JACK MILNER: IT is not often jockey Anton Marcus makes the trip to Turffontein for a Sunday meeting, especially following a major feature-race event at another centre on the previous Saturday.
He has a quality book of rides at Turffontein where racing takes place on the inside track and Marcus could come away with some winners. The card does not look easy but one could take a chance and banker the Marcus and Geoff Woodruff combination in both Legs 1 and 3 of the Pick 6.
In Race 4, the opening leg, Woodruff sends out Ilha Da Rock who still has some punters smarting following her latest defeat over 1450m at this course where she was sent out 1-5 favourite. Marcus rode her on that occasion and took the Australian-bred daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar to the front from the jump. She was caught a few strides from the post and finished a neck second to Eagle High in a Maiden Juvenile Plate.
This time she races in open company, but over 1200m and she gets 3kg from the older fillies. She jumps from barrier No 7, which is likely to come in one spot when second reserve runner Summer Strike comes out.
In her penultimate start, Ilha Da Rock finished a 3.05-length fourth behind King’s Temptress in the Grade 2 Fillies Nursery over 1160m so should be good enough to beat this field.
Her main threat could come from Craig Mayhew’s runner Imperial Empress, also a two-year-old. She will be having her third start and comes off a 2.25-length second behind Joanie Gee over 1200m at the Vaal last time out.
Marcus and Woodruff also team up with Acrisius in Race 6, a MR 76 Handicap over 1450m. This five-year-old gelding has been expensive to follow after a promising three-year-old career. He has been a consistent place-getter of late although his last run, when unplaced behind Aerofoil, was disappointing. He was balked 200m out, so there was an excuse.
However, it is Woodruff who so often points out that while horses may lose their form they do not lose their ability and a return to anywhere close to his earlier ability will make Acrisius tough to beat in this company.
What is especially relevant is that his merit rating has been coming down consistently. In November last year Acrisius raced off an 88 rating but will come into Sunday’s race rated 76. In essence, that means a drop of 6kg and should make him far more competitive. It also gives him the opportunity to race against weaker company, which looks the case in this race.
He has raced three times over the course and distance for two places and from No 4 draw Marcus should be able to place him perfectly.