One of South Africa’s foremost legends of the turf, Sea Cottage, is honoured at Turffontein on Sunday. The twenty time winner won the Queen’s Plate 46 years ago and the R150 000 Listed feature in his name has attracted an appropriately good quality field of ten 3yo’s.
This bunch have some way to go to be mentioned in the same breath as the great racehorse, but a keenly contested race looks on the cards courtesy of some emerging male talent and brave filly carrying a galloping weight.
Geoff Woodruff has had a fair amount of success with the progeny of that outstanding stallion Var, and he appears to have another smart sort in the Litchfield Stud-bred Sabadell.
The gelding followed up a smart fourth behind Francois Bernardus in the Graham Beck Stakes, with a terrific two length second to the ill-fated The Hangman in the Gr2 Dingaans at the beginning of December. If that was Sabadell’s true form – and we have no reason to doubt it – he looks well handicapped off a mark of 98 in this event.
Gavin Van Zyl is enjoying something of a purple patch at the present time, and he sends out a strong coupling of Gray’s Champ and No Worries.
A winner of 3 of his 7 starts to date, Gray’s Champ was a trifle disappointing, but hardly disgraced, at his last outing when going unplaced 4,25 lengths behind Rocco’s Luck in an MR 80 Handicap over the course and distance. He could bounce right back against his own age group.
The Summerhill Stud-bred No Worries won a good race in an MR 77 Handicap over a mile last time when beating American Storm 1,25 lengths. He has to overcome a 4,5kg weight turnaround with the Spike Lerena runner – which will bring them closer.
Mike De Kock’s Alexandra Palace hails from Varsfontein Stud and is unexposed, having only run twice and shedding his maiden over the course and distance at his second start. Looks to have a stamp of class about him and if not needing the outing after a three month rest, could go very close to upsetting the applecart.
The only filly in the field will be ridden by Piere Strydom.
Sean Tarry’s Fire Wheel is a talented daughter of Black Minnaloushe, who won her last start in a Novice Plate beating Lady Tatty by four lengths. Her excellent second in the Gr3 Fillies Mile behind Cherry On The Top would bring her in here. And it is not often that we see the top jockey accepting rides at this carded weight level !
Tyrone Zackey and Cape based Grant Van Niekerk team up with the twice-winning Double Bind.The son of Victory Moon won going away at his last start over 2400m , and must have an outside chance if not run off his feet.
The rest may be hard pressed to feature.
We are suggesting that Sabadell will be good enough to win this from Gray’s Champ and Alexandra Palace – while Tarry’s filly is improving and is a danger.