The Prince and the Princess to reign
There is more than money up for grabs in the R850 000 Golden Horse Sprint (Gr 1) over 1200m at Hollywoodbets Scottsville this afternoon (Saturday) – the Equus Trophy for Champion Sprinter of South Africa is also on the line! One of the leading lights for this prestigious award is Gimme A Prince who has been installed as the 2/1 favourite to win this afternoon’s Golden Horse Sprint.
Back in January Gimme A Prince took out the Cape Flying Championship (Gr 1) over 1000m, just holding off Rio Querari by a neck with the smart Isivunguvungu slightly more than a length back in third spot. Isivunguvungu has since come out to win the Computaform Sprint (Gr 1) at Turffontein and is a notable absentee from today’s line-up. But former Equus Sprint Champion, Rio Querari, has made the trip from the Western Cape and interestingly races for the first time at Hollywoodbets Scottsville.
On ratings and current form there is precious little to choose between Gimme A Prince and Rio Querari but the former has had the experience of racing at the Pietermaritzburg track and that could stand him in good stead. In addition, Gimme A Prince has the right pedigree to win a Grade 1 Sprint at Scottsville as his dam, Real Princess, is a previous winner of the SA Fillies Sprint over 1200m, a race which also features on this afternoon’s programme.
Gimme A Prince will be ridden by Champion jockey-elect Keagan de Melo for the Dean Kannemeyer syable while Rio Querari represents the powerful Justin Snaith / Richard Fourie combination. Gimme A Prince and Rio Querari are drawn alongside each other towards the stands side of the course and from those stall gate positions they will be able to track each other’s every move and hopefully stay out of any trouble that may arise if the field bunches towards the inside.
But the Golden Horse Sprint is very competitive and this is by no means a two-horse race. Last year’s runner-up, Bartholdi, is back in an attempt to go one better and curiously jumps from the same stall gate as last year, down the very inside. Craig Zackey gets on well with the Azzie-trained son of Act Of War and he was under two lengths behind Gimme A Prince in Cape Town at level weights. He now receives 3kgs which certainly brings him into the race with a lively chance. His stable companion, Supreme Warrior, has not won for more than a year but the son of Vercingetorix has run a few decent races in defeat. Supreme Warrior is undefeated over the distance and is Drakenstein Stud’s sole representative in the race. Given their form at Grade 1 level this Season it would come as no surprise to see Supreme Warrior in the winner’s circle.
The 3yo We’re Jamming cannot be overlooked. Last time out he finished a close second behind Rio Querari and, although slightly worse off at the weights, he could be the lurker in the pack. Blinkers have been fitted and the son of Duke of Marmalade is at his best over this trip. Another with a fine record over 1200m is the Brett Crawford-trained Surjay. He has won four of his six starts over the distance and he could be competitive with just 56 kgs on his back.
The well-travelled and very talented William Robertson is also making his debut at Hollywoodbets Scottsville. He finished second behind Isivunguvungu in the Computaform Sprint (Gr 1) and was a very good second behind Captain’s Ransom in last Season’s Mercury Sprint (Gr 1). He is not the most impressive mover to the gates but he knows how to put it all together in a race and can match strides with the best of them. The Corne Spies stable has been off form for a while now but there would no better way to end the drought than by winning the Golden Horse Sprint.
One can’t write a preview for any Feature race at Scottsville without mentioning Sean Tarry who has enjoyed enormous success at this race meeting over many years. He saddles the mare Full Velocity, who lines up here against the boys in order to avoid going head-to-head with Princess Calla in the SA Fillies Sprint, and last year’s Gold Medallion winner Thunderstruck. The latter has had a poor 3yo campaign to date and is difficult to assess but with only 54 kgs to shoulder Full Velocity must be considered a lively threat. Tarry also saddles Under Your Spell who won the Allan Robertson (Gr 1) over the course and distance as a juvenile two years ago. She does appear to prefer further these days but is not without a chance at the weights.
SOUTH AFRICAN FILLIES SPRINT
The impressive Princess Calla stands on the threshold of registering her second Grade 1 victory when she lines up against 9 rivals in the R750 000 South African Fillies Sprint and will be a popular banker this afternoon. Princess Calla is unbeaten at Hollywoodbets Scottsville and is unbeaten over 1200m and I fancy nothing will have changed in that regard by the end of the day. Sean Tarry has the daughter of Flower Alley in super form and it’s just about impossible to look beyond her for the winner.
Sean Tarry’s unbeaten Lucky Lad is a worthy favourite to take top honours in the R700 000 Gold Medallion (Gr 1) for 2yo’s over 1200m. Last time out Lucky Lad won the Nursery at Turffontein to register his third victory from as many starts and the son of Gimmethegreenlight appears to getting better with each and every outing. Richard Fourie has been aboard Lucky Lad in all three starts to date and retains the ride this afternoon. While it is never easy to assess juveniles coming out of different form lines, it is certainly reasonable to suggest that the Beck-owned Lucky Lad sets the standard.
So what are the dangers? Red Bomber was most impressive when winning on debut towards the end of April and he could be anything. Gavin Lerena takes the ride again for the J J Van Vuuren stable and the Lancaster Bomber colt could have the scope to trouble Lucky Lad. Dean Kannemeyer saddles Outlaw King, an impressive winner of his first two starts at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth. He then blotted his copybook somewhat when beaten by Cliff Hanger in the Goldolphin Barb and the latter has since changed stables and is now stable companion to Red Bomber.
THE ALLAN ROBERTSON CHAMPIONSHIP
Tarry’s hopes for victory in the 1200m R700 000 Allan Robertson Championship for 2yo fillies rest with Mrs Geriatrix, who like Lucky Lad is unbeaten from three starts coming into the race. Mrs Geriatrix won the Fillies Nursery at Turffontein at the end of April, getting up close home to deny Red Hot Rose who also takes her place in the field this afternoon.
But as good as Mrs Geriatrix’s form looks, she may have to play second fiddle to the Candice Bass-Robinson-trained Winter Cloud. The daughter of What A Winter has won three on the bounce and, unlike her Highveld-based rivals, has the advantage of course experience, having won her most recent start at Hollywoodbets Scottsville. This was in the Strelitzia Stakes where she finished full of running to beat the pacy Hot Pearl comfortably. That was over 1100m and the extra 100m this afternoon certainly counts in the favour of Winter Cloud.
Glen Kotzen saddles two promising fillies in the form of Golden Tatjana and Rascova but on past performances both should be held by Winter Cloud.