Toffa’s Talk

It’s time for racing to strike!

With all other sports being postponed or cancelled, there couldn’t be a better time for Horse Racing to play its hand. With most jurisdictions continuing with their race days behind closed doors and betting opportunities at an all-time low for the general punting public, you would expect those controlling racing to turn it up a notch and maximize. It’s time to start throwing free bets at sports punters in the aim of converting them to the sport of racing! There should be a massive push to get public sports channels to air our race meetings as they are desperate for live sports coverage to service their loyal sports viewers. I may be asking a bit much from an industry that has on the whole failed to innovate and be relevant in today’s modern world but when opportunity comes knocking, it needs to be taken!

In South Africa it’s a decent weeks racing as we are in the middle of the Gauteng season. Tuesday’s racing at the Vaal looks a competitive card filled with handicaps and maidens and although on face value there is not much to sing home about, there are a few handicappers on the up trying to bridge the gap to Pattern class. Elusive Force is of great interest in Race 7 as she comes out of her maiden win and into handicap company for the first time. She beat Smoking Hot on that occasion who subsequently ran 2nd in the Oaks Trial this past weekend and could be anything. Palace Assembly is another that should put up a bold showing for the team of Mike & Adam Azzie. The Potala Palace gelding ran a great race last time out when he was beat by the group placed filly, Spiritofthegrove and under favorable weight terms on Tuesday, he should be a huge runner.

Thursday’s card at Turffontein is high in quality and we should see some fantastic racing! Marshall, who was expected to be a threat in the SA Classic makes an appearance in a MR 109 handicap against a few hardy older handicappers as well as the consistent 3YO Indy Go from the Candice Dawson stable. The 3YOs look to have the right credentials in this field and it would be fantastic to see Marshall fulfill the early season promise he showed.

Also on Thursday is an extremely deep F&M Graduation plate that sees the Gr. 2 Fillies Guineas 2nd, Rio’s Winter take on a high class field of 3YOs. Wylie Wench who has been thought highly of by the Azzie’s comes into this after a facile maiden victory from a terrible draw and we have no idea where her talent may end. Stellar Motion who is owned by Ralphs Racing, also takes her place here after winning convincingly against lesser competition on her comeback after a small setback and is another that is unexposed. Wisteria Walk from the Houdalakis stable is rated just 2 points inferior to Rio’s Winter and will have her first run after her brief trip to Cape Town for the R5 million CTS sales race in which she finished 7th among the boys. Vaseem came out on Saturday to frank the form which makes Wisteria Walk a very live contender in this race. She is the pick for me in what should be a mouth watering midweek clash.

For The Future

This is a new feature where I will pick a performance from the previous week and look to a future feature race or simply pick out a horse that needs to be followed in future wherever they may run. This weeks performer was Mr Flood (below). It’s not obscure, it’s not a hard one to find but his effort on Saturday in the Gr.2 Senor Santa needs to be upgraded as he found himself on the wrong side of the track in conditions that were not ideal and he still managed to finish a very good 2nd to former Gr.1 winner Mighty High even though he gave her weight. He will be an extremely tough nut to crack in the Gr. 1 Computaform Sprint later in the season and is a horse that must be followed!

I’ll be back on Friday to look ahead to the weekend’s racing which at this stage looks as if we may be seeing the debuts of some extremely well bred juveniles!