THE Investec Dingaans over 1600m is a pivotal leg of the Pick 6 at Turffontein on Saturday and class is always the most telling factor in this prestigious Grade 2 event, writes DAVID THISELTON of Gold Circle.
Pietro Mascagni (headline photo) is a well-bred colt by Silvano and is held in high regard. He was accorded a surprisingly low merit rating of 79 after his excellent winning debut over 1160m at Turffontein. He is out of a full sister to the champion Ice Cube and Jagged Ice, who were both top class over a mile. Coupled with Silvano’s influence, he will relish the step up in trip and has a plum draw of four. Champion Jockey Anthony Delpech, who rode him in his debut win, is retained by Wilgerbosdrift Stud, who have Monks Hood in the race. Therefore, former champion jockey Gavin Lerena is a significant booking. Pietro Mascagni looked professional on debut and should handle the turn from a plum draw of four. The Mike de Kock is in top form and have an incredible strike rate of 22,35% this season.
Big Bear was most impressive when spread-eagling the field in The Emperor’s Palace Ready To Run Cup over 1400m. He is a galloping type who has a deceptive turn of foot and will also relish the step up in trip. Against him is a draw of twelve, while the Sean Tarry yard is also going through a rare dry spell. However, Tarry runs a highly professional operation and it would be no surprise to see his runners doing well this week and the yard can then go into Saturday with confidence.
The De Kock-trained Alshibaa is by the great sire Street Cry and is unbeaten in two starts. Last time out over 1600m in a three-year-old handicap on the Vaal Classic track he over raced early as the jockey reined him back from a wide draw, but he then settled nicely and stormed through to win going away off a merit rating of 82. It was not the strongest of fields, but he is drawn in pole under Bernard Fayd’Herbe and could build on that performance. He struck a one who would appreciate a strong pace.
Alwahsh is also unbeaten in two starts and won a handicap easing up over 1200m against older horses off a merit rating of 84 in his second start. He is by the four-time Gr 1-winning sprinter Sepoy, but is out of a full sister to an Australian champion filly who won from 1200-2400m, so is interesting over this trip. He also has a wide draw of eleven and has not run for 88 days.
The Robbie Sage-trained Vacquero took three runs to win his maiden, but followed up when deservedly winning on objection over 1800m last time out against the classy Elevated. He is by Silvano so should be improving all the time and his long stride is eye catching. He will relish the long Turffontein straight and has a plum draw of two.
The De Kock-trained Like A Panther won a maiden over 1600m third time out by 6,5 lengths and followed up by comfortably beating older horses in a handicap over 2000m despite running off an 89 merit rating. He is full of class but looks likely to appreciate further than a mile. He will likely be dropped out from a wide draw of 14 and will be running on strongly.
Ideal Secret stayed on well for second in the Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m and being by Ideal World should both be improving and appreciate the step up in trip. He has a good draw of six and is 3,5kg better off with Big Bear for a 3,2 length beating over 1450m.
Seerite ran on in eye-catching style in the Graham Beck and looks likely to relish the step up in trip. However, he has a wide draw to overcome.
Flying Free found no extra from a wide draw over 1400m in the Graham Beck Stakes, so another wide draw over a step up in trip is a concern.
KZN raider Monks Hood stayed on well for third in the Grade 1 Premier’s Champions Stakes over 1600m on Gold Cup day, despite jumping from a wide draw, but the form of that race has not worked out too well. He will need to step up although Delpech aboard helps his cause.
Another KZN raider Roy Had Enough appears to be a sort who needs a fast pace and he will also need some luck from a wide draw.
The De Kock-trained Puget Sound is held on paper by Big Bear.
Silver God, Darkest Hour and Missouri look held by Ideal Secret and Seerite on Graham Beck form.
Loyal Lieutenant’s form does not look strong enough on paper, but he was still very green in his maiden win and looks a nice, long-striding type who has plenty of scope.
Big Bear makes the most appeal but a lot depends on the Tarry yard form this week. Pietro Mascagni is a big runner too and Alwahsh, Alshibaa, Vacquero and Like A Panther should make their presence felt.