Scratching opens door for Vistula

Scratching opens door for Vistula


Jack Milner: Although Vistula is undoubtedly a top-class filly, she might be at the end of her ambit when running over 1600m.

She won easily over that distance in the early part of her career but then she was running against weaker opposition but now she is running against some of the best milers in the country, it has not been that effortless for her.

She finished fifth in the Grade 1 Garden Province Stakes, ninth in the Grade 2 Ipi Tombe Stakes behind Ronnie’s Candy and then second behind Roy’s Riviera in the Grade 3 Flamboyant Stakes.

She is unbeaten in four starts up the straight Vaal course – over 1200m, 1400m and 1600m – but in lesser company and for the first time she will be running over 1500m in Race 6 at the Vaal tomorrow, a Pinnacle Stakes for fillies and mares.

Paul Peter’s charge is marginally the best handicapped runner – by 0.5kg over Perfect Tigress – and that puts her in a strong position, but she could find up-and-coming Mill Queen a touch too good.

Mill Queen looked the obvious improver and the horse to beat but with her being scratched on Tuesday morning, it has opened the door for Vistula. Another runner to consider is In The Dance from the Sean Tarry yard. This four-year-old daughter of Gimmethegreenlight finished a 1.75-length second in the Ipi Tombe Stakes and followed that up with a 1.05-length third behind Chijmes in open company.

Whatever the fate of Vistula in Race 6, the Peter stable could notch up a win in Race 7, a MR 104 Handicap over 1600m, with Shukamisa. This six-year-old son of Silvano made a very nice reappearance at the track following an almost six-month layoff when a 0.80-length third behind The Dazzler in the Listed Christmas Handicap at Greyville last month.

Progeny of Silvano seem to get better with age and this consistent gelding should go off at a decent price, even though he forms part of the hottest combination in South African racing at the moment.

At the time of writing Warren Kennedy holds a 32-win lead over Greg Cheyne in his race for this season’s jockeys’ title and is in high demand with many trainers.

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