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Gimmeanotherchance represents the Mike de Kock yard, who are in flying form (Candiese Lenferna Photography)

At this time last year the strength of the three-year-old male crop lay in Cape Town, as has been the norm in recent times, but that is not the case this season.

And that is the reason why Saturday’s Gr 3 Betway Graham Beck Stakes over 1400m at Turffontein Standside has one of its most exciting ever renewals.

The race inludes Sandringham Summit, Main Defender, Sovereign State and Gimmeanotherchance, meaning the only touted male sophomores around the country who are missing are the sidelined Lucky Lad and his stablemate Tail Of The Comet, who is campaigning in the Cape, and possibly Sovereign State’s unbeaten Frank Robinson-trained stable companion Mexican Pete and maybe also the Mike de Kock-trained Beamonesque.

Of course the like of My Golly Molly, Questioning, Tenango, Green With Envy, Zil Moris and others can still step up to the plate on Sunday in the Gr 3 Cape Classic. After all the Western Cape’s winter was blighted by record rainfalls and it might have hampered the preparation of some of their best three-year-old males, who also include Hluhluwe, who is not running this weekend.

The only raider in the Graham Beck is the Frank Robinson-trained Visionaire gelding Sovereign State, who is merit rated 106 after winning three races from 1000m to 1600m, two of them on the Hollywoodbets Greyville poly.
He has a tricky draw of nine out of eleven in the 1400m conditions event, but he does seem to have a good relaxed temperament and a superb turn of foot, so can possibly overcome the draw with a good race plan from Muzi Yeni.
One of the exciting points about this gelding is that he clearly stays a mile and yet put up a quite astonishingly fast 400m to finish time on debut over 1000m after being slowly away … and he did it with ears pricked.
The form has been franked since then by the like of Beamonseque, who won his next start by seven lengths, and by the exciting prospect King Of The Gauls, who reportedly needs gelding after his disappointing last start.
The two highest rated three-year-olds in the country, Sandringham Summit and Main Defender, are dominating the betting for the Graham Beck and not far behind them is  Gimmeanotherchance.
The Tony Peter-trained Pathfork gelding Main Defender was raised to 121 after sauntering to a 6,50 length victory in the Gr 2 Betway Jo’Burg Spring Challenge over 1450m.
As he is getting 1kg from the 117-rated Sandringham Summit, it means he is officially the comfortably best weighted horse in the race.
However, the David Nieuwenhuizen-trained Sandringham Summit beat Main Defender easily, by 2,40 lengths, when they clashed for the first time in the Gr 1 World Pool Moment Of The Day Champion Stakes over 1600m at Hollywoodbets Greyville, and that was despite jumping from a wide draw.
Sandringham Summit is thus the favourite with the bookmakers, although only marginally.
Sandringham Summit, who is by Gimmethegreenlight, is drawn quite well in four and regular pilot Calvin Habib is aboard.
He has an exhilarating turn of foot coupled with a sustained finish in which he uses his huge stride to telling affect. He came from last when winning the Gr 2 Durban Golden Horseshoe over 1400m at Hollywoodbets Greyville. In the Champion Stakes Main Defender got first run on him after jumping from a fair draw, but Sandringham Summit, coming from midfield, was still able to mow him down and win easing up. However, this is his reappearance, whereas Main Defender has a run under the belt.
Main Defender is by Pathfork out of a Judpot mare and might well have improved since the Champion Stakes, judging by the way he quickened and drew away from them in the Spring Challenge. His time was 1.1 seconds quicker than Feather Boa’s Time in the fillies equivalent race. He was only carrying 50,5kg compared to Feather Boa’s 58,5kg, but he is a year younger and 1,1 seconds is the equivalent of about 6,50 to seven lengths. He was drawn five in the Spring Challenge and has landed another good draw of three in this race. Kabelo Matsunyane was aboard in the Spring Challenge and retains the ride.
Sandringham Summit carries 60kg and Main Defender 59kg, whilst both Sovereign State and GimmeAnotherChance carry only 57kg, which brings them right into it.
GimmeAnotherChance impressed when winning the Listed Gatecrasher Stakes over 1400m at Holywoodbets Greyville by a comfortable 3,20 lengths. He was then beaten just 0,40 lengths by Sandringham Summit in the Golden Horseshoe when having to overcome draw 12 of 13. In his reappearance he was keen early and was beaten two lengths by Purple Pitcher in the BSA Sales Cup over 1400m. However, he beat stablemate Zinovi by a length in that race and the latter came out on Saturday and won by 4,75 lengths in a Progress Plate. The Mike de Kock yard are in fine form and GimmeAnotherChance likely needed that first run, so considering he gets 3kg from Sandringham Summit he must be a big runner. However, he does have a tough draw of ten to overcome.
The Heather Adamson-trained Pomodoro gelding Biofarmer has comparable form to Zinovi, so is the dark horse from a fair draw under S’Manga Khumalo.
The Sean Tarry-trained What A Winter gelding The Africa House is a big horse who has not had a lot of luck in his career to date. He has plenty of scope and is better than his form suggests, but Richard Fourie has a wide draw to negotiate.
The Paul Matchett-trained Pomodoro colt Mount Pilatus could improve over this step up in trip having not been disgraced over 1200m last time against decent speedsters.
The Kobus Roux-trained Fire Away gelding Fire ‘N Flames was beaten just 1,90 lengths in the Golden Horseshoe, but needs to step up on his two runs this term.
The Fanie Bronkhorst-trained William Longsword gelding Richard The First has useful sprint form and on pedigree should relish the step up in trip.
The Billy Ruiters-trained pair, New Predator gelding Halbadier and Coup De Grace colt Prince Of Kildare, will have to show considerable improvement.
Sandringham Summit looks special and could beat home Main Defender, Sovereign State, GimmeAnotherChance and Biofarmer in what is going to be a humdinger of a race on Saturday at the Big T.