GRANT VAN NIEKERK
Viv Greybe: Justin Snaith-trained filly Straw Rum has shown encouraging form in her last two runs and her winning turn could come at Fairview today when she teams up with jockey Grant van Niekerk in Race 2, a Maiden Plate (F&M) over 1400m.
Showing strong pace on grass in a big field over 1600m she was reeled in late and finished a 1.25-length second. Then switched to the Polytrack next time she was up with the pace throughout but found 1900m a bit too far and had to settle for second place.
This three-year-old is likely to come out raring to go after a 70-day break and should go one better this time over the shorter distance. Her main rivals are Valentine’s Girl, Limerick Ridge and Wahi.
The same combination could come to light with one-time winner Sabbatical who contests Race 3, a MR 71 Handicap over 1400m. This three-year-old lost form after a gutsy maiden win over 1200m at Kenilworth, but showed marked improvement five runs later in his most recent outing when staying on well and a close second in a three-year-old contest over 1400m at Fairview. With a good inside draw again, this gelding could have the edge.
But he can expect stiff rivalry from the likes of Bollemakiesie, Free Agent, Soviet Cosmonaut and bottom-weight Winter Trade.
Watch out for Alan Greeff-trained two-time winner Me Myself And I (Greg Cheyne) in Race 5, a MR 68 Handicap (F&M) over 2000m. Coming off a short rest, the mare was a fast-finishing close fifth in her penultimate outing over 2000m. Then after a similar rest, she posted a gutsy win over 1800m with Cheyne up again. She returns refreshed after another short break and should complete the double.
The five-year-old’s principal rivals are Lucky Lulu, Altitude, Holyrood Palace and Enlightenment.
Greeff and Cheyne have a bright chance of success as well in Race 6 with two-time winner Green Lantern who lines up in a 1600m Graduation Plate. He posted a fine double on grass at Fairview in his first two runs and has been threatening another win since – more so, in his penultimate outing when a fast-finishing 1.30-length third with Cheyne aboard over 1400m at this course.
The pick of the rest are Leadman, Dragon Flame and Armstrong’s Boy.