Jack Milner: Pilou was a very unlucky loser of his last race and Sean Tarry’s charge can make amends when he runs in Race 7 at the Vaal on Thursday.
His last run was over 1600m on the Turffontein Standside and he led for all but the last stride of the journey when he was caught by Tommy Waterdevil. Unfortunately, Pilou spread a shoe during the running and that probably cost him the race.
The handicapper has penalised him 1kg for his run while Tommy Waterdevil, who he meets again in this event, goes up 1.5kg.
The Vaal straight is a faster-run race and that could well play into Pilou’s hands and give him a clear advantage this time. Talented apprentice Lyle Hewitson rode Pilou last time but on this occasion the four-year-old gelding has been reunited with regular jockey S’manga Khumalo.
Perhaps this time the bigger threat to Pilou will come from Mike de Kock-trained Well Connected. He made an impressive debut on the Greyville Polytrack in June and then, despite having to jump from the widest draw of all and landing up well back in the early stages, the gelding ran on strongly to finish just 4.90 lengths behind talented Al Mariachi in the Non-Black Type KZN Yearling Sale Million. He was rested for two months and has had two runs in Johannesburg in which he has finished fourth. He improved markedly in blinkers last time and now, having his third run after a layoff, could trouble Pilou.
Craig Zackey, who rode him last time, has another opportunity on this occasion.
Shogun may have found the 1475m of his last start a touch sharp and will relish this extra 125m. Eric Ngwane had the ride last time but champion jockey Anthony Delpech has been engaged for this ride.
Best bet on the card is Huyssteen in Race 3. Lucky Houdalakis’ charge was narrowly beaten on debut after finding strong betting support on debut to go off at 12-10. The Australian-bred gelding was beaten 0.35 lengths into third and with the run under his belt will be a tough horse to beat, especially with Gavin Lerena up.