MATHEW DE KOCK
Nicci Garner: Normally with stakes races horseracing players can blindly shut their eyes and rely on the best-weighted runners in a race.
Champion trainer Sean Tarry has given a rare ride to jockey Piere Strydom which makes Myfunnyvalentine an interesting runner. She has raced only twice this year, failing to fire in a Kenilworth feature in January and then running a good second to Spring Wonder over 1160m on the Standside track last month. This distance is further than she has travelled before but there is every possibility she will stay.
However, in practice the top two could have their work cut out because Smokey Affair and another horse at the bottom of the weights are hugely promising and might well be badly underrated.
Smokey Affair is a four-year-old Elusive Fort filly who ran in two top fillies’ features during the summer season in Cape Town last season, including running on from near last to finish just four lengths behind Just Sensual in the Cape Fillies Guineas early last December.
She has been seen out only once more since and that was in a 1400m FM 88 Handicap in March and was well fancied. However, she coughed and let her supporters down and faded to finish five lengths behind Hanabi in fourth.
She has been sent up to Jozi to master trainer Mike de Kock and will be making her debut for the stable in this race. She should be quite close to peak fitness and on her best efforts will be hard to beat. She looks the right one to banker – to win or float – in Quartets, although assistant trainer Mathew de Kock said: “It is difficult to predict how she will go first time out for us, and based on her work in my opinion she will need a little further than this. She will make improvement on this run but I wouldn’t be surprised to see her right there.”
Sylvan On Fire is untried in feature company but Candice Dawson’s charge has done little wrong in her four-start career. She opened her account with an impressive win over this course and distance in April, form that has been well franked, and ran again only last month, when beating Knysna Rose over 1600m on the inside track. She is still on the upgrade and should not find herself out of her depth.
Sweet Lady Jade could well be the Tarry stable elect with popular apprentice Lyle Hewitson aboard. She has also been rested for six months after two below par runs, both of which can probably safely be ignored. This Querari filly did not finish unplaced in any of her first four starts, winning twice, and has shown she enjoys this tight track.
The only other runner is Lady Starlett, who has some fair form to her name, but has not raced over an extended sprint distance before.