Van the man at Vaal

Van the man at Vaal


Jack Milner : Jockey Marco van Rensburg has been in top form recently and he could be the jockey to follow at the Vaal on Tuesday where racing takes place on the Classic course.

He is carded to ride in five of the eight races with his best ride coming up in Race 7, a FM 92 Handicap over 1500m, where he is aboard Red Ridge for Geoff Woodruff. This four-year-old daughter of Silvano has only raced five times for two wins and two places.


Her first three runs were as a three-year-old but she had to be rested after she was found to be suffering from bone spurs on the knee. A bone spur is a tiny pointed outgrowth of bone and develop in areas of inflammation or injury of near cartilage or tendons.

“She didn’t have any surgery. We just wanted to give her a good rest and let them clear up,” said Woodruff yesterday. “She’s fine now and we are expecting a good run tomorrow.”

She won her first run back after 11 months off the course, beating Green Top by a neck. In her next start, her first over 1600m, which was on the Classic course, Red Ridge was narrowly beaten by Awfaa but objected after the two came together at the 400m mark. The objection was overruled but it was a great run nevertheless.

She takes a slight jump in class but that comes with a commensurate drop in weight so despite receiving a small penalty for running second, Red Ridge will carry 0.5kg less. Van Rensburg has ridden her in both of her last starts so he knows her well. They are drawn No 1 which is another massive advantage. She has been priced up a soft favourite at 7-2 which looks most attractive

Van Rensburg could also be on the mark in Race 5, a MR 72 Handicap for fillies and mares over 1000m, where he rides Lady Of The World for trainer Stuart Pettigrew. He has family connections with this filly and has ridden her in all but one of her 19 starts. She has shown in her last two starts that she has started to regain form and has been helped by a 10-point drop in her merit rating.

Last time she looked a likely winner at the 200m mark but was run out of it in the closing stages and finished a 1.50-length fourth behind Madam Secretary. That race was over 1100m and Lady Of The World is definitely at her best over the minimum distance of 1000m. She has been opened a 4-1 joint favourite with Macadamia, Levi Lady and Cals Crush.

In Race 8, a MR 84 Handicap over 1500m, Van Rensburg has picked up the ride on Prince Swarovski, also for Woodruff, and this gelding could be anything. He improved with gelding and was a most impressive winner of his maiden last time. That was his second run after gelding and he seems to be improving fast so he needs to be included in all bets. In an open race Prince Swarovski is a 5-1 joint favourite with Sail For Joy

Van Rensburg is also aboard Cosmic Mist in Race 2, a Maiden Plate over 1000m. Stanley Ferreira’s charge appears to have some ability but unfortunately has breathing issues. He will be tried in a tongue tie for the first time and that could see an improved effort. He is a 10-1 shot but might well have to beat another Mike de Kock first-timer in Nawaasi who has been priced up at 18-10.

His only other ride comes aboard Golden Man in Race 4, a MR 96 Handicap over 1000m. The gelding nearly caused a huge upset when charging up late to finish a head behind Zouaves but that was over 1160m and at this stage he has not been able to win over 1000m but has placed three times.

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