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Racing Express, Tuesday, March 8, 2022: JP makes his comeback in PE



After a stint in Singapore, talented jockey JP van der Merwe has returned to South Africa and will be riding in Fairview on Tuesday, when they race at the Polytrack.

He was handed a one-year suspension in Singapore, reduced to six months on appeal, and will no doubt want to return to the winners as soon as possible.


The full edition of Tuesday’s Racing Express, as found in The Vanir-exodus, is available here


Gavin Smith has given him a few rides, and some of the bones Smith has thrown at him really have some meat on them, so let’s run through his four carded rides.

In Race 1, he will ride the four-year-old filly Pianta, who will make her local debut and will taste the Polytrack for the first time. Her last two starts have yielded some poor results, but it’s worth noting that the blinkers she wore for both runs have been thrown off and this daughter of Pomodoro was not beaten far in her four previous starts. She is definitely someone to include in Trifectas and Quartets.

Psycho King in Race 3 is his next ride. The Potala Palace gelding was beaten not far in his local 1200m debut. It was clear that the trip was on the sharp side, so the step to 1600m should fit and with a good draw he does have a chance of winning in a tough race, where there are many form runners.

Another JP ride to be included in big exotics. His best ride of the day is probably in Race 5 with Senescence. This mare has been very consistent since joining Smith’s stable and although it has become difficult for her to overcome her recent penalties, she should still be at the finish line.

A broad draw won’t make it easy, but she doesn’t seem like a difficult horse to place either. Blinkers can sometimes make for a good improvement in horses and his ride sister Freda seems to suggest this was the case and is another reason to consider when she runs in Race 7. Again, a broad draw can be challenging.

The best bet on a competitive card seems to be Wildest Dreams in Race 2, a Maiden Plate for fillies and mares over 1600 yards. Previously trained in Cape Town by Justin Snaith, she lost to a favorite when she was taken to Fairview last month where she raced over 1,900 meters on the grass.

She stayed in the Eastern Cape and is now being trained by Alan Greeff. This will be her first start on the Polytrack but the tongue tie is on and with Greg Cheyne up she looks hard to beat.

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