The umThombothi Stakes, a non-black type affair over 1950m at Hollywoodbets Scottsville, is almost a replay of the recent Michael Roberts Stakes with the first two past the post, Bella Siccome and Cape Eagle in the line-up, plus a few others in this Sunday’s field although this time there is a further two furlongs to travel.
Addabar set a ridiculously fast pace in the Michael Roberts Stakes as Calvin Habib battled to settle the gelding much to MJ Odendaal’s chagrin so it was no surprise that he faded the last bit. But he did finish just over two lengths back to winner Bella Siccome and all things considered it was a brave effort. He is 0.5kg worse off with Paul Lafferty’s mare but if Deryl Daniels can get him to settle there could be a form reversal. Bella Siccome again has a light weight and meets Michael Roberts second-placed Cape Eagle on the same weight terms. Andre Nel’s gelding steps up to what may well be a more suitable trip and can turn the tables although Bella Siccome came from well off the pace to land the honours. Down To Business has his third run after a lengthy break for Peter Muscutt. He was quietly fancied last time out and boasts some top class Zimbabwe form. He should now be close to his peak. Frank Robinson sent Mexican Pete up to the Highveld to contest the Gr2 Dingaans but the colt did not travel well and finished with just one behind him. He was disappointing in the Christmas Handicap but if he can put that behind him, he must come into the reckoning along with Queue Wing and Sea Goddess.
The card has an open look about it staring in the first, a Maiden Juvenile Plate.
Grovefield found one too good for him on debut but that form has worked out quite well and he should come on with the experience. Sunka Wakan takes on males but improved nicely second time of asking and should be ready now with the benefit of Rachel Venniker’s 1.5kg allowance. Stable companion Glamorz has put in two smart recent efforts on the soft and should put in another bold effort for Paul Lafferty. Pull A Fast Ione is another to consider as she found some market support on debut but raced very green.
The result of the second should rest between Rainbow Of Roses and Weststockemarketborse.
Rainbow Of Roses has improved at her last two and was a close-up second against males last time out. Nathan Kotzen has declared blinkers and she should put in a decent showing in a weak maiden. Weststockmarketborse has her first run for her new stable. She has been knocking at the door for some time now and the change of routine could see her go one better. Of the others, Joan The Wad was running on nicely at her two on the poly. She is seldom far back and her turn will come.
In the opening leg of the Pick 6, Run To Rio has run two good races over course and distance for Stuart Ferrie. He was a close-up second behind the well regarded Yannakis last time out and can go one better. Mar Del Plata made surprise improvement last run when starting at long odds. That was in the soft but he has only had four starts and may now have come to hand. Stable companion Catavar was a touch disappointing in the soft last run after an improved previous showing. He was shorter in the market than Mar Del Plata and can make amends on more solid ground. Silver Savage also improved at long odds in the same race and must have a chance on that effort.
Four runners stand out in the first leg of the jackpot. Future Flo disappointed in the soft last time out but has run well for Michael Roberts in feature company and was touched off on this course two runs back when over a mile. Look for a big effort. Phutulicious was touched off over course and distance last time out at only his third start and a repeat will see him close again. Helsinki is overdue but his best recent form has been on the poly. He gets a tongue-tie for the first time and cannot be left out of any calculations. Captain Marsala has been in the money in all three starts since staring in blinkers. He was a beaten favourite last run and can make amends in a tough contest.
The fifth is a tricky Pinnacle Stakes. Malcolm’s Dream is a little out at the weights but goes well over course and distance. She is not the easiest but Mark Dixon appears to have finally got her mind right and she can follow up. Lady Heist was a well-beaten second behind Malcolm’s Dream last time out and is now 2kg better off in the weights. She is seldom too far back and must have a strong chance of turning the tables. Foreshore was a touch disappointing last run but is smart on her day while Ice Sunsation has been knocking on the door for some time now and could well prefer this shorter trip.
The last two handicaps are a punter’s nightmare. In the seventh Get In The Q got a four-pound raise in the handicap after her last win but she has been racing against stronger and Mark Dixon’s filly can go in again. War Empress comes from a very much in form stable and will not be short of a gallop as she stepped out three times last month. Her recent winning efforts have come on the poly although her current turf form is not bad either. She is 2kg better off with Isn’t She Bonny while Rapid Fire found market support last run and only has 52kg to shoulder. Pelargonium was touched off by War Empress on the poly last run and is 1.5kg better off in the handicap.
There are plenty in with chances in the last but although El Draque took an age to shed his maiden he made a smart handicap debut when facing a useful field. He gets 2.5kg relief from the saddle as Alyson Wright has again booked apprentice James Lihaba. Northern Warrior is over his preferred course and distance and should have the measure of both Ndaka and Happy Wanderer given the turnaround in the weights. Buster Keaton has been a beaten favourite at his last two in the soft. He could prefer this straight course.