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Fly My Flag to travel from Gqeberha for the Western Province Nomads Champagne Stakes at Kenilworth

David Mollett (Business Day)
Many horse trucks make the trip from Cape Town to Gqeberha, but thanks to the enterprise of trainer Sharon Kotzen one will be making the 750km journey the other way round this week.
Since leaving the highveld where she will have gained huge experience under Ormond Ferraris, Kotzen has done well in the Eastern Cape considering she is taking on the powerful yards of Gavin Smith and Alan Greeff.  
Racing scribe Henk Steenkamp suggested that, considering the dominance of Smith and Graaff, there should be a special award for third place in the local championship. Kotzen would certainly be a contender.
Given the recent social media response on the National Horseracing Authority’s decision to give Rachel Venniker a 1.5kg allowance, an earlier Kotzen interview is interesting.
She said: “One can’t think of racing as a man’s game any more, the playing field has been levelled. Hopefully, we will see more female jockeys coming through. The challenge for a female rider to be successful is to be physically and mentally strong.”
Kotzen has sent her four-year-old filly, Fly My Flag, on the N2 route to the Cape to contest the grade 3 Western Province Nomads Champagne Stakes at Kenilworth.
She will have worked out that even fourth place is worth R10,000 so would cover travelling costs.
Bred at Oldlands Stud, Fly My Flag has won four of her 18 starts in the Eastern Cape but will now clash with runners from the top stables of Justin Snaith and Brett Crawford.
Snaith has enjoyed a successful week and it is understandable that his four-year-old, Major Attraction, has been priced up favourite at 19-10.
The daughter of Vercingetorix is a five-time winner and finished just a length behind Captain’s Ransom in the Diana Stakes last October. A reproduction of that form will see her notch her sixth win.
Though Snaith has backup in the form of Phil’s Dancer, Richard Fourie will probably feel Crawford’s duo of Walk Of Fame and Kitty Cat Chat will pose more serious threats.
Presumably, stable jockey, Louis Mxothwa, had choice of mounts and he has elected to partner Aussie-bred four-year-old, Kitty Cat Chat. He will know the strength of Fly My Flag as he has ridden the filly in her past five starts.
Greg Cheyne will be happy to renew his partnership with Walk Of Fame though his mount is 3kg worse off this time with Major Attraction.
The other grade 3 on the Kenilworth card — the Econorisk Final Fling Stakes — has another two useful Snaith runners in Rain In Newmarket and Veronica Mars and the latter, a half-sister to Mercury Rising, may be worth an each-way punt.
There is nothing much to choose between Veronica Mars, So Flawless and Rain In Newmarket on form and — along with three-year-old Young Love — all have a shout of taking the R125,000 winners cheque.
Greg Bortz went to R700,000 to secure Veronica Mars’ half-brother (by Querari) at the National Yearling Sales in April.
Punters looking for a Pick 6 banker should consider Candice Bass-Robinson’s newcomer, Max The Otter, who has been priced up at 33-10 for the eighth race.
The two-year-old is bred in the purple, being by Vercingetorix out of the three-time winning Captain Al mare, Sitia. Bass-Robinson is quoted in Winning Form as saying the youngster is “a nice type, could run well first time out, may need the experience.” That’s playing it safe.
Bass-Robinson saddles 11 other runners at the meeting and will be expecting another good run from four-time winner Adios Amigos in the fifth race . The Elusive Fort gelding — bred at Narrow Creek Stud — is proving a bargain buy at R40,000.
Eric Sands’ runner, Secret Oasis, makes plenty of appeal as the Rafeef gelding may appreciate reverting to a shorter trip.
Western Province Nomads Champagne Stakes
1 (3) Major Attraction
2 (4) Fly My Flag
3 (2) Phil’s Dancer
4 (1) Kitty Cat Chat
Econorisk Final Fling Stakes
1 (5) Veronica Mars
2 (2) Rain In Newmarket
3 (4) So Flawless
4 (10) Young Love
Middle Stakes
1 (8) Secret Oasis
2 (2) Adios Amigos
3 (7) Silent War

4 (5) Tout A Fait

Picture: Fly My Flag (Querari) after winning the Non-Black Type Cradock Place Stakes over 1200m under Ryan Munger last October (Chase Liebenberg).