Charles Dickens winning the WSB Guineas over the Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge course and distance (Candiese Lenferna Photography).
Stablemates Trip Of Fortune and Charles Dickens — trained by Candice Bass-Robinson — are set to clash in Saturday’s Gold Challenge
David Mollett (Business Day)
Priced up at 9-20 for next Saturday’s Gold Challenge at Hollywoodbets Greyvillle, a win by Charles Dickens will strengthen his chance of winning two Equus awards in August.
The most prestigious award is “horse-of-the-year” and — in the points table released by the Racehorse Owners Association at the end of May — it is his stablemate, Trip Of Fortune, who heads the table with 111 points. Second in the log is Puerto Manzano with 98 points followed by Charles Dickens with a total of 96.
The intriguing situation is that stablemates Trip Of Fortune and Charles Dickens — both trained by Candice Bass-Robinson — are set to clash in Saturday’s Gold Challenge. The early betting has Trip Of Fortune on offer at 8-1 suggesting bookmakers feel he will play second fiddle to his stable companion.
Al Muthana is quoted at 9-1 and — with a view to his Durban July prospects — the performance of Rascallion will be closely monitored.
In the “champion three-year-old” category, Charles Dickens holds a clear lead (96 points) over July favourite See It Again (72 points).
In the “champion sprinter” category we have — at present — a two-horse affair between Gimme A Prince (66 points) and Princess Calla (62 points), but both horses registered grade 1 victories at Scottsville last Saturday.
After Saturday’s SA Fillies Sprint, Sean Tarry said Princess Calla might take her chance in the Ridgemont Garden Province Stakes at Greyville on July day.
The Vaal hosts an eight-race programme on Tuesday and the most interesting contest is the clash between Tarry’s filly, Rock The Fox, and Roy Magner’s recent Turffontein winner, Thunderstone, in the sixth race.
In early betting, Thunderstone is the 12-10 favourite and — despite the fact Rock The Fox has been competing in feature races — this looks a correct call as Muzi Yeni’s mount will be at his peak in his third outing after a break.
Despite being not well weighted against his elders, the Tarry inmate, And Action, has a bright chance of opening his account when he takes on 10 rivals in the first leg of the jackpot.
A son of Fire Away, who has made an outstanding start to his stud career, And Action, who cost R470,000 as a yearling, looks set to go close in the hands of Gavin Lerena.
The market will need a check regarding Brett Crawford’s runner, Raven Black, who hasn’t raced since last October. He is a year older than And Action so will be a tough rival if fully tuned on his return.
Another juvenile, Scampton, comes into the picture as Ashley Fortune, who is holding a dispersal sale at the Vaal on Wednesday, will be pleased with the debut effort by the son of Lancaster Bomber.
Calvin Habib, who has recently returned from Singapore, has five booked rides at the meeting and the pick of his quintet may be No Filter in the second race. The daughter of Canford Cliffs ran second on her third start and has a favourable draw.
While Drakenstein Stud had a rare winnerless day at Scottsville, the stud has a fancied runner in the opening event in French Duchess. The daughter of Trippi came under the hammer at the 2022 Yearling Sales with the stud as agent, but was led out unsold at R450,000.
In the care of Tarry, the filly made a pleasing debut when fifth at Turffontein and should go close with S’manga Khumalo in the saddle.
1st Race: (11) French Duchess (10) Vivacious Vicky (12) Stormy Choice (6) Just Nuisance
2nd Race: (7) No Filter (13) Waitforgreenlight (2) Contra Fiscum (3) Duellona
3rd Race: (1) Law Of Success (10) Great Barrier (8) Duenna (2) Wilkies
4th Race: (5) And Action (4) Raven Black (11) Scampton (8) Klitsgras
5th Race: (10) Ramchandani Road (8) Samoa (3) Silent War (4) Blue Waters
6th Race: (1) Thunderstone (7) Rock The Fox (3) Pewter Sky (4) Arividicio
7th Race: (2) Trompie (1) Flowerbomb (8) Smith And Wesson (7) Big Eyes Girl
8th Race: (9) The Chosen One (4) Total Surrender (2) Silvano’s Song (1) Knights Table