Princess Anastasia set to reign Greyville
By Andrew Harrison
DURBAN - Dennis Drier, back from his extended stay in Cape Town, will be keen to get the ball rolling back on home soil and can start with Princess Anastasia.
Drier has set her a stiff task first up out of the maidens when she lines up in the sixth on the poly at Hollywoodbets Greyville today, but she could well prove up to the task.
Princess Anastasia boasts a blue-blood pedigree, but one that suggested that she should enjoy a stretch in trip which possibly accounted for her winning at long odds at second time of asking.
She made a modest debut over the Greyville short cut in soft ground which gave little indication of her chances at her second start at Hollywoodbets Scottsville. She galloped in the pack for most of the journey before Tristan Godden released the handbrake. Her response was instant and she swept clear of the opposition to win as she liked.
Princess Anastasia takes a jump in class but also, given current evidence, should be more at home over the 1 600m trip. She takes on a useful field and makes her poly debut but looks up to the task at hand.
Her biggest threat could come in the form of Quickstep Lady. Western Cape-based Andre Nel has sent her up to Byron Forster at Summerveld for what could be a tilt at some of the Champions Season features and her Cape form is not too shabby.
Although only successful in a maiden in 15 starts, she has finished runner-up on seven occasions. She makes her poly debut but also takes a drop in class.
In the first race, Johan Janse van Vuuren saddles West Coast Lover who has come on nicely at recent outings and has his third run after a break and a smart showing over the Turffontein 1 400m.
He should be ideally suited to this course and distance and although facing some consistent older maidens he should have enough to win this.
Seventh Song is seldom far back and was narrowly beaten over course and distance last run while the lightly raced Boardmaster made a promising debut at long odds and the experience should count in his favour.
The second is an open handicap and it may prove prudent to go wide in any exotics. Alphamikefoxtrot was not far back to stronger on the turf last outing but his best recent form has been on the poly over this trip.
Leslies Pathtofame made sudden improvement in a tough race last start and a repeat can see him go one better while Precious Love and Running Freely can surprise.
It is never easy winning first run out of the maidens but Moobheera, having only her second start and first run for the Paul and Beth Gadsby stable, won well enough suggest that she is good enough to follow up in this company.
Mark Dixon has persisted with She’s A Dream and has been trying her over further. She is back over what may well prove to be her preferred trip and she showed improvement when back in weaker company last run. She has also tumbled down the ratings.
Purple Nkanyezi has a tricky draw but showed up well when taking a drop in class last start. She got a two-point raise for that effort but has a chance in spite of a wide draw.
The fourth is another difficult filly’s handicap. Capriccio has not been out of the money since shedding her maiden over course and distance and a second win would not be out of turn.
Abbey Wood is a recent maiden winner but has shown some promise and goes well over this trip while Bell Jar is not the biggest but seldom runs a poor race. She has been close-up at her last two. Fire Faerie has the widest draw but is consistent and has gone close to stronger.
The card doesn’t get any easier in the fifth but Fireonthetrack has shown up well in his last two starts on the poly. With a four-claiming apprentice up he should make a bold bid.
Smart Sox has taken to the poly of late and has been close-up at his last two. He takes a small rise in class but looks good enough to feature prominently. Tiger Tank was a well-beaten fourth last run but is re-united with his regular pilot and from a plum draw can go close. Legislate’s Dance and Mambo Symphony are others to consider.
In the seventh, Mexican Catdance makes some appeal as he has been holding form since his maiden win. He has the best of the draw and the extra should suit. Tarzan has had one outing since a break and showed up well in a competitive sprint.
He will prefer this trip and should be a big runner. Major Return has been up against stronger on the Highveld. New stable and is one to watch. Lightning Spirit and Parktown are others to watch.
Louise Goosen can round off the afternoon with Rubondo who made marked improvement last run with a first-time tongue-tie. Deon Sampson has been ‘imported’ to ride. Tienie Prinsloo had success last Monday with Foxy Lady and he saddles the luckless Montana Sky who seldom cracks a decent draw and has another to contend with.
Jarred Samuel may well have had success with his objection against Secret Is Ours if he had finished a little closer and one better here would be just reward. Alfredo is always thereabouts and has run his best race over course and distance when allowed to bowl along while Guiseppi’s Song showed up well first run on the poly. Lightly raced he could surprise.