JOHAN JANSE VAN VUUREN
Bonginkosi Nkosi: For the betting public, the KwaZulu-Natal barrier trial system is a massive positive because it affords an in-form horse the opportunity to come into a competitive race having at least had a run under the belt, which in a way cancels out the disadvantage of ring-rust.
In the past you would have been advised to stay far away from Kingston Park when he reunites with jockey Anton Marcus in Sunday’s Race 3, a MR 72 Handicap over 1200m on the Greyville Polytrack, simply because he is returning from a lengthy 226-day stint off the racetrack.
Fortunately, Johan Janse van Vuuren’s Sail From Seattle gelding ran in a barrier trial recently and although not hard-ridden, he made an absolute mockery of the field, skipping 1.50 lengths clear of Valiente.
The great news is that form line has produced a winner.
Not only is this three-year-old smartly drawn at No 3 in this 13-horse field, he also showed a tremendous liking for the synthetic surfacing in his penultimate performance, defeating Amitiel – who was 2.5kg better off – by a gutsy 0.25 lengths.
Kingston Park looks a worthy Pick 6 banker, but if you’re wary and your budget permits, consider adding the Andre Nel-trained Open Court. He was far from disgraced when beaten no more than 1.90 lengths by Leslies Pathtofame at this venue last time out.
He returns from a 60-day stint off the track and unlike the selection, this four-year-old has not had a barrier trial so he could be victim of ring-rust.
Open Court is well drawn at No 5 and considering apprentice jockey Jason Gates – who claims 2.5kg – takes the ride, this son of Sail From Seattle will shoulder 3kg less than Marcus’ mount with 53kg.
Nel’s charge has won at this racetrack and if Gates can get him to reproduce his penultimate performance, when beaten the whisker margin of 0.15 lengths into second by Concealed Secret, he will surely give Kingston Park a torrid time passing the finish line.
Jockey Muzi Yeni has been riding like a demon this season and should add another winner to his rapidly rising tally when Holy Flame lines up in Race 8, a MR 64 Handicap over 2000m.
This Duncan Howells-trained filly has been forced settle for the runner-up position in her last two attempts over this course and distance, beaten four lengths by Gigilo most recently. She comes into this contest with just 54kg to shoulder and jumps from a plum No 1 draw so a loss is unlikely.