Bass hoping for better from Scottsville favourite
Preview: South Africa, Saturday 3.10pm BST
Scottsville: Golden Horse Casino Sprint (Grade 1 hcap) 6f, turf, 3yo+
ANTE-POST favourite What A Winter (Mike Bass/Bernard Fayd'Herbe) faces a stiff task under top weight and disappointed when odds-on in this race last year.
Mike Bass reckons he was in need of a prep run when only third in last month's Computaform Sprint and is hoping for better.
He said: "He has a big weight to shoulder but I am expecting him to be right there at the finish. He is working very well."
Favourites have a good record, winning three of the last four, but the big mover is stable companion Castlethorpe (Karl Neisius), who has won his last two over this trip and is now 5-1 (from 8).
Bass said: "Unfortunately he has drawn badly. A lot is going to depend on how he handles the outside draw."
Link Man (Mike de Kock/Anthony Delpech) runs for the first time since disappointing in the Queen's Plate in January but assistant trainer Nathan Kotzen said: "He is ready for the race and he likes to run fresh."
Delago Deluxe (Charles Laird/Anton Marcus) failed to reproduce his two-year-old best when sent to Cape Town and is now back with Laird who said: "His preparation has been completed without a hitch but I cannot say that he is better than my other horse Unannounced (Raymond Danielson). I give them both a big chance."
Also on Saturday
Scottsville: Allan Robertson Championship (Grade 1) 6f, 2yo fillies (1.10pm BST)
Valdivia (Vaughan Marshall/M.J. Byleveld) is unbeaten and unextended in three starts and has been backed from 6-5 to 4-5.
However, Marshall has long maintained that All Is Secret (Anton Marcus) is the better of the pair even though she was narrowly beaten over this course and distance last time.
He said: "She had missed a piece of grass work about two weeks before that race and she wasn't at her best. She has done very well since and I think she could be my number one hope."
It could be worth noting that no favourite has won for seven years.
Franny (Gavin van Zyl/Richard Fourie) looked something special before being beaten at odds-on last time.
Scottsville: Tsogo Sun Medallion (Grade 1) 6f, turf, 2yo+ (1.50pm BST)
Favourites have won six of the last ten and spectacular debut winner Cape Royal (Dean Kannemeyer/ Karl Neisius) heads the market.
Kannemeyer said: "He is a speed horse and very fast. It would have been ideal to get another race under his belt before he left Cape Town but he had a slight setback with mucus in his lungs and couldn't run."
Reign As Kings (Mike de Kock/Anthony Delpech) has won his last three, including once on this course, while there has been a lot of money for Blizzard Of Ozz (Dennis Drier/Alec Forbes). The hat-trick seeking Twitter (Vaughan Marshall/ M.J.Byleveld) and Ziparana (Waiho Marwing/Robbie Fradd) also have claims.
Scottsville: South African Fillies Sprint (Grade 1) 6f, turf, 3yo+ f/m (2.30pm BST)
Last year's Allan Robertson winner Princess Victoria (Glen Kotzen/Sean Cormack) is as short as 8-5 despite not pleasing all observers in a gallop earlier in the week.
The only others quoted locally at less than 14-1 are Welwitschia (Mike de Kock/Anthony Delpech) and the high class Ebony Flyer (Justin Snaith/Bernard Fayd'Herbe) who has shown her best form over a mile.
Snaith said: "This is a prep run for the Gold Challenge. Also this is her first start after her [second] breathing operation and we are not sure how she will handle the Scottsville downhill."