where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2018-06-09 01:37:58  
Snowdance's Big Day against the Boys

Snaith would have preferred a more gentle return to the track but Snowdance hooked up with a rival who was just that much fitter. 

There are many pundits who subscribe to the theory of ‘second run after a lay-off’ and will be wary of Snowdance’s chances in the Gr1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge.

The filly takes on males in tomorrow’s Gr1 contest at Greyville and she comes off a bruising battle with Fiorella in the Gr2 Daisy Fillies Guineas, her first run after winning the Klawervlei Majorca Stakes back in January.

It was no doubt not the ideal return to racing, finishing second notwithstanding. Justin Snaith would have preferred a more gentle return to the track but Snowdance hooked up with a rival who was just that much fitter and it was a seriously testing final furlong.

Captain America (Nkosi Hlophe)
Captain America

That race was a month ago, so there has been time for a little R&R, but Snowdance takes on some seriously good male milers headed by Captain America and this race will be no ‘gimme’.

Captain America will be defending his crown and is as game as they come. His last win came in this race last year but his recent form is impeccable and the break since finishing two lengths back to Oh Susanna in the Sun Met should not be a factor as he has shown that he races fresh.

Crawford said earlier in the week, “He is fine. He had a little problem when arriving in Durban, which is why he has not run yet, but we have done the best we can to have him race fit. Ideally it would have been nice to have had a run but he looks well, his work has been good and he runs well fresh.”

A ’mile’ is his optimum trip and he is a length inferior to Legal Eagle who is unbeaten over the distance. With that in mind, Snowdance will have her work cut out.

Brett Crawford holds a strong hand with Sail South and Undercover Agent also entered. There is very little between Sail South and Captain America over a mile and Sail South has had the benefit of a recent outing when three lengths back to Perovskia in the Drill Hall Stakes which could possibly give him the edge. Bernard Fayde’Herbe has committed to Sail South for the season so little can be read into the riding arrangements here but stable rider Corne Orffer will have had a choice between Undercover Agent and Captain America. Undercover Agent went down narrowly to Perovskia in the Drill Hall and this will be his third run after a break so should be at his very peak.

“He is drawn well is in great form and I expect another honest run. He beat most of the opposition here in the Drill Hall so it will be interesting to see how he goes against them over a mile,” said Crawford.

Captain America is the stable darling, so that may have swayed Orffer in his choice and apprentice Lyle Hewitson picks up the ride on Undercover Agent. Hewitson has had a phenomenal season and is way clean on the National Jockey’s table. A win would add more lustre to his feat and he will fancy his chances here.

Perovskia (Candiese Marnewick)
Perovskia (Candiese Marnewick)

Gold Standard and Roy Had Enough are both Vodacom Durban July entries and with a number of runners that were included in the last July log having defected for one reason or another, both have good chances of making the final field although a forward showing would not do their cause any harm.

The Gr3 Cup Trial is traditionally the last chance saloon for July hopefuls and tomorrow’s event is no different. African Night Sky, after his unlucky second to stable companion Star Express last time out, is an obvious choice and a certainty to make the VDJ field. Given that he is among the top weights in the Trial, victory should not earn him much of a penalty with the July weights due out on Tuesday, June 19.

Perovskia surprised many when willing the Drill Halls Stakes beating hot favourite Undercover Agent and with that win cemented his place in the VDJ field. He will much prefer tomorrow’s 1800m trip and like African Night Sky would not face a huge penalty for victory.

Those on the outside looking in to VDJ selection but with realistic chances of making the field with a win include Head Honcho, Platinum Prince, Wild Wicket, Mambo Mime and the filly Roy’s Riviera.

Platinum Prince, second in the King’s Cup and fourth in the WSB 1900 is a borderline case. Expect a massive run from the Snaith entry and a must for all exotic bets. Head Honcho is unbeaten since being sent over ground and beat Pack Leader, many a pundits July fancy, in the Sledgehammer. Mambo Mime will need a forward showing but Kegan de Melo has defected to Head Honcho which may be telling. Wild Wicket and Crowd Pleaser would need to win while Roy’s Riviera has not been far back in hotly contested fillies features and with 52kg on her back, could surprise.

Gold Circle 

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