Trainer Brett Crawford has two participants and a reserve runner for the Grand Parade Cape Guineas Grade 1 over 1600m at Kenilworth this Saturday. It ‘s a typically strong line-up starring high class three-year olds from all over the country. Given the full field of 16 and the propensity of quite a number of them to race handy it ought to be a true run contest over the fairer Summer course with its flat 600m straight. Brief profiles of all the runners follow:
Table Bay – won Langerman at two and was very impressive when strolling home in the Cape Classic. He was a victim of the pace meltdown in the Selangor Cup, racing handy before tottering in to finish 2.65 lengths off Gold Standard. Official merit rating of 108 is by far the best in the field.
Gunner – won Grade 1 Premier’s Champion Stakes at Greyville over this distance. Rather uninspiring since then, but may have needed those two subsequent comeback runs.
Hack Green – best effort was jinking past speedball, Green Pepper in a Scottsville sprint. Since that effort has finished three to four lengths of Search Party in two Cape Town runs and now stretches out over a longer route.
Heavenly Blue – ran huge in the Dingaans a length off rival Singapore Sling. World class trainer Mike de Kock is formidable in upper echelon races in the Cape, though his runner is hindered by a horribly wide gate.
Zodiac Ruler – this handsome colt won the Grade 2 Golden Horseshoe in Durban before succumbing narrowly to Gunner. Encouraging comeback sprint was followed by flat second after rest flop behind Safe Harbour in the Lanzerac RTR.
Edict of Nantes – seriously talented and improving swiftly, witness a grand bid verus Gold Standard last month. Poor draw of 18 complicates matters, but will run his heart out down the stretch
William Longsword – this imposing and progressive colt with a sharp turn of foot sired by former Guineas winner, Captain Al also has a bad draw to overcome.
Singapore Sling – must be taken seriously after scored a most laudable victory in the Dingaans from a wide draw, beating off Heavenly Blue.
Bishops Bounty – stretches out after sprinting well and could be a pace factor from an inside alley.
Africa Rising – close to the action at all six starts including a length of Gunner at Greyville. Probably needs to shine up on form shown (merit rating of 96), but respect is always due to the potent Tarry/Khumalo partnership and is also aided by low draw.
Gold Standard – has won three on the bounce – a Maiden, the Racing Association Stakes in PE and then delivered a tremendous rally from last to upset in the hectically run Selangor. After that remarkable victory was described by conditioner Glen Kotzen as, “a proper horse with great mannerism and a big action.”
Craven – Bernard Fayd’ Herbe, who won the Guineas on Elusive Gold for Crawford, jets in from Mauritius to ride. Finished sharply to win a lowly handicap at most recent start and with added maturity and extra distance shows positive signs of being on the upgrade.
Elevated – has run five consecutive seconds, including clocking in four lengths off Table Bay in the Cape Classic.
Pacific Spirit – ran second on debut here on Met day to Sergeant Hardy. Since then has accumulated a consistent record in the Eastern Cape, though merit rating is just 90.
Elusive Path – this valiant pace-presser ran boldly in the Lanzerac RTR despite a dodgy draw, ending up a length off Safe Harbour.
A New Dawn – another that races up with the speed. Resumed with a neat comeback near Edict of Nantes and older horse Nebula (since won Algoa Cup) and then did admirably by racing forwardly and keeping on to be three lengths adrift of Gold Standard in Selangor.
I Travel Light and Crawford’s entry Boldly Respectable are the Reserves.
Should be a tremendous showdown – enjoy!
Please click on the video links below for detailed comments from jockeys Corne Orffer, Greg Cheyne, Bernard Fayd Herbe as well as Brett Crawford’s sharp insights.