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Sponsors Drakenstein Stud won the L’Ormarins King’s Plate as owners for the first time with their homebred superstar, the Candice Bass-Robinson-trained Trippi colt Charles Dickens. He was the second individual LKP winner they had bred, the first being the twice winner of the race, the Trippi colt Jet Dark (Candiese Lenferna Photography)

– Written by Mark van Deventer (Cape Racing)

CHARLES DICKENS won the L’Ormarins Kings Plate (WFA) Grade 1 over 1600m to provide owner/breeder Gaynor Rupert’s Drakenstein Stud with “a top experience, and the greatest day of my racing life.”

The sensational TRIPPI chestnut was held up midfield as SPEED MACHINE set a strong pace before Aldo Domeyer launched a spectacular surge in the centre of the Hollywoodbets Kenilworth course. This dramatic move propelled CHARLES DICKENS to a convincing 2.75 length victory over his main foe, SEE IT AGAIN, with ROYAL AUSSIE and AL MUTHANA rounding out the placings.

Candice Bass-Robinson said beforehand in an ominous warning to rivals that “we have him in a terrific space going into the race, and this is the fittest he has been.” The four-year-old duly delivered a career best for a tenth victory from 13 starts, and confirming his elite status as one of the best milers in recent memory in SA.

Joint 14/10 favourite, SEE IT AGAIN ran stoutly down the inside, but could not match the victor’s turn of foot on a fast-running track. He remains set for the World Sports Betting Cape Town MET over a more suitable 2000m.

Poorly drawn ROYAL AUSSIE dropped anchor at the back, before outrunning odds of 50/1 to sneak third ahead of last year’s King’s Plate winner, AL MUTHANA. They ended up four lengths adrift of the brilliant CHARLES DICKENS, who this time ran straight and true and gave the opposition no chance.

The same connections – Drakenstein Stud and Candice Bass-Robinson – took the Cartier Paddock Stakes (WFA) Gr1 over 1800m with BEACH BOMB. She is a three-year-old daughter of LANCASTER BOMBER out of tremendous race mare, BEACH BEAUTY.

In a tactical affair where ROYALS set a sedate tempo with RED PALACE a fighter in second, jockey JP van der Merwe settled the recent World Sports Betting Cape Fillies Guineas winner at the back of the short field before powering home up the centre to nab even money fave, PRINCESS CALLA, who’d made an early bid in mid-stretch. HAPPY CHANCE launched a spirited rails move to be a half-length back in third.

BEACH BOMB’s superior turn of foot again proved key to her second Gr1 score within a month. Said Van Der Merwe, “She dropped the bit and was travelling well. I never panicked and she was gutsy right to the line.” She received heavy wagering support starting at 5/2, having been offered at double those odds in early trade.

Bass-Robinson enjoyed a fabulous day, also taking the Cartier Sceptre Stakes (Gr2) over 1200m with 7/1 chance, OCTOBER MORN. The filly has been an unlucky loser of her last two starts when experiencing traffic jams. This time however, Ray Danielson found clear sailing and she blasted clear, though 33/1 longshot, ASIYE PHAMBILI did cut her margin of victory down to a neck with a belated rally. KWINTA’S LIGHT and SHANTASTIC completed the order of finish.

Said an impressed Danielson about OCTOBER MORN, “As soon as you give her a gap, she takes off. I think she is good enough to win a Gr1.” OCTOBER MORN was bred by Avontuur Thoroughbred Farm and is yet another high quality TRIPPI, out of the speedball, MISS OCTOBER.

The Anthonij Rupert Wine Premier Trophy (G2) over 1800m was a close-run race with four horses spread across the track at the wire. The clustered finish can be attributed to the less than energetic early tempo, which lead to a sprint to the line. Fast-progressive, TWICE OVER gelding, MUCHO DINERO darted through along the inside rail to edge out AT MY COMMAND, with PACAYA in between horses and handily positioned SUGAR MOUNTAIN keeping on for a close-up, game fourth.

MUCHO DINERO has now reeled off four wins on the bounce and seems unlikely to stop here. Grant van Niekerk rode the Justin Snaith trained bay with aplomb – the starting price was 10/1.

Snaith completed a four-timer on the day when lightweight, FUTURE SWING rushed past rivals in the Glorious Goodwood Chairman’s Cup (G3) over 2500m. Snaith also saddled second-placed finisher, TRIPLE TIME.

The winner is by FUTURA, and the four-year-old has gotten better with each start since being gelded. A test of stamina is his game, something the betting market anticipated as his price was slashed from 8’s right down to 18/10.