RINGS AND THINGS
Mike Moon: What a difference a week makes. Racing officials will certainly be hoping that’s the case with Saturday’s meeting on the Turffontein Inside track – featuring the much-delayed World Sports Betting Grand Series races, which were rained off last weekend.
Thunderstorms are forecast for Johannesburg on Saturday, but the two key events have been cleverly positioned early on the programme, so might escape any typical Highveld mid-afternoon deluge.
The difference a week can make is vividly reflected in the sponsors’ betting for Grand Series Legs 1 and 2 – Races 4 and 5 on a bumper 12-race card.
Much of the punting action has focussed on Leg 1, where Rings And Things has come in from 5-1 joint third favourite a week ago to 33-10 favouritism.
Trainer Ashley Fortune’s honest filly will be having her third run after a rest and change of stable – having won and run a close-up second place in two recent Assessment Plates. She is drawn very well at No 5 in the 1450m heat around a tight turn and has the capable Raymond Danielson to assist her, so it’s easy to see the attraction in a wide-open contest.
By contrast, last week’s 7-2 favourite, Divine Odyssey from Johan Janse van Vuuren’s stable, has drifted out to 13-2. What was being seen as a Van Vuuren Grand Series double – with hot-pot favourite Mardi Gras in Leg 2 – now looks a lot less certain.
Also in Leg 1, a ton of money has been piled on St John Gray’s charge Lake Kinneret, who has come in from the cold of 33-1 to a snuggly 17-2. A few pundits were saying this one was the dark horse of the race and punters and layers took note.
Chepardo (5-1 to 10-1), Hakeem (8-1 to 28-1) and Kings Archer (10-1 to 25-1) are conspicuous driftwood, thanks in part to some solid support for Bold Coast (40-1 to 22-1).
In Leg 2, Mardi Gras has shortened from 16-10 to 14-10, while Fortune’s charge Tsitsikamma Dance has been cut from 7-1 to 13-2.
A notable popularity casualty here is Geoff Woodruff-trained Zouaves, drifting from 11-2 to 7-1, while Mike de Kock’s Mujallad has blown out in a gale from 7-1 to 20-1.
The support for Mardi Gras suggests the week’s delay has only enhanced his chances and the handsome grey will be many people’s banker in the Pick 6.
The exotic – starting in Race 4 with Grand Series Leg 1 – will carry an estimated Megapool of R2.4 million, with a carryover of R370,137.
Both big races are likely to have final Quartet pools of R350,000 and such open and fluid betting scenarios pretty much guarantee whopping payouts in this popular bet.
There are plenty of other good wagering opportunities on the card, including in the WSB Grand Series Consolation (Non-Black Type), Race 6, which, like the two main legs, is over 1450m. Good quality racing is also provided by a Pinnacle Stakes, Race 3, and three Assessment Plates, a class of race that’s proving popular with punters.
Betting for the Grand Series:
33-10 Rings And Things; 4-1 Soldier On; 13-2 Divine Odyssey; 7-1 Sail For Joy; 17-2 Lake Kinneret; 10-1 Chepardo; 12-1 Purple Diamond; 16-1 Count Tassilo; 22-1 Bold Coast; 25-1 Kings Archer; 28-1 Hakeem;40-1 Clever Guy; 45-1 Dan The Lad.
14-10 Mardi Gras; 13-2 Tsitsikamma Dance; 7-1 Zouaves; 10-1 Bold Viking; 12-1 Full Of Attitude; 18-1 Danza; 20-1 Mujallad, African Ruler, Daffiq; 28-1 Pilou; 40-1 Irish Pride, Huyssteen; 66-1 London Secret; 66-1 Rebuked.