There is always a debate about whether the handicappers are treating the younger horses too harshly and that is sure to come up again in the MR 84 Handicap for fillies and mares over 1600m up the Vaal straight.
Secret Dream from the Lucky Houdalakis yard and Alec Laird-trained Christmas Flower are the three-year-olds in question.
Based on the average merit ratings of their respective race wins, and the manner of the victories, the edge could be with Secret Dream. Her first two races were over 1160m and 1200m respectively in which she finished second and third. When she went over 1400m at this course the money poured on to her as if the result was known. The money was spot on as this daughter of Elusive Fort raced away from her opposition to beat Lucky Shamrock by 7.50 lengths.
Wiley Kim, stable companion to the winner, finished 15 lengths back on that occasion and then came out to win her next start so the form looks quite strong.
Marco van Rensburg takes the ride.
Christmas Flower is an interesting proposition as she ran a shocker in her first race, which was over 1160m. She lost ground at the start and was never in it. However, in her next start, over 1600m on the Turffontein Inside track, she flew like the proverbial express train to beat Starting Line by 0.40 lengths. S’manga Khumalo is riding like a demon at the moment and is back in the irons.
Interestingly, Secret Dream also raced in that 1160m Turffontein race and finished second.
The race was won by Sean Tarry-trained Tropic Sun who has gone on to run second in a Graduation Plate after that.
Then you have the four-year-olds to whom these younger horses have to give weight.
Mazari is a two-time winner and looks to be coming back to form. She has raced 26 times and is trained by Corne Spies, who is having a good run right now. This will be her third run after a layoff so you can expect a decent run from Ryan Munger’s mount.
Kapama, from the Brett Webber yard, carries just 52.5kg. She is not always the most consistent of runners but is quite capable on her day.
Destinys Game is a four-year-old who has been allotted 61kg but trainer Paul Peter has elected to use 4kg claimer Thabiso Gumede which means she will have just 57kg on her back.
There is also the older brigade with horses like six-year-old Sammi Moosa, a three-time winner who will be getting weight from Secret Dream, even with Gavin Lerena putting up 0.5kg overweight.
St John Gray’s runner has raced 67 times for three wins and 29 places.
It will be interesting to see which age group will have the edge.
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