Nicci Garner: It’s never easy to win three races in a row but Effortless Reward has lived up to her name in her last two starts and could deliver the goods again in Race 7 on the Inside track at the Vaal on Tuesday, a FM 89 Handicap over 1000m.
Louis Goosen’s charge was given a short rest from 14 February to 11 May and the break has stood her in excellent stead.
She returned to action in a race over the Vaal Inside 1000m and made every post a winning one, eventually coming home 3.20 lengths clear of Gratuity, unfancied at 12-1. Fourth place that day went to Burgundy Rose, who came out next time to also beat Gratuity over the same course and distance.
Effortless Reward defied a seven-point penalty over the Turffontein Standside 1000m last time out with another good win. She did it tough that day, disputing the lead with Hashtag Strat (runner-up again next time and then third in the Durban Dash at Greyville on Saturday) from the off before edging ahead to win by 0.40 lengths.
Handicappers pushed her merit rating up another two points and she carries top weight of 60kg, including jockey Gunter Wrogemann, but in her current vein of form she could again rise to the occasion.
Candice Dawson-trained Jameson Girl bit off a bit more than she could chew at this stage of her career in the Camellia Stakes over 1160m at Turffontein last month, when seventh behind Joan Ranger. Just Vogue was a neck ahead of her but is 7kg worse off.
The Jay Peg three-year-old still has scope for improvement in only her seventh career start and must rate a big danger to the selection with only 52kg to carry.
She had not finished unplaced before that with her form including a facile 1000m win over Fashion Blast on the Vaal Outside track in December and a second to Freely Forever (won again next time) over 1000m at Turffontein. Then sent over 1450m, she finished a distant fourth behind Al Danza.
She will be sharper for that Camellia Stakes run and could be the right one for Swingers and Exactas.
Bondiblu and Dalley look set to fight out the finish to Race 4, a Middle Stakes for fillies and mares over 2400m.
Bondiblu is ultra-consistent and got just reward for finishing thereabouts six times running with a 2000m win over Peg O’ My Heart on this track. She is as effective over this 400m longer trip and has enough time in the back straight for jockey JP van der Merwe to overcome No 15 draw.
Dalley has done well in her two starts over long distance, finishing fourth behind Balalaika and a short-head second behind B Twenty One in 2600m races at Turffontein. Both B Twenty One and third-placed Silken have won since.
Dalley showed a touch of versatility last time out, when a length third behind Shankly Gates in a straight 1600m race at this venue last month and will appreciate this more testing distance.