Four runs back, coming off a short break and having his first run for Smith, the gelding was an encouraging runner-up over 2000m. Then, ridden by Gould and stepping up in class, he ran on stoutly from last after a slow start and finished a gallant short-head second in the Algoa Cup (Listed) over 2000m.
Backed into the red in his following outing with Lyle Hewitson up, the gelding again put in his work late but had to settle for a 2.75-length fourth in a MR 72 Handicap over 1900m. Reunited with Gould, the seasoned campaigner made light of 58kg, flashing up from last to score by an increasing 3.50 lengths in a MR 90 Handicap over 1800m.
The manner of the combination’s last win should see this five-time winner double up over the extra distance.
Also stepping up in distance, another five-time winner worthy of consideration is Alan Greeff’s sole entry in the race, Fire In The Belly, with Greg Cheyne aboard. Cheyne knows what is required as he has partnered the five-year-old to victory three times. The combination was a creditable sixth out of 14 in the Algoa Cup and could pose a threat.
Both will have to be on guard against four-time winner Grandissimo out of the hot stable of Yvette Bremner with champion Lyle Hewitson up.
This five-year-old has no stamina doubts as he was a clear-cut winner under 59kg three runs back in a MR 69 Handicap over the course and distance. Then stepping up the distance and carrying 58.5kg in his most recent outing, he came from last after a slow start to score gamely with Hewitson aboard over 2800m in a MR 72 Handicap. Though up in class, the gelding rates a major threat with just 53.5kg on his back.
Next best is Sharon Kotzen-trained three-time winner Multi Gold with Nooresh Juglall up. This four-year-old has been threatening another win; last time he ran on well from a slow start and finished runner-up to Grandissimo over 2800m.The gelding renews rivalry with Grandissimo at level weights of 53.5kg, so he should be in the final call again.
Go for Greeff-trained Seattle Choice (Cheyne) in Race 1, a 1200m Maiden Plate. This gelding was heavily backed last time when coming from last after an untidy start and finishing a head second over the course and distance. With the experience gained from that run he looks a standout bet.
Follow the Greeff-Cheyne combination in Race 3 when teamed up with Lloyd George in a 1400m Maiden Plate. This three-year-old will also be out on a retrieving mission after being solidly backed and finishing second out of 16 over 1000m. The colt is unlikely to miss this time over the extra distance.