Pearl Of Bahrain looks a topical tip as Mike de Kock’s desert team start warming up in the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
This three-year-old Western Winter filly runs in Race 3 at the Vaal Classic meeting tomorrow, a Maiden Plate over 1500m.
She is the only runner in the field who finished closer than five lengths to the winner last time out and with such a lack of depth in the field, must rate hard to beat stepping up to a distance she should enjoy.
With only one run to her credit, a fast-finishing 2.20-length third behind Carmalita over 1000m at Turffontein this month, she has loads of scope for improvement and her connections will be disappointed if she can’t win a race of this nature.
Bookmakers are unlikely to be generous with punters and it might pay to play same-race exotics with her bankered to win.
Gavin van Zyl-trained African Dynasty has been beaten a combined 31 lengths in her last two starts with a slipped saddle ruining her chances over 1600m in the first and the probability that she did not stay 2000m in the other. Her third-last start was most promising, yielding a close third behind Salmon Run over 1600m at Turffontein. She looks a clear second best.
De Kock could also win Race 5, a Novice Handicap over 1200m, with Well Connected. This Silvano gelding returned from a rest and just needed the run when beaten 0.60 lengths by Premier Show over 1160m at Turffontein last month. Zerodarkthirty was two lengths back in third and should not turn the tables.
He faces tougher opposition than his stablemate two races earlier with Penny Royal and State Trooper looking his biggest dangers.
Penny Royal, from the Johan Janse van Vuuren stable, followed a winning debut with a good second to Burundi Bush over 1200m. She is looking promising but takes on males for the first time.
The form of State Trooper’s two runs to date is good, so box the three in all exotics and, perhaps, add in Zerodarkthirty and Private Ruler.
Bull Valley and Green Pepper are the joint best-weighted runners in Race 6, a Pinnacle Stakes over 1000m, but Green Pepper is returning from a 262-day rest and Bull Valley could get back on the winning trail.
Winner of two Grade 1 races last season, the Tsogo Sun Sprint and the Mercury Sprint he did not shape in yielding going in a sprint feature, but trainer Sean Tarry has said he is not an individual who takes a lot of racing and should be too good for this field.