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The Brett Crawford-trained Fatal Gem can remain unbeaten over 1600m in today’s 8th race at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth (Picture Wayne Marks) 

Graeme Hawkins (Gold Circle)

Cape Racing stages a low-key nine-race programme at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth this afternoon, with the ever-challenging Pick 6 comprising three Open Maidens and three low-grade Handicaps. The highest rated race on the card is the eighth race, a Class 4 Handicap (F&M) over 1600m, and the progressive hattrick-seeking Fatal Gem will be looking to maintain her unbeaten record over the distance.

Last time out the Brett Crawford-trained daughter of Master Of My Fate dead-heated with Princess Izzy at Durbanville and as they meet on the same terms logic dictates that this should be a close call again. Interestingly Princess Izzy has joined the Crawford stable from Justin Snaith since that run and the Philippi-based trainer thus holds a very strong hand in this competitive affair.

However, while the formbook suggests they can’t be split, I fancy that Fatal Gem will prefer the more testing Kenilworth racetrack and gain the upper hand over Princess Izzy this time around. Callmegetrix finished close on three lengths behind the pair in that same race but is now 3kgs better off and the daughter of Vercingetorix could prove a real threat. She won her maiden over 1400m at this course and the form of that race has been solidly franked.

Rainbow Lorikeet also comes out of the same formline and was only a shorthead behind stable companion Callmegetrix. At the weights there is nothing to choose between the pair which brings Rainbow Lorikeet into the race with a chance despite being drawn on the extreme outside.

Cloud Chaser is knocking very loudly at the door having finished runner-up in her last two outings and is ideally course and distance suited. Unlike the aforementioned three-year-old fillies, Cloud Chaser, the 4yo daughter of Silvano, is very well exposed with limited scope for improvement but she could have a say in the outcome here. The same comment applies to Miss New York who was nearly two lengths behind Cloud Chaser three weeks ago. Cattaleya split Cloud Chaser and Miss New York behind surprise winner Philanthropist and, although none too consistent, she could upset her more fancied rivals here.

Being a Class 4 Handicap, this is no cut and dried affair, but Fatal Gem may have slightly more in the locker and is taken to win three on the bounce.

Race 7 is a Class 5 Handicap over 1600m and the Vaughan Marshall-trained Slurricane could make a winning return to action following a lengthy spell on the sidelines. The lightly raced Slurricane has won both his starts in the Western Cape and given the continuous interruptions to his racing career, the 5yo son of Vercingetorix clearly has issues. But Marshall reports that Slurricane is “showing good work at home and will run well” and on the strength of those comments I am happy to side with him. Marshall also sends out Incredibill, a consistent threat in this Class, while the Justin Snaith-trained Liketheclappers is holding form well and should make a bold bid for top honours.

No Apologies is worth a second look but I am going with Slurricane to beat Liketheclappers and Incredibill.

The ninth race is a Class 5 Handicap over 1200m, and Mighty Mac may prove good value at decent odds. Ignore his last run over 1400m from the worst of the draw and rather judge the son of Pathfork on his good record over track and trip. Bernard Fayd’herbe is a significant jockey booking for the Reeves stable and Mighty Mac is fancied to come home ahead of Masked Vigilante and Shifting Path. Recent winner, Kelp Forest, Warm Winter Nite and Veronique are others to consider in a typically competitive event, but Mighty Mac can set the record straight after having lost the race on 14 November in the Boardroom.

The meeting opens with two Maiden Juvenile Plates over 1000m, the first for colts and the second for fillies. This makes for a tricky start to the Bipot as there eleven debutantes in the large field of seventeen runners, a few of which have strong pedigrees. Sorceress Supreme was backed on debut and showed good pace before fading to finish a distant third behind Whistle The Tune. She can only improve and has been priced up ante-post favourite. The other five fillies which do have a run under the belt never showed much on their debuts and it’s quite possible the finish will be dominated by the first timers.

Jou Lekker Ding, Dafnes Daughter and In The Green Zone are nicely bred newcomers and could make their presence felt, but the betting market will be the best guide.

Dancingtothelight makes most appeal in the opening leg of the Place Accumulator while Pushing Limits can improve off a promising debut to take out the first leg of the Pick 6. She finished only two lengths behind Night Vigil in her first start and the form of that race was franked by Nile The Boss over the weekend. Jet Green, sporting blinkers for the first time and with in-form JP van der Merwe in the saddle, may also be worth considering off a low weight in this Open Maiden over 1200m.

The fifth race looks a four-cornered contest between Cicadidae, Sun Spectacular, Fairfield and Ticking Bomb with a slight preference Richard Fourie’s mount, Cicadidae. The sixth race, an Open Maiden over 1600m, has attracted a maximum field of 18 runners and luck in running could play a major role in the outcome. Holding Thumbs can build on his reasonable debut over 1200m three weeks, but he will need everything to go right for him from the wide draw of 15. On the other hand, Indecent Proposal is drawn in pole position and should get the run of the race with Fourie in the saddle. Cosmic Captain and Bella’s Pablo are improving types and must be considered for all exotic bet permutations.