Viv Greybe: Justin Snaith-trained Jo’s Bond is long overdue a ninth career win and that could come at Scottsville on Sunday when she teams up with top Western Cape jockey Grant van Niekerk in Race 7, the R150,000 KwaZulu-Natal Stakes (Listed) over 1000m.
Her last win was in this feature event last year when she scored fluently despite a slow start and being hindered by a slipped saddle. She was not disgraced in her subsequent five runs when carrying big weights in graded events – the best of which was a fast-finishing 2.75-length fourth to champion Carry On Alice in the 1200m SA Fillies Sprint (Grade 1) at Scottsville, which she followed up with three unplaced runs at Kenilworth.
This five-year-old returns to Scottsville primed and ready after a 78-day break and will be tough to beat this time when racing over her most effective distance.
However, expect a bold bid from consistent three-time winner Neptune’s Rain (Anton Marcus) out of the Duncan Howells stable. The three-year-old has yet to finish out of the money at this course in six runs – two of which were wins. She was a smart winner in her penultimate outing at Greyville and then followed up with a fast-finishing third in a minor feature event over 1000m at Scottsville. The booking of top-flight Marcus would infer the filly is ready after a three-month layoff.
Do not hastily dismiss Dennis Drier-trained five-time winner Sommerlied (Sean Veale) after three unplaced runs, as she was overmatched in graded events at Kenilworth. The four-year-old racked up three wins in a row in her previous three runs, and to strengthen her claims is unbeaten in her two outings at this course.
Also to be included in Pick 6 and Jackpot bets is Drier-trained Vine Street Star with apprentice Diego de Gouveia aboard. This four-year-old posted a fine 1000m double at the Greyville Polytrack but can be excused for being unplaced next time as she was in need of the outing after a rest. This she confirmed in her subsequent outing when coming from last to run a head second over the same course and distance with De Gouveia up again.
Next best are Statute, Captain’s Girl and Vision To Kill.