Jack Milner: The Geoff Woodruff yard look to hold most of the cards in Race 7 at the Vaal on Thursday, a MR 72 Handicap over 1700m.
He saddles unbeaten Super Stratum and Trip To Troy and they look quite capable of fighting out the finish. Choosing the stable-elect looks quite difficult as Woodruff has booked Gavin Lerena to ride Trip To Troy while Devin Habib is aboard Super Stratum.
It would be unwise to make the assumption that Lerena even had the choice of rides and Habib rode a great race last time to get Super Stratum up in the shadow of the post. The Australian-bred runner only started racing as a four-year-old and was gelded before his first start last August.
He made his appearance in a Work Riders’ race and ran out a 3.20-length victor over Payne’s Grey in an 1800m contest on the Turffontein Inside track. His second run only came on 15 November and this time Habib was given the ride in an 1800m race on this course. Super Stratum lost ground at the start and got going late to beat Elevenses by a neck.
Two winners have come from that form line but it could be worth taking note that Elevenses is running in Race 6, also over 1800m, and if he wins it will give a further pointer to Super Stratum.
Trip To Troy races in the familiar colours of Triple Crown and Sansui Summer Cup champion Louis The King but, though he has some ability, he is not in the league of his illustrious stable companion. He also has his issues and at times has been found not to be striding out or has made a respiratory noise but has been in good form of late. Two runs back he finished a two-length second to Bold Rex and Mike de Kock’s charge will be lining up in the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate on Saturday.
Their main threat could come from Fangia. Gary Alexander’s charge ran on very well last time to finish a 1.35-length fourth to Revelation over 1800m at Turffontein. He had to overcome No 13 draw and also suffered some minor interference. This time he jumps from barrier No 2 and has Andrew Fortune in the irons. He does have to put up 0.5kg overweight.