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July pretenders step out; RA Highveld Awards.

Monday, 20 May 2019

The Grade 2 Greyville 1900 has, in the past, yielded clues for the Durban July. Eyes Wide Open (speed score 104) snuck home this year in a blanket finish from Magnificent Seven, Made to Conquer and the filly, Fresnaye, who all scored 103’s.

It was a satisfying victory for Eyes Wide Open, who won the Cape Derby and ran as high as 110 as a three-year-old before being undermined by physical problems. Whether he will regain that earlier peak level of form is debatable, but he will need to up his game for the big race to threaten Interbet antepost favourites, Hawaam (s/s 116), Rainbow Bridge (s/s112+) and Do it Again (s/s 115) who sport significantly higher figures.

Roy’s Riviera has been consistent, earning ratings in the band between 99 and 102. She secured her fourth career win in the Listed East Coast Cup over a much-improved Perfect Air (s/s 100) and Miyabi Gold (s/s100) with Snapscan (s/s 98) clocking in fourth.

Toreador gelding, Matador Man is a quirky customer who usually sleepwalks out of the gates. Still, he has compiled a fine record over 1600m at Greyville and free-wheeled in on Saturday despite losing ground again at the start. He ran an untroubled 100+ to win, having managed 105 to 106 when pressured.

The RA Highveld Feature Season awards were held on Saturday night. Basadi Faith (s/s 98) and Frosted Gold (s/s 94) garnered the juvenile prizes; Return Flight (s/s 96 +) and Hawwaam (s/s 116) picked up three-year-old honours; Tilbury Fort (s/s 105) got the nod as best older horse, with Pacific Trader (s/s 111) earning a gong in the sprinter category; ill fated, Samurai Warrior (s/s 103) was recognized as the best stayer.

Hawwaam was voted Champion Horse. He has run escalating figures of 103, 108, then an outstanding 116 and 113. The manner of his most recent victories suggest contemporaries will find it very hard to beat him in this country if he gets the right circumstances in middle distance races. A showdown with elders, Rainbow Bridge or Do It Again would be a thrilling prospect - imagine if that titanic clash takes place in the historic Durban July?

Mark VD Bio Image

Mark van Deventer

Mark van Deventer has been refining his speed figures for thoroughbred racehorses over three decades. He’s long been intrigued by the intellectual puzzle of form study. Andrew Beyer, creator of the Beyer speed figures in America, has always been his inspirational “guru.” So, the figures that underpin Mark’s analysis use Beyer’s main concepts, and have been adapted to suit South African racecourses.

The racing bug can be compelling - since 2013, this U.C.T. Psychology graduate has settled into a career as a full time journalist and racing manager.

Mark uses the insights gained from time-based analysis to convey well-researched handicapping opinions, building a reputation of integrity in the media as an imaginative handicapper with the ability to unearth live runners at juicy prices.