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Winter Cloud wins easing up after showing a fine turn of foot over the likely too sharp 1250m last time out (Picture: Wayne Marks)

Turf Talk

Justin Snaith runs the R1 million Vercingetorix filly Double Grand Slam in the Gr 2 Western Cape Fillies Champoonship at Hollywoodbets Durbanville on Saturday, where she will face the unbeaten champion Mrs Geriatrix as well as the exciting classic prospect Winter Cloud.

Jonathan Snaith said, “Double Grand Slam keeps improving and I know Justin rates her highly. She takes a huge jump in class and is unexposed. This race could tell us if she could win the Cape Fillies Guineas or not.”

He continued, “I think the Fillies Guineas winner could well come from this race – it is a hugely competitive field. Personally I think Winter Cloud is the horse to beat if she can overcome the wide draw – she is a very progressive type.”

Double Grand Slam has had three starts and after a fourth place on debut over 1000m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth in February this year she won by 4,50 lengths over 1250m at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth in March. She was then laid off for seven months and in her comeback was very impressive over 1400m at Hollywoodbets Durbanville. She led from start to finish and looked to have plenty in hand when crossing the line 2,25 lengths clear. That was despite running off a 91 merit rating and having to carry 60kg. There were five races over that trip at that meeting and hers was the fastest. Karel Miedema awarded her a 96 ability rating on his site.

The Candice Bass-Robinson-trained Winter Cloud won her seasonal reapperance in fine style over 1250m after finding the rail from draw five out of ten and then showing a fine turn of foot from midfield. She was awarded a 98 AR by Miedema. However, she looked like one who would appreciate further and indeed she is a full sister to Clouds Unfold, a What A Winter filly who won the Gr 1 Majorca over 1600m twice. Winter Cloud has a tough draw of nine out of ten to overcome.

The 98 was the same ability rating Miedema gave for her Gr 1 Allan Robertson Championship runner up finish.

The Sean Tarry-trained Mrs Geriatrix won the Allan Robertson and Miedema gave her a 104 AR.

In her two subsequent runs in the Gr 2 Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper over 1400m and the BSA Sales Cup over 1450m, Miedema gave her a 96 AR on both occasions.

Interestingly, the Candice Dawson-trained Just Be Lekker finished a fine third to older horses in the Gr 2 Jo’Burg Spring Fillies And Mares Challenge over 1450 on the same day Mrs Geriatrix won the BSA Sales Cup, but she was only awarded an 87 AR.

Furthermore, the Mike and Adam Azzie-trained Francine ran in the BSA Sales Cup and was only awarded a 74 AR, although she is the sort who will prefer a galloping track.

So, Just be Lekker and Francine are unlikely to threaten Mrs Geriatrix on Saturday.

Nevertheless, her unbeaten record might be under threat considering both Winter Cloud and Double Grand Slam have achieved ARs  eight points and six points lower than hers respectively and will both be receiving 2kg from her.

Furthermore, Double Grand Slam is unexposed, while Winter Cloud looks to be ultra progressive.

There are ten runners in Saturday’s race and Double Grand Slam jumps from a plum draw of two, which is always a big advantage at the tight Hollywoodbets Durbanville track, while Mrs Geriatrix, who is known for her tremendous turn of foot, jumps from draw five and Winter Cloud has draw nine.

It is going to be an intriguing contest.