The historic Walmer Handicap reminds PE racegoers of the good old days of now-gone Arlington Racecourse, which was adjacent to the suburb of Walmer.
Nowadays the race for fillies and mares is staged at Fairview and thankfully has been moved back to its traditional turf surface, after an interlude on the Polytrack.
Friday’s 2021 running of the 1800m Walmer Handicap sees a typical head-to-head between the old Eastern Cape training dynasties of Greeff and Smith, who field seven of the 10 protagonists.
Alan Greeff’s consistent filly Colorado Springs tops the card and the early betting and, at first glance, is difficult to oppose.
However, the daughter of Ideal World must bear a burden of 60.5kg thanks to her high merit rating of 100. Another concern is her form line of recent months, which shows her as a beaten favourite on four occasions. Also, her most recent effort, in August’s Jockey Club Stakes, saw her finish out of the placings for the first time in her 13-race career.
Could this be a young horse getting a bit stale and being in need of a break?
Gavin Smith’s charges – Bold Diva and Secret Depths – are newish arrivals at his yard and their local form is still a tad opaque. Bold Diva seems to be the stable elect on riding arrangements and does have a local debut win to her credit. She was sixth in the Jockey Club, just behind Colorado Springs, but, on collateral calculations, should reverse that order.
That same collateral form brings Sharon Kotzen-trained First Street into the picture by also putting her ahead of Colorado Springs.
This filly by Pathfork came to Kotzen from Justin Snaith’s high-flying yard in April and immediately rattled off a hat-trick against some of the best staying females in Eastern Cape. Her subsequent runs were far from bad – a fourth over a distance short of her best and a two-length beating by the mighty Santa Theresa.
With the excellent Luy Mxothwa in the irons and a jump from No 1 stall, First Street might just clinch the Walmer and help Kotzen further secure her place in the story of East Cape racing.
5 Born A Star, 4 Flower’s Ridge, 6 Bold Captain, 9 Soft Spot
2 Delicasea, 1 Joyful Noise, 4 Victoria Tower, 6 Bold Habit
2 Princess Of Winter, 9 Temple Bar, 7 Sugar Snap, 5 Wichita
1 Peace In Our World, 4 Keep It Secret, 2 Norton Sound, 3 Safari Blue
4 Kalahari Ferrari, 6 Razor Red, 2 Joint Effort, 12 Winter Vacation
2 Love Happens, 4 Carioca, 1 Earth Hour, 7 Oscar Wilde
3 First Street, 7 Bold Diva, 1 Colorado Springs, 5 Rattle Mouse
6 Bold Strike, 2 Magnum Fire, 5 Assertive Power, 8 Mighty Smart
1,2,3,5,7,9 x 1,4 x 2,4,6,12 x 2 x 1,3,5,6,7,9 x 2,3,5,6,8 (R1440)
2 x 2,7,9 x 1 x 4 x 2 x 1,3,5 x 2,5,6 (R27)