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Picture : Narina Trogon has been selected by Graeme Hawkins to win the 7th at Hollywoodbets Durbanville tomorrow (Saturday).    

Graeme Hawkins (Gold Circle)

Cape Racing stages an 8-race programme at Hollywoodbets Durbanville tomorrow, six of which are Maiden Plates. The main event is the R125 000 Cape B Stakes over 1400m  and the race has attracted a highly competitive field of 15 runners.

Candice Bass-Robinson holds a pretty strong hand with three lively candidates, best of which could be the well-drawn Narina Trogon, mount of stable jockey Aldo Domeyer. There is no doubt that Narina Trogon has thus far failed to meet the expectations of his blue-blooded pedigree but in this class of company, he has to be one for the short-list. The going at the Country Course earlier in the week was super-fast and that could be Narina Trogon’s undoing, but if Domeyer can keep the son of Silvano in reasonable touch with the leaders, he might well make his presence felt.

Stable companions Charlie Croker and Michael Faraday both have the form to be competitive but are faced with awkward draws. Charlie Croker is probably one of the most consistent horses around and has only twice failed to make the frame in his sixteen starts to date. In addition his form over 1400m reads six starts for two wins and four seconds and with a bit of luck in running he could build on that fine record tomorrow. Michael Faraday’s form is not as compelling as Charlie Croker, but the 4yo son of Vercingetorix has shown good improvement in his last two starts and he could have a say in the outcome.

The main threat to the Bass-Robinson runners could come from the Eric Sands-trained Carriacou who back in March finished under a length behind Charlie Croker and is now 2kgs better off. In addition, Carriacou now has the benefit of pole position and he should be cherry-ripe to deliver a strong performance.

The only other non-Maiden race is the final event on the card, the R100 000 Cape C Stakes over 1400m and here recent maiden winner Questioning can record back-to-back victories. On debut Questioning was beaten by Café Culture, who franked the form by winning again at Hollywoodbets Durbanville last weekend. Then Questioning came out a couple of months later and starting a red-hot favourite at 4/10, the well-bred son of Querari scored comfortably in very heavy going. On that occasion he beat Greeting My Master who lines up in the third race tomorrow, a Maiden Plate over 1250m, and with Richard Fourie in the irons, Greeting My Master is expected to frank Questioning’s form.

Questioning has drawn the plum gate and with Bernard Fayd’herbe in the saddle, the Vaughan Marshall-trained gelding shapes up as a potential Pick 6 banker. Those wishing to hedge their bets may want to consider Masked Vigilante, Sylvan Theatre and Kimball O’Hara but I am expecting Questioning to prove a tough nut to crack.

Earlier in the day Marshall sends out Coastal Commander in the second race, a Maiden Plate over 1250m. The son of Champion Freshman sire Lancaster Bomber has finished runner-up in all three starts to date and will be a popular Bipot and Place Accumulator banker. But keep an eye on the betting, as Candice Bass-Robinson will saddle the newcomer Foudre, half-brother to Rainbow Bridge, Hawwaam and Golden Ducat, for owner Lady Laidlaw and any market support will have to be taken seriously. In her pre-race comments, Bass-Robinson suggests that Foudre “is a nice colt, but will need the experience.”

Race 4 on the programme looks a three-cornered contest between Red Moon Rising, Strata and Fatal Gem, all of which have the form to win a race of this nature. Despite being drawn widest of this trio, Fatal Gem could prove too strong for Strata and Red Moon Rising and keep an eye out for the well-bred debutante, Ice Rain, who is expected by trainer Andre Nel to make a pleasing impression first time out. At a nice price Tres Chic is one to consider for Trifectas and Quartets.

Brett Crawford will fancy taking out the fifth race with Luce Verde who caught the eye with a sparkling second on debut last month. The son of Gimmethegreenlight ran on very strongly over 1200m on a heavy track when runner-up behind Le Legionnaire and Crawford has immediately stepped him up to 1600m tomorrow. Marshall Field is probably his biggest danger from the best of the draw while Greenland has plenty of scope for improvement but races from the worst of the draw.

Of the many Maiden Plates on the day, the 1st and the 6th races look the most open. Warm Winter Night has the best form in the opener over 1000m but there are a number of very well-bred newcomers, best of which could be Connery for Glen Kotzen and Unicorn Alert of Justin Snaith. The market will probably be the best guide to this, the first leg of the Bipot.

Race 6, a Maiden Plate (F&M) over 1600m, has attracted a field of ten runners, most of which have claims to the winner’s cheque. The top three in no particular order could be Two A Penny, Passchendaele and Montreal but Pick 6 and Jackpot punters are advised to cast their net a little wider in this tricky contest.