Variety Club and Gimmethegreenlight fought out the Equus 3yo Male Champion award eleven seasons ago and it is just as an intriguing contest this season. (Picture: avontuurestate.co.za).
A few of the Equus Awards look to be cast in stone, but there is still intrigue surrounding the Champion Three-year-old Male award.
The importance of the three-year-old male award this year is seen in that it will likely decide the outcome of the Equus Horse Of The Year Award (although Princess Calla and Gimme A Prince are still in contention too).
The two protagonists are Charles Dickens, who is currently the favourite to get it, and See It Again.
The latter is is not at all out of it as things stand.
Furthermore, See It Again might well take his place in the Gr 1 weight for age Hong Kong World Pool Champions Cup and if he wins that it might even put him in pole position for the award.
Candice Bass-Robinson confirmed yesterday Charles Dickens would not run again this season.
Michael Roberts admitted See It Again had had “a hard race” in the HWB July. However, he said he had come out of it well and would thus be entered in the Champions Cup and he would “play it by ear” as the race approaches.
Charles Dickens is regarded by one of the top yards in the country as the best horse they have ever trained in fifty years of glittering success.
Therefore, that the award is not already cast in stone is a huge accolade in itself to See It Again.
In fact, the respected racing analyst Karel Miedema has given his highest AR (Ability Rating) of the season, i.e 120, to See It Again’s second place finish in the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Durban July.
No three-year-old had carried more than 56kg to victory (Legislate 2014) in the July and See It Again went within a quarter of a length of doing so carrying 56.5kg.
Charles Dickens’ feature race successes this season are the Gr 3 Cape Classic by three lengths, the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Cape Guineas by 4,25 lengths, the Gr 2 WSB Guineas by two lengths and the Gr 1 weight for age Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge by 1,40 lengths.
He also finished a neck behind Al Muthana in the most prestigious Gr 1 weight for age mile in the country, the L’Ormarins King’s Plate, and he finished a 1,25 length second to See It Again in the Gr 1 Splashout Cape Derby over 2000m.
The points that favour Charles Dickens over See It Again is that he has won a Gr 1 in open company and it was at weight for age level too i.e. the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge, while See It Again’s two Gr 1s victories in the Cape Derby and Daily News 2000 were both against three-year-old opposition.
Charles Dickens has only tasted defeat once over his best trip of a mile, a neck defeat to Al Muthana in the prestigious L’Ormarins King’s Plate, and he exacted revenge on the latter in the Gold Challenge.
Charles Dickens was also a highly impressive winner of probably the most prestigious three-year-old Gr 1 event in the country, the sire-producing Cape Guineas, where he annihilated a classy field that included previous Gr 1 winner Cousin Casey by 4,25 lengths easing up after showing an exhilarating turn of foot from off the pace.
Furthermore, in their two clashes, Charles Dickens emerges slightly ahead of See It Again mathematically.
He beat See It Again by two lengths in the WSB Guineas over his best trip, whereas he lost by only 1,25 lengths to See It Again over the latter’s best trip in the Gr 1 Splashout Cape Derby.
Furthermore, Charles Dickens supporters can add a Gr 3 and a Gr 2 to his two Gr 1 wins, while See It Again’s supporters can only add a Listed win to his two Gr 1s.
Lastly, Charles Dickens was a comfortable 24 points clear of See It Again in the Equus Three-year-old award points table even before he won the Gold Challenge.
He would have gained 48 points for that win as it is regarded as a “super Grade 1”, whereas See It Again would have gained just 20 points for his July second place finish, which puts Charles Dickens an unassailable 52 points clear of Charles Dickens.
However, See It Again can close the gap to just four points if he takes his place in the Champions Cup and wins it.
The awards are decided by three entities, a straight points table, the expert panel opinion and a public vote and last year they each had equal weight.
In See It Again’s favour is his defeat of Charles Dickens occurred at Gr 1 level and his loss to him was in a Gr 2.
Furthermore, he might not have won an open event at Gr 1 level, but he was comfortably the best performing horse at the weights in the Hollywoodbets Durban July. That race is not weight for age, but it is nevertheless the country’s premier horse race and he was worse off than weight for age with every horse except Trip Of Fortune. He was only 1,5kg worse off than weight for age with the latter and beat him by 5,65 lengths.
A win in the Gr 1 Champions Cup will see See It Again equaling Charles Dickens as the winner of an open Gr 1 at wfa level and will see him going 3-2 ahead in the Gr 1 victories tally.
So as things stand Charles Dickens is the favourite to take the three-year-old award and with it the Equus Horse Of The Year award.
But there is still the Champions Cup to come.
Whatever happens the Equus Champion Three-year-old Male award is full of importance and intrigue this year and there will be some intense moments of anticipation on Equus Awards night in August.