Jack Milner: In a rare move, we will be having a feature race at the Vaal on Thursday with the running of the Listed Spook Express Handicap over 2400m.
This is an event for fillies and mares and it looks to be at the mercy of Sean Tarry-trained Forest Express. This four-year-old daughter of Oracy stays all day and is in top form.
In her last six starts she has notched up two wins, three seconds and a third and in her last start she came back from a four-month layoff to easily beat Woodland Forest by 2.20 lengths in an Assessment Plate over the course and distance.
As she was the best-handicapped runner by some distance, Forest Express received no penalty and comes into this event carrying 55kg. Champion jockey Lyle Hewitson, who has been aboard the filly in two of her victories, takes the ride again.
The biggest threat is likely to be posed by Mike de Kock-trained Silver Thursday. She is a talented filly, and on her day would sweep aside a field of this nature. However, she is proving to be quite frustrating as she does not always produce her best.
Her last two starts were in the Grade 3 Acacia and Listed Jacaranda Handicap respectively and she failed to produce the goods. Last time, jockey Warren Kennedy reported she was not striding out but the vet could find nothing wrong.
However, should Silver Thursday repeat her third last run when one length behind Fort Ember in a Pinnacle Stakes over 2000m, she could be tough to peg back. Her only run over this sort of distance was in last year’s Grade 2 SA Oaks where she faded late to finish fifth, 4.75 lengths behind Secret Potion. On breeding, this sort of distance should not be beyond her scope.
Randall Simons takes the ride.
Gottalottaluv was all the rage to win her last start, the Sun Chariot Handicap over 2400m at Turffontein but faded out of the race finish one from the back. The vet reported she was “fatigued” at the pull-up and she may have been incubating something. However, prior to that she won two races in good style, one of them over this distance, so perhaps the last run should be ignored.
This Stuart Pettigrew-trained runner is clearly a lot better than that run so she should be given another chance. Diego de Gouveia, who was up when she had those two wins, is back in the irons.
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