Viv Greybe: It’s the Eastern Cape’s big racing weekend as Fairview hosts the final leg of the Poly Challenge on Friday on the Polytrack and then switches to the turf on Saturday for the running of the Listed East Cape Derby.
Sharon Kotzen-trained Lets Play Ball has the right credentials to claim top honours in the Poly Challenge when teamed up with Richard Fourie and stepping up the distance to 1600m.
In his penultimate out when attempting a third consecutive win at the Polytrack he was unplaced in Leg 1 of the Poly Challenge over 1200m, but was seen to be doing his work late in finishing 2.90 lengths off the winner.
Relishing the increase in distance to 1400m next time in Leg 2 of the Challenge, he recovered from a slow start and ran on strongly to score by an increasing 2.25 lengths. With leading Western Cape jockey Fourie booked for the ride this progressive four-time winner will be tough to beat over the extra distance.
But expect a bold bid from Lord Windermere (Teaque Gould) and Breakfast Club (Greg Cheyne) who are both out of the powerful Alan Greeff stable.
Consistent four-time winner Lord Windermere did not participate in Leg 1 of the Challenge, but turned in a bright performance in Leg 2 when partnered by Gould and running on gamely to finish a 2.25-length second to Lets Play Ball. With the confidence gained from that run the combination should be in the final call again.
Charles Ndlovu was aboard six-time winner Breakfast Club in his penultimate outing when a fast-finishing short-head second to stablemate Juan Two Three in Leg 1 over 1200m. Cheyne had the ride next time when slow out and finishing fourth. Jumping from the best draw this time he should go much closer.
Best of the others are Fantasy Art, Streak Of Silver and Border Control.
Turning to the minor events, three-year-old Captain Hook out of the hot stable of Yvette Bremner with champion Lyle Hewitson in the saddle again should not miss in Race 3, a Maiden Plate over 2200m. This three-year-old was backed in his last two outings when a runner-up over 1900m and 1600m at the Polytrack. The gelding will enjoy the step up to 2200m and could recoup losses.
His main rivals are Conquering King, Mindmymooood, Engadine and Piper Cub.
Bremner-trained High Definition has been threatening a sixth career in his last three outings at the Polytrack and that win is likely to come in Race 5 when teamed up with Wayne Agrella in a MR 72 Handicap over 1300m.
Making most appeal of the others are stablemate Hard Core, along with Captain Parker, Larry Jack and Scribo.
Western Cape raiders will be out in force to liftt the East Cape Derby (Listed) for three-year-olds over 2400m.
The one who could be up to the task is Greg Ennion-trained two-time winner Cedar Man with top-flight Gavin Lerena in the saddle.
This son of Pomodoro showed he has no stamina doubts when winning with authority four runs back at Kenilworth over 2500m, and then following up with a game fourth out of 13 in a Grade 2 contest at the same venue.
He held form well in his two subsequent runs when a close second over 3200m, and then switched to Durbanville where he carried 59.5kg and was a gallant neck second over 2000m.
This free-striding gelding should step out fit and will be tough to beat over the extra distance.
Expect stiff rivalry from three-time winner St Vladimir (Corne Orffer) out of the hot stable of Brett Crawford. This raider posted a decisive hat-trick at Kenilworth, and then at Durbanville in his subsequent outing the colt was a creditable fifth, 3.65 lengths behind second-placed Cedar Man at level weights over 2000m.
Champion East Cape trainer Alan Greeff will justifiably be pinning his hopes of victory with his sole runner, In A Perfect World, with Greg Cheyne aboard. This three-time winner has come through his prep runs well with Cheyne up – scoring over 1600m, and then over 2000m he ran on strongly from last after a slow start to win by an increasing 1.25 lengths. The combination should be in the final call again.
Also worthy of respect is Western Cape raider Swift Surprise (Richard Fourie) out of the stable of leading Western Cape trainer Justin Snaith.
This son of Twice Over showed smart form in his three runs since being gelded. Partnered by Fourie, he ran out a clear-cut winner over 1600m at Kenilworth and followed up with a smart pillar-to-post win over 2000m at Durbanville. The gelding was not disgraced in his subsequent outing when attempting the course and distance double under 59.5kg and finishing third.
The best of the remainder are Just Chaos, Drop Kick and Western Cape raider Mercurana.
The Saturday meeting will feature a Pick 6 Megapool with a carryover of R500 000 and a final pool of R2 million expected.
It will also have a Quartet Megapool in Race 7 with a carryover of R100 000 and a final pool of R400 000 expected.
To take a bet go to www.tabonline.co.za or www.bettingworld.co.za