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Barend Botes, the trainer they call ‘Mr Fixit’ due to his skills with moderate and injury-prone horses, has a good chance of adding to his seasonal tally in the G2 KZN Oaks over 2450m at Scottsville
Botes (52) and partner Yolandie Vosloo have enjoyed a good season so far. They got mighty close to their first G1 success with seven-year-old campaigner Golden Pheasant, who came within a length-and-a-half of winning the Summer Cup as a rank outsider, and three-year-old Light Of The Moon, who ran Silver Darling to just over a length in the Woolavington at Greyville last month.
Light Of The Moon is second favourite for Saturday’s Oaks, in which the accomplished five-year-old mare, She’s A Keeper, is the 2-1 favourite on Betway’s boards. It looks like a two-cornered contest in which the value lies with Light Of The Moon at 4-1, given a 4kg pull at the weights and arguably her better suitability to the marathon trip. “Light Of The Moon is in good nick for this race,” Botes said earlier this week.
The G3 KZN Derby also shapes as an exciting duel. Here we have three-year-old runner Senso Unico and four-year-old Silvano’s Timer as the main contenders, and it should be a fascinating contest. Senso Unico was quietly fancied to win G1 Daily News recently – he finished a creditable fifth against stronger – while Silvano’s Timer sliced through the field for a commanding win in a handicap recently. Both will have their first attempts at 2400m which makes the race even more interesting and again, the value lies with the second favourite, in this case Silvano’s Timer on which you can secure 7-2 on Betway (Friday afternoon).
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Mike de Kock was left scratching his head when Al Sakeet ran way below his best in the recent Golden Horse Sprint at Greyville. His charge is back in a sprint handicap (Race 8) and Mike said on Friday: “I really thought he’d run a big race but he walked over the line and there was nothing physically wrong with him. The jockey said he pulled too hard and faded. He’s work is very good, again, we’re taking the blinkers off and bringing him back to 1000m, his best distance. I’m expecting a big run, hoping he delivers this time.”
Good Queen Bess (Race 9) has been somewhat of an enigma in her lightly-raced career so far and Mike said: “She has me confused. She is by Kingman from a mare by Champs Elysees and everything in her pedigree suggests stamina, her three-parts brother won over a mile-and-a-half. We’ve tried her over 1500m and 1800m without success. We’re back over 1200m now, she won her Maiden over 1160m and she’s had two other good sprints, so this may be truly what she wants. She should run well.”
Turffontein hosts a typical ‘bread-and-butter’ winter’s meeting on the inside track, Sunday. Johan Janse van Vuuren’s Fast Love is approaching his peak and is bound to be a popular choice and best bet of the day in Race 5 over 1450m.
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