Jack Milner: The outcome of Race 5 at Turffontein on Saturday, a Pinnacle Stakes over 1160m on the Standside track, may well depend on the performance of Arabian Beat.
Should this six-year-old son of Black Minnaloushe be in a running mood, he will be very hard to beat. Paul Peter’s charge has competed at the highest level and is a Grade 1 winner over this course and distance. True, that was a few years back when he won the SA Nursery as a two-year-old but he has gone on to have a record of six wins and six places in 22 runs on the turf.
Strangely enough, he has been winning every alternate race lately and as he finished unplaced behind Trip To Heaven last time, that could indicate he is ready to win on this occasion.
Only seven runners go to post and despite this being a stakes race, the handicap spread between the best weighted and worst weighted is just 2.5kg which will mean very little over this sort of distance.
The main threat could come from Sean Tarry-trained Torre Del Oro, who finished well over 1000m last time to beat Great Shaka just shy of the post. That was the first time Karl Zechner was given the ride and is back aboard. He has recorded two wins over this track and trip and should benefit from the extra 160m.
Trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren saddles Mardi Gras and Regal Graduation and both have winning chances. Mardi Gras looks to have a big future but wants further and might find this 1160m in the fast going too sharp for him.
Regal Graduation has won her only start over this Turffontein 1160m but has only raced in fillies’ company and could find this on a different level.
On paper La Bella Mia is the best-handicapped runner and she has a 4kg claimer aboard in apprentice Nathan Klink. She, too, has set her rating up against others of her sex and in her only run against the boys she finished 11th of 14 runners.
This is not an easy card to navigate but there could be two bankers in Races 6 and 7. Both are Maiden Plates for three-year-olds over 1400m and there are a couple of runners who stand out.
Race 6 is explicitly for fillies and Deerupt looks very difficult to beat. Although a maiden, her last run was in feature race over this distance at Greyville where she finished a 2.75-length fourth behind Firdoas.
Sean Tarry saddles Vartanium in Race 7 who ran an improved race over 1160m in his comeback from a rest. Tarry had the Var colt in Cape Town early on and he will be hard to beat over this additional 240m.