NOW the new racing season starts!

September 10, 2021

Spring has (nearly) sprung and for punters around the country there is a huge sigh of relief, writes Gary Lemke for

South Africa’s racing season is from the beginning of August to the end of July. And August is one of those months where the serious punter is inclined to take a breather. Finding winners is hard around the country and everyone, trainers and owners included, tend to wait for September before they consider the season to have “started”.

Look at the GGGaming-sponsored Bass Racing stable, for instance. Head trainer Candice Bass-Robinson sent out a record 104 winners last season, an average of over eight winners a month. But, this August she saddled two winners. The output was affected by the Cape rains, with two meetings abandoned, and sodden training tracks at Milnerton which meant she couldn’t gallop her horses properly.

In KZN, with their season over, the “out of towners” left, which meant that the racing was largely contested by local horses and those considered the second and third stringers in every training yard. Also, the polytrack, as opposed to turf, isn’t a great betting proposition.

In Gauteng, the grass is still a lifeless brown at Turffontein and the Vaal in August, and trainers keep their better horses hidden until the grass starts to turn green.

So, around the country, trainers and owners wait for September’s signs that spring has sprung, the grass changes colour in gauteng, the tracks start to dry up in the Cape after the winter rains and in KZN form starts to settle given the visiting trainers have left with their horses.

It’s still early days in September, but you can see some of the trainers starting to take the warmers off some of their better horses, much like a Formula One garage where you see the tyre blankets come off as the mechanics await a driver to come in for a pit stop.

This is where we are at when it comes to Cape racing.

Last week’s Sophomore Sprint at Kenilworth had a few nice three-year-olds flexing their muscles and I thought the win by the well-backed Zapatillas was full of merit and an early sign that trainer Brett Crawford might be in for a strong season. Going forward, I’d suggest that when it comes to the three-year-old features in particular that you don’t leave this trainer out of any of your bets.

Saturday’s meeting at Durbanville eases a few more nice types into the new season. One needs to take into consideration that it is Durbanville though, where every race is around the turn and while the draw is not as important as it used to be, given the revamping of the track, some horses simply prefer sprinting down the straight at Kenilworth.

But, there are some nice races on display and some nice types. Sugar Mountain, the Bass Racing-trained colt, is by Silvano and will want a lot further than Saturday’s 1400m, but the race looks a match between him and Full House. Take the exacta with confidence.

The sixth race is really competitive with four of the eght three-year-old fillies being trained by champion Justin Snaith, with High Hosanna making her debut among winners and then going into contest two features. She obviously has ability. I think that Bass-Robinson might have a lurker here though with Dancetildaylight. She has opened at 8-1 in the betting but can win this. She has shown talent and improvement in her two starts and comes in with 54.5kg, receiving 5.5kg from High Hosanna.

There’s another meeting at Durbanville next Tuesday, and while the betting hasn’t opened, a double of Rhythm Of The Rain (race 1) and Senso Unico (race 5) could pay dividends.

Suggested R32 PA for Durbanville

2,3 x 1 x 6,7 x 1,2 x 7 x 3,7 x 1,7

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