Ken Nicol: It’s back to plain fare on the Turffontein inner track on Sunday after the banquet of Vodacom July Day, but for those prepared to wait a five-star bet presents itself in the last race.
Geoff Woodruff’s Top Rank was an impressive debut winner at the Vaal in April, before returning in an ultra-strong Graduation Plate where the average merit rating was 91 over this course and distance three weeks ago.
Due to run last on paper, he stayed on well to only go down 2.3 lengths in fourth place. Both winner Royal Crusade and runner up Full Mast are Group 2 placed, and the latter competed in the Grade 3 Betting World 2200 at Greyville on July Day, so that was an eye-catching performance to say the least. .
He ran miles above his merit rating in that company, and in a handicap off his mark of 74 from a good draw should have this field stone cold.
Raymond Danielson’s mount is likely to be a warm favourite here, but can be safely bankered in the exotics, and also anchored in doubles and trebles.
Trip To Paradise is a consistent placer, and can come out best of the rest, while Ghost Rider flopped at Scottsville after an easy maiden win but is worth another chance.
A good Eachway value bet is Ilha Da Var in Race 6. Roy Magner’s filly likes this track, and has been ultra-consistent of late.
While in a competitive heat, she should be right there again, and has regular rider Ryan Munger up.
Lily Starlette, River Ayre, Ladies Club and Rebel’s Idol will all put up resistance though, as this is the usual wide open low level fillies handicap.