Racing returns to Scottsville on Wednesday after an interval of six weeks and while punters will enjoy a change of KwaZulu-Natal scenery, they’ll be scrutinising form lines to find the “Maritzburg marvels”.
As much as many of us love this racecourse, it is a trifle idiosyncratic and some horses don’t take to it. Others don’t seem to mind it at all, while yet others relish the tough uphill finishing stretch and can become transformed from plodders to powerhouses. It’s an example of the horses for courses adage in practise.
The highlight of the Wednesday programme is Race 7, a MR100 Handicap over the straight 1100m, featuring a few members of the Scottsville Appreciation Society (Equine Chapter).
Trainer Yogas Govender’s five-year-old has won at other venues, but four of his seven career successes (and three seconds) have come from just 11 starts at Scottsville.
In-form Luke Ferraris was in the plate for that February record-smasher and returns to try to repeat – which would give Filippo a hat-trick, his penultimate race being a hard-fought 1000m win at Greyville.
Filippo would be a nap bet if it wasn’t for a clutch of others that clearly fancy Piemburg, as author Tom Sharpe dubbed the provincial capital in his hilarious books back in the day.
Take three-year-old Light That Loose, who has won three times in seven starts – all sprints up the Scottsville stretch. His last effort saw him recover from a bump at the 1000m start – often a killer blow – to mow down his opposition to win easily under Raymond Danielson, who returns to do duty for Glen Kotzen.
Then there’s Louis Goosen’s ultra-consistent and well-named speedster Good Rhythm, who has three seconds and a third from five visits. And, of course, Nathan Kotzen’s Captain Oupie, with two wins from three ventures.
And there are more contenders who have shown a liking for this place. It might be that trainers who know their horses well have been eagerly awaiting this opportunity.
It makes for an interesting contest, but it doesn’t help us find a Pick 6 banker – with other races on the card also head-scratchers for players.
Karoo Lark in the fifth race and Golden Trip in the eighth are two potential bankers for the brave of heart.
Seekers of a little value should not leave out Rise in the sixth, a four-year-old filly whose stats show a distinct Scottsville bias.
8 Gallic Chief, 2 Coming In Hot, 12 Quiz Master, 4 Catch The Tune
13 Civil Rights, 3 Rock On Philly, 7 Tinder Dry, 2 Aisling
5 Grey Ocean, 9 Casimiro, 7 Shamoosi, 15 Trumpet Voluntary
1 Williams Land, 4 Socrates, 7 Native Tongue, 11 Mr Fitz
3 Karoo Lark, 1 Diamondsandpearls, 12 African Sunrise, 4 Cane Lime ’N Soda
4 Rise, 7 Twice To Sydney, 6 Keep On Dancing, 2 Burnt Jasper
5 Filippo, 10 Light That Loose, 7 Good Rhythm, 6 Captain Oupie
3 Golden Trip, 16 Duchess Of Sussex, 12 Blanchetta, 1 Backstop
5,7,9,15 x 1,3,4,7,9,11 x 1,3 x 4,6,7 x 5,7,10 x 3,16 (R864)
2,7,13 x 5,9 x 1,4,7 x 3 x 4,7 x 5 x 3 (R36)