Charles Dickens begins a much anticipated campaign on Saturday at Hollywoodbets Durbanville (Picture: Wayne Marks)
Charles Dickens has been priced up as the joint favourite for the 2024 WSB Cape Town Met together with See It Again and he gets his season rolling on Saturday at Hollywoodbets Durbanville, where he runs in a small but classy field of seven in the Gr 3 Matchem Stakes over 1400m.
The 132 merit rated-superstar will be hard to beat over a trip which will suit him down to the ground considering his speed and exhilarating turn of foot.
He has landed a fair draw of three.
However, his one problem could be finding cover.
The front-running sort After The Rain is drawn one inside of him, but drawn in pole is the top sprinter Gimme A Prince, who is likely to hold his position on the rail to get a tow from After The Rain.
Aldo Domeyer might have to take an early hold to slot Charles Dickens in behind Gimme A Prince, although that might not be easy to do considering he will be running fresh and does tend to take quite a keen hold.
After The Rain is ideally distance suited and would not be easy for an ordinary horse to catch, but such is Charles Dicken’s turn of foot he should fetch him with ease.
Gimme A Prince has had sprinting success, but is viewed as one who will get further and he also runs like such a horse as he is always doing his best work late over sprint trips.
The Charles Dickens’ connections will definitely have respect for him.
Royal Aussie was beaten 5,75 lengths by Charles Dickens in the Gr 1 Hollywoodbets Gold Challenge and is only 3kg better off so has his work cut out, but he has some class and should come into his own this season, so could earn.
Gimme A Prince’s Dean Kannemeyer-trained five-year-old stablemate Cosmic Highway is talented and finished third in this race as a three-year-old and fifth last year, beaten 2,75 lengths and 2,50 lengths respectively. He has won a Gr 2 sprint over 1200m and finished third in the Gr 1 Cape Guineas, so this 1400m trip is ideal. However, he has to bounce back from a disappointing last season in which he failed to make the frame in five starts.
Kannemeyer has more than half the field as he also runs Bright Green and Runaway Song.
Bright Green showed early promise, but he had only his fifth career start this season as a four-year-old and will need vast improvement to threaten here.
Runaway Song’s 116 merit rating is courtesy of a Gr 3 staying event, so he makes little appeal too.
The Gr 3 Hollywoodbets Diana Stakes could also go to the Bass-Robinson yard. They run Golden Hostess, who did not enjoy much luck last season but showed class and she is comfortably best in at the weights here over what should be an ideal 1400m trip.