Jack Milner: New Predator makes his comeback on the Highveld on Saturday in the Grade 2 Joburg Spring Challenge over 1450m on the Turffontein Inside track and looks every bit a banker in all bets.
This sort of distance is right up his street but while he also has not raced for 84 days, he is the second best handicapped runner behind Matador Man and has Gavin Lerena in the irons. He has raced twice over this course and distance and placed on both occasions.
The key for New Predator is fitness and any doubts were dispelled by trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren yesterday. “New Predator is fit and well,” he confirmed.
The rains that have fallen over Joburg are also in his favour as he has a win and a second place in his two runs in the wet.
Gavin Lerena takes the ride and they are well drawn at No 4.
Matador Man has not raced since finishing strongly at Greyville in July to run a 2.25-length third behind Sail South in the Grade 1 Champions Cup over 1800m at Greyville. He could need the run but what is against him is his dire habit of losing ground at the start.
On handicap three runners should fight out the Joburg Fillies And Mares Spring Challenge and they are She’s A Giver, Secret Star and Bella Sonata. She’s A Giver ran a cracker last time in the Grade 1 Garden Province Stakes over 1600m at Greyville when she finished second behind star mare Bela-Bela.
She was beaten 3.75 lengths but the winner was the proverbial certainty based on merit ratings and ran accordingly. This could be another winner for Lerena and Janse van Vuuren if anywhere near peak fitness.
Secret Star has won five of her last eight starts and placed in the other three. She has Piere Strydom up but unfortunately is drawn No 12 which is a nightmare over this track and trip.