National Key still going strong for Greyville on Sunday 05 MAR 2017
There is little doubt that National Key is a tough customer. Five seasons and 59 races under his girth, Brian Wiid’s runner is still going strong and can put a seventh victory behind his name when he lines up in the Kas Govender Memorial Handicap (1200m) that headlines the eight programme Greyville-All Weather meeting on Sunday
The seven-year-old is no stranger to either Greyville or the surface, having already raced on it six times for a win and a string of places, and it is also a surface that appears to bring out the best in older horses with mileage on the clock. National Key fits nicely into that category.
The gelding has been up against some strong company in his Highveld home and comes into the race off a warm-up and should strip close to his peak. Muzi Yeni, who has relocated to Jo’Burg, rode him in that race and will be back aboard today.
But although National Key ticks most of the boxes he does face some smart younger opposition, mostly in the form of Alistair Gordon’s pair of My Pal Al and Marshall That, both likely candidates for the big three-year-old features during Champions Season.
My Pal Al is definitely on the way up and will be a threat to the top weight. He was deemed good enough to take his chances in Grade 2 The Dingaans at Turffontein but ran way below form in the soft ground.
That may not have been his only problem as Gordon declared him in blinkers for his next start and the results were immediate as he barrelled home five lengths clear of the opposition. Anton Marcus has stayed with the ride, but the only concern is that the 1200m trip may be on the sharp side which could give National Key the edge.
Marshall That gave notice of his ability with a runaway maiden win with apprentice Eric Ngwane admitting that he had been a mere passenger. The gelding is obviously not an easy ride so his recent showing when a beaten favourite is probably best ignored. Sean Veale is one of the strongest riders around so Marshall That is not likely to get away with much today.
Of the balance, Wynkelder was strongly fancied to back up on his maiden win but soft ground and the seven furlongs may have been his undoing. Given his pedigree his poly debut should not be a problem and a win here will see him rocket up the handicap.
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Lily Theresa is a big price at 5-1 for the opening R80,000, Maiden Juvenile Fillies (1000m) at Kenilworth on Wednesday considering the way Joey Ramsden has been dominating the Cape Town two-year-old races.