SYLVAN ON FIRE
Trainer Candice Dawson’s yard is in exquisite form, and she could make the headlines once more when her classy five-year-old mare Sylvan On Fire competes in the Yellowwood Handicap (Grade 3) over 1800m at Turffontein on Saturday.
She ran her socks off in her latest performance when producing a devastating turn of foot in the dying stages, impressively making up a mammoth 11.80 lengths over the final 350m, beaten by a rapidly diminishing 2.60 lengths by Cascapedia in a Grade 2 race
She was in desperate need of a run on that occasion and can be forgiven for that sixth-place finish considering she was returning from a lengthy seven-month stint off the racetrack. And spread a shoe in running – nothing went her way.
She has a lot in her favour. The only chink in her armour is the shockingly wide No 13 draw she jumps from in this 14-horse field – so it’s a good thing she has in-form former champion jockey Gavin Lerena aboard!
Sylvan On Fire was on a four-run winning streak late last year, so is clearly no slouch. She is no stranger to this trip having competed twice over it for a gutsy triumph and an uninspiring eighth, which is best ignored, because she was reported as being fatigued.
“Sylvan On Fire is doing well at home and I just hope Gavin (Lerena) can get her over from No 13 draw,” said Dawson to Phumelela Publishing. “She should be running at them at the finish. I think both my fillies (Royal Utopia) are well handicapped.”
If brings her “A” game to the racecourse on Saturday afternoon, she will be very hard to outrun. That last performance earned Sylvan On Fire a merit rating of 91 and considering she shoulders a modest 56kg; a massive 4.5kg less than her main danger Fort Ember, a loss becomes highly unlikely.
“Fort Ember is easily my best runner on the card. I really like her in this race,” said trainer Paul Peter. “She is working very well at home and the kid (jockey Carlos Herrera Gomez) knows her very well. I’m expect a good run.”
She is easily the class horse in the field. Unfortunately, Fort Ember shoulders 7kg more than she did in her latest appearance when fending off Takingthepeace by a commanding 0.90 lengths. If she can reproduce a performance similar to that, she will be a massive runner.