Committed horseplayers will savour a mouth-watering menu on Saturday at Kenilworth with a stakes-laden card of Graded races. Top billing is the Grade 1 World Sports Betting Cape Fillies Guineas, backed up by a couple of potent Gr2’s – the historic Green Point Stakes and Southern Cross Stakes. By throwing in additional Pinnacle and Conditions events catering for quality thoroughbreds, programmers have enticed many of the Cape’s best horses with high level aspirations into action.
These superior showdowns are staged over a variety of distances. The Southern Cross (which appears at the mercy of outstanding mare, Run Fox Run) is a 1000m dash for speedballs; the Fillies Guineas and Green Point are staged over the Classic trip of 1600m, with the Gr3 Cape Summer Stayers giving hardy local endurance runners a chance to shine over 2500m.
Trainer Justin Snaith, who has his string in fine fettle (8 of the last 30 saddled have won), holds a strong hand in the Fillies Guineas. Captain’s Ransom looks especially formidable after outrunning multiple Gr1-winning mare, Clouds Unfold in the Diana Stakes over 1400m two months ago. This daughter of Captain Al now stretches out over a slightly longer trip – should she cope with that task and be able to produce the same sizzling come-home sectionals set over extended sprints, then she may well prove best.
Stable companion Dazzling Sun (by Camelot) duffed her penultimate when physically out of sorts, then quickly redeemed herself by pulverizing subsequent winner, Pink Tourmaline over the course and distance in mid-November. She has serious upside potential.
Princess Calla is also a live threat. She was visually impressive in the Fillies Classic when cruising to a facile victory over another re-opposing Snaith entry, the pacesetting, Trickster. Jockey Craig Zackey should be able to work out a favourable trip on this Flower Alley filly from draw 2.
Zarina, was another left gurgling in Princess Calla’s wake in that same October showdown, yet it may be an error of judgement to downgrade her claims too harshly. She possesses great determination and has potent acceleration – Candice Bass-Robinson rates her as marginally the best of her three entries. Young apprentice, Joshwin Solomons has the uncanny knack of getting horses to really run for him so he deservedly gets his shot at Gr1 glory on this feisty daughter of Master Of My Fate.
Lemon Delight and Chat Ching are Bass-Robinson’s other runners. The former ran on best of all from a hopeless position clocking in five lengths off Seeking The Stars in the RTR Stakes. She is again drawn out wide which makes life awkward even with the longer 600m run-in on the Summer course, but based on steady collateral form behind Captain’s Ransom, Zarina and Princess Calla is entitled to get into the fray.
Chat Ching, a winner of two from three starts, is harder to assess. Despite a tardy start, she won fluently over the course and distance just a month ago, albeit it in a lower grade handicap. Senior pilot, Aldo Domeyer, who has won both times on her, will be looking to extend their perfect sequence – a daunting mission though, against far stronger rivals.
Master conditioner, Mike de Kock, has a tremendous record in Gr1’s. He raids from Johannesburg with Due Diligence who has run her best races pressing the pace. The Silvano filly appears slightly shy on the speed figures required to actually win this, and might be vulnerable over the final stages to superior finishers, yet it’s conceivable that she keeps on for a medal if the early fractions are soft.
Press release from Cape Racing.
Words by Mark van Deventer.