Ken Nicol: The non-black type Kimberley 1400 is the top liner at Flamingo Park on Monday. Normally a horse 2kg under sufferance which has never raced on sand before could be passed over pretty easily, but not so in the case of Clinton Binda’s bottom weight Witch King.
The four-year-old Querari gelding has won three of his last four at the Vaal, all over this trip, and if taking to the surface may well turn out to be undervalued in this company. Binda has a fine record raiding this centre, and it can be presumed that Witch King works well on sand at home.
Only the race will tell, but if he does act on sand I suspect he will take some beating. A worry is the fact that he has failed dismally in five runs at Turffontein, but if not a pure Vaal course specialist he seems certain to be involved in the finish here. Fransie Herholdt takes the ride.
Top weight Red Special makes plenty of appeal amongst the local contingent despite 61kg. He has won twice over course and distance, and is ultra consistent. The swinger with Witch King might be the way to go.
By contrast fellow Steph Miller inmate Roquebrune is rather enigmatic. He has two runaway wins and five dismal unplaced efforts in seven appearances here. He now goes beyond sprints for the first time, and seems far from certain to thrive over the extra.
First Sea Lord returns from a short break, but has proven himself over this trip, and on overall form shouldn’t finish far away from Red Special.
Nicklaus makes his Flamingo debut, but did place twice on the Vaal sand early in his career. He would certainly have a money chance at best with 54kg and Kimberley stalwart Muzi Yeni up.
Leboena and Ahead of Traffic can both be given a place chance, but the win may prove beyond them.
Selection: 1 Witch King 2 Red Special 3 First Sea Lord 4 Nicklaus