They can now ignore the aspirational four-year-old’s recent diverting bravura in the Queen’s Plate and conclude that highly rated Pearl Of Asia is the likely winner of the 1200m dash up the Pietermaritzburg hill.
Pearl Of Asia’s claim to fame was his 40-1 shock victory in the Mercury Sprint in late July last year. That performance in a powerful line-up demonstrated the class of trainer Robbie Hill’s gelding, who had long been hanging about in top company without grabbing the limelight.
He is weighted to win the Marula easily and has the recent form to suggest he will do just that. It’s his peak run and he has a good record on the Marmite Scottsville track.
Another horse in good nick and carrying a Scottsville merit badge is Duncan Howells’s Spydas Corner, while Shane Humby’s Socrates is well overdue his next win and should be in all Trifectas.
1: 3 Only Hearts, 1 Woodland Retreat, 4 Aditi, 10 Spring Fever
2: 11 Superior Force, 9 Silver Ducat, 12 Colour Of Money, 3 Gladatorian
3: 12 Noble Storm, 16 Lady Macbeth, 7 Run Again, 13 Winter Journey
4: 12 Winter Air, 5 Preemptive Strike, 4 Radames, 3 Pashtunwali
5: 4 Spring High, 8 Via Salaria, 1 Go Man Go, 2 Antigonus
6: 8 Ancient Epic, 5 Flying The Stars, 11 Luna Eclipse, 4 Her Royal Majesty
7: 14 Pearl Of Asia, 11 Spydas Corner, 7 Socreates, 4 Mount Pleasant
8: 13 Cyber Time, 11 Napoleon, 10 Ntanazondi, 5 Liketheclappers
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