Viv Greybe: The Tara Laing stable has a strong hand with three runners in Race 3 and the main event at Fairview on Friday – the Racing Association Pinnacle Stakes – but the one most likely to lead the trio’s attack in this 1600m contest is top-weight Afrikaburn with champion jockey Lyle Hewitson aboard.
This seven-year-old recorded his fifth career win four runs back when slow out and scoring decisively in the Fairview 1400. He fared creditably in his next two outings when carrying 61kg and finishing third and second in Pinnacle events over 1600m and 1400m. The gelding was not disgraced in his subsequent run when just missing the frame in the 1600m Founders Trophy.
However, the seasoned campaigner returns refreshed after a 70-day break, and with Hewitson aboard for the first time, the combination could be in the winner’s enclosure.
Expect a strong challenge from his nine-time winning stablemate, Stormy Eclipse, with Chase Maujean up. This seven-year-old has been threatening another win since scoring narrowly under 62kg in a Pinnacle Stakes over 1600m. The gelding confirmed his current wellbeing in his last two outings when ridden by Maujean and finishing third in both a 2200m Pinnacle Stakes and the 2000m Algoa Cup (Listed).
Also worthy of consideration are Streak Of Silver (Teaque Gould) and Kimberley Star (Greg Cheyne), both out of Alan Greeff’s yard.
Five-time winner Silver Streak comes off an inspiring fast-finishing second over 1600m. Four-time winner Kimberley Star was a smart course-and-distance winner in his penultimate outing, but was unplaced next time when reported to be striding short. The booking of the stable’s frontline jockey would infer this four-year-old has recovered from the setback.
Turning to the minor events, Hewitson could get punters away to a profitable start in Race 1 when teamed up with Yvette Bremner-trained Coal in a 1000m Maiden Plate. This three-year-old has yet to be unplaced in his five starts – Hewitson was aboard in the last two and it could be third time lucky for him.
The combination has a bright chance of success in Race 2 with Malinda who contests a Maiden Plate (F&M) over 1400m. This three-year-old ran on stoutly last time when ridden by Hewitson and finishing second over 1200m. With the advantage of a good inside draw, the filly should go one better this time over the extra distance.
Bremner-trained March Music (Hewitson) looks a stand-out bet in Race 5, a Guineas Plate for fillies over 1400m. This ultra-consistent novice went under narrowly with Hewitson aboard in a feature event last time, and should be rewarded against lesser company and having the advantage of the best draw.