Jack Milner: The one advantage of any stable being out of form is the handicapper tends to drop the merit ratings of horses. So when things start to improve a number of horses could be far better than their ratings.
The fact Sean Tarry’s runners are now firing has been talked about ad infinitum so as the horses start running into form they could well be in the situation where the merit rating takes a while to catch up.
That could well be the case with Changing Seasons who runs in Race 5 at the Vaal on Thursday.
This three-year-old son of Toreador won his second start by a short head and thereafter had two poor runs. In the first case he could have found 1400m a touch too far while on the second occasion he could not get a clear run for 200m and by the time he did, the race was over.
Last time we saw a much-improved performance in a MR 77 Handicap over 1200m over the course and distance of this race when he kicked on nicely to finish a 1.55-length fifth behind Lake Kinneret. That was also the first time apprentice Lyle Hewitson took the ride and is back aboard tomorrow.
Changing Seasons also drops in class as this is a MR 67 event with an average merit rating of 61 as opposed to an average of 72 in his last start. However, with that drop comes a commensurate increase in weight and Changing Seasons will carry joint top weight of 60kg.
Torio Lake put up a decent effort last time when running second to Sovereign Reign over 1500m at the Vaal and as this will be his third run after a layoff during which he was gelded. As a result, further improvement will be expected from Johan Janse van Vuuren’s charge. However, it would appear he might need further than 1200m to show his best form.
Others to consider are Hyperactive, who did not get the clearest of passages last time, Bubbly Reply, Wottahottie and Neuf De Pape.
One to keep an eye on is Condor Gulch in Race 4. Mike de Kock’s charge should have a better idea of what racing is all about in his second visit to a racetrack.
He was fancied to win on debut but raced greenly and at one stage looked likely to finish closer to last than first. However, the penny finally dropped some 200m from home and this Irish-bred son of High Chaparral kicked on to finish second.
This 1400m could still be too short but his class should see him through. Dangers are Camel Walk and Lord Silverio.