Jack Milner: If any Joburgers failed to understand the expression “bucketing down with rain” prior to this weekend, they certainly do now as heavy downpours destroyed any chance of racing. Hopefully someone has seen a dove carrying a small olive branch in its mouth, indicating that the waters will subside long enough to run Tuesday’s Vaal meeting.
What’s wonderful for the Vaal Dam is perhaps a little excessive for the Vaal Racecourse but it will be useful to find a horse who has run well in the wet. There do look to be a couple of possibilities and in Race 7, a MR 72 Handicap over 1000m on the Outside track, one could go with impressive debut-winner Joey Piper.
Paul Peter’s charge could not have been more impressive when winning on the Vaal Inside track on 3 November. On that occasion there was more talk than betting support for him but he won with ease, beating Clever Guy by 2.50 lengths. What strengthens this form is that two winners have come out of that race, including Clever Guy, who easily beat Western Warrior by 5.5- lengths in his next start.
After that Clever Guy went on to race in the Listed Secretariat Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein and there was quite a lot of talk about him that day. In the end he finished fifth to Matador Man, beaten 7.75 lengths.
What is even more important was the race won by Joey Piper was run in yielding going so we do know he has some form in the wet. JP van der Merwe rode him to victory on that occasion and this time apprentice Lyle Hewitson, who has already ridden 55 winners this season and is lying in ninth place on the National Jockeys’ Log, takes the ride.
Although she is taking on the boys, Khaleesi could be the main threat to Joey Piper. The four-year-old daughter of Captain Al has run against some strong company but after a year’s layoff her rating has been dropping significantly. When she returned to racing in October last year, she already had come down eight points and after two runs she is down a further four, which means she will be racing off a merit rating of 72.
In addition, trainer Lucky Houdalakis has engaged apprentice Mpumelelo Mjoka to ride the four-year-old filly and he will take a further 4kg off her back. This will be her third run after the layoff and she could be ready to win.