In-form Alexander can bag four winners at Turffontein

In-form Alexander can bag four winners at Turffontein

<p><strong>NICCI GARNER<br />
</strong>TRAINER Gary Alexander has the highest winning strike rate on the national trainers&rsquo; log this season and a phenomenal 73.77 percent of his runners have finished in the frame. Alexander has a strong hand at Turffontein tomorrow when he will saddle eight runners.<br />
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Photo: Gary Alexander</p>

<p>All of his runners have good chances in their respective races, but four of them stand out – Pillow Talk (Race 1), Illusive Prospect (Race 6), Salcedo (Race 9) and Moonshine Man (Race 10).</p>
<p align="right"><img height="200" alt="Illusive Prospect bids for his third win in a row and could win Race 6 at Turffontein on Saturday." hspace="4" width="283" align="right" vspace="4" src="/Portals/0/horses/IllusiveProspect.jpg" /></p>
<p>Pillow Talk contests a 1000m Maiden Plate and looks hard to oppose. The Announce gelding has finished unplaced only twice in his career and has finished second in both races following a five-month layoff.</p>
<p>The first was over 1000m at the Vaal where he went down 1.75 lengths to Sacred River (Terzani was 5.50 lengths further back and is 1.5kg better off). He then made nearly all the running when weakening late and going down two lengths to Petit Cheval. Lunar Lad (1kg worse off) was a length further back in fourth and looks second best with Warriors Return (1kg worse off) fifth.</p>
<p>Alexander&rsquo;s Illusive Prospect has won his last two starts, including beating Man&rsquo;s Mood by a head over 2450m on the standside track. Royale Odessey (1kg better off) was beaten a length into third and looks Illusive Prospect&rsquo;s main danger. Band Stand (1.5kg worse off) was only a head further back in fourth with Triband (1.5kg worse off) and Bobcat (1kg better off) further back.</p>
<p>Illusive Prospect contests a 2600m MR 72 Handicap and could well follow up if he is ready after a 62-day rest.</p>
<p>Alexander could have the last two races on the card at his mercy. Salcedo rarely runs a bad race and could be the right one in the 1000m MR 88 Handicap, one of two races that share top billing on the card. He was in hot form before being given a 104-day break and has won two of his last five races and placed in the others.</p>
<p>Recent Maiden Plate winner Bismarck, Time Goes By (trained by sprint maestro “Buddy&rsquo;&rsquo; Maroun), Beat Patrol and Thirsty (who bids for his fifth win in only eight career starts) could expose any chinks in Salcedo&rsquo;s level of fitness.</p>
<p>New Zealand-bred Moonshine Man is another Alexander runner in hot form and he could end the meeting on a high note for his trainer in Race 10, a 1000m sprint.</p>
<p>He is effective on the inside track, having finished a well-beaten second to Extinct over this course and distance in June in his third-last start. He is disadvantaged by No 9 draw, but has enough early speed to enable jockey Mark Khan to place him optimally and looks sure to have a say in the finish.</p>
<p>Maldini was disappointing last time out, but has a chance on his penultimate run when second to 2.75-length winner Gold Streak (3.5kg worse off). There is little to choose between the two, but Maldini is well drawn at No 4, while his conqueror will bounce from No 11 stall. Petit Cheval, who faded badly late last time out in his first run out of the maiden ranks, is also drawn wide but could feature.</p>
<p>Alexander&rsquo;s Connoisseur must have a chance in Race 4, an 1800m MR 88 Handicap, but several other runners are preferred, including Montague Brown, who has a light weight, is optimally drawn in pole position and could score an overdue second career win.</p>
<p>Hurricane Silver is another contender for top honours, if he comes on the right way in his second run after a layoff, while Cielo Et Mare is no slouch but makes his Highveld debut under a big weight. He has plenty of ability and will fight out the finish if he is fully acclimatised. Bluesky County, Pine Nut, Island Swing, Frieburg, Duke&rsquo;s Lad, Carnoustie and Jedermann could also feature in an open race.</p>

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