Jack Milner: Although the fields are typically small at Durbanville on Tuesday, the racing overall remains competitive.
Topping the card is a MR 90 Handicap over 1250m and there could be some value to go with Bernie in Race 4.
The key to this event is the distance. While bookmakers have priced up Spectra Force and Frank Lloyd Wright at 22-10, both have produced their best form over further than 1250m. The pair met over 1400m at this course last time with Spectra Force running out an easy winner by 3.25 lengths. Trained by the father and daughter duo of Harold Crawford and Michelle Rix, Spectra Force was given a seven-point (3.5kg) penalty for that victory and that represents the swing in weights for this event.
Spectra Force has a decent enough record at Durbanville, having three wins and four second places in eight starts. However, he has yet to run over this distance at the course. Three of his five wins have been over 1600m and the other two over 1400m.
The same is true of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose three wins have been over 1400m. The good news for the Justin Snaith yard is that Richard Fourie is back in the irons on this occasion.
Nasty Harry is priced up at 33-10 but he is held on form by Bernie. The pair met over 1200m at Kenilworth in August in a race won by Machiavelli. Nasty Harry finished 0.70 lengths ahead but he is now 3kg worse off.
So, putting all of that together, the 4-1 on offer about Bernie looks quite appetising, especially when you look at his record over the course and distance which is two second places in two runs. Two runs back he was narrowly touched off by Photocopy over this track and trip, while last time, over 1000m at this course, he ran on powerfully to finish a 1.10-length fourth behind Bellingham Bay.
The Candice Bass-Robinson yard has had a slow start to the season but they are now running into form. She has put apprentice Sandile Mbhele, who was on board last time, in the irons and he claims 1.5kg.
One runner who could cause an upset is Jean’s Man. This three-year-old son of Jay Peg has only raced three times, winning his second start in May over 1000m at this course. He has since been gelded and made a decent enough start to the season when staying on nicely last time to finish a 3.85-length fourth behind Rio Querari.
Trainer Bill Prestage has a reputation of being a real “shrewdie” so watch for any betting moves for Jean’s Man who has just 52kg on his back, and Anthony Andrews in the irons.