m, Racethegreenlight is chosen to beat Tilbury Fort, who could be using this race as a preparation for the SA Classic.
Racethegreenlight finished just 0.25 lengths behind Grade 1 performer Brazuca in a Progress Plate over this trip in his penultimate start, so looks capable of rising above his 78 merit rating, He will prefer this trip to the 1400m of last time when staying on for a close third in a three-year-old handicap and he looks to have plenty of scope for improvement.
Tilbury Fort has been far from disgraced in his last two starts in the CTS Mile and the Grade 2 Betting World Gauteng Guineas and, as usual, he will give of his best all the way to the line. However, he does have to give 3kg to the progressive Racethegreenlight.
The first race over 1000m sees an interesting clash between Laurent Du Var and Mr Fire Eyes. The former was unlucky on debut over 800m when backed and he caught the eye too. However, he reared and injured himself in the starting stalls next time at the races and had to be scratched, so is not a straight forward horse. Mr Fire Eyes has not been disgraced in two good fields, including in a Listed race last time, so this will be easier. However, he was not as eye catching as Laurent Du Var. So Var could follow these two home, or even split them, having made a decent debut in a moderate event.
In the second race Spring Breeze appeared to idle when hitting the front last time, so should benefit from blinkers. From a good draw with Strydom up she could be one of the better bets on the card.
The last leg of the Pick 6 is one of the trickiest heats on the card, being a fillies and mares handicap over 1800m. However, Dalley looks to be the one to side with coming from the always in form Lucky Houdalakis yard and being drawn well in barrier two over a suitable trip. She is by Ideal World, so should be coming into her own and she has dropped to a competitive merit rating. She was a touch unlucky the last time she ran over this course and distance in January and she is also 2kg better off with Cool Fantasy for a 1.1 length beating from that run. Cool Fantasy has a nice turn of foot and is selected to finish second.
Form for the meeting at Turffontein on Saturday.
The nine race broadcast commences at 9.35pm AEST on Sky Racing2 and from 12.45am AEST on Sky Racing1.
Form includes Racing And Sports complete form service, neurals, worksheet and customised form guide.
Click on the Racingandsports.com.au logo and select race.