Plain sailing in the Seventh

23 November 2015 - 02:09 By Mike Moon

"Keep yourself in the best of company and your horse in the worst," someone once said. In other words, hob-nob with the rich and famous but don't get highfalutin ideas about your old nag - don't pitch him into big races beyond his ability. Rather run him in lesser contests with slowpokes against whom he has more chance of picking up a winner's cheque.Very sensible advice, but no one pays it a blind bit of notice. We delude ourselves that our horses are faster than they are; we have dreams of leading in a Met winner and irrationally conclude that the dopey moke chomping tef in our stable is the one.But, interestingly, the recent proliferation of so-called "sales" races offers a chance of competing in pretty moderate company AND winning huge stakes.There are a lot of ifs and buts, but if you buy a horse on a particular sale, said horse qualifies, a year down the line, for a race that is limited to horses sold at that auction.Of course, only the best-performing of the 100 or so sale graduates make it to the final line-up.But if your baby does make it, the opposition is perforce limited and the massive prize money - made up of nomination fees at the heady time of purchase - is ripe for the plucking.A good example of mixing with the hoi polloi rather than the great and the good presents itself at Kenilworth tomorrow. Connections of Seventh Plain, possibly the best three-year-old of the current crop, have eschewed the Grade 2 Selangor Cup - a plum on the age-group calendar - in favour of the Lanzerac Ready-to-Run Stakes, a race that doesn't carry much weight in the bloodline and breeding books.The reasons aren't hard to find. The Selangor has a purse of R400000 and the stakes race R2.5-million. And the opposition in the latter is considerably weaker.It's only purists who really care about seeing the best take on the best. Most punters couldn't give two hoots about a defection that weakens a posh contest. Indeed, Seventh Plain might provide them with a rather neat banker for the exotic bets.Of course, it wouldn't be racing if the obtuse turf gods hadn't dipped in their fingers and given Seventh Plain the extreme outside draw over the tight 1400m.The Selangor Cup is still very competitive and one would be advised to go wide for the Pick 6.Mike de Kock has brought Muwaary down-country after a precocious Highveld start to his career and the Australian import looks primed to lay down a marker for the coming Cape summer season.But if you're a believer in the second-run-after-a-rest syndrome, you might choose to look beyond this Australian import.All of Eighth Wonder, Illuminator, Victorious Jay, Rodney and Hard Day's Night have claims on our attention...

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