Trainer Justin Snaith holds a powerful two-fisted attack in today’s R150 000 Listed East Cape Guineas to be run at Fairview. Charles Lytton looks the obvious choice but those final nervous strides of his Listed Ibhayi Stakes win are still fresh in the mind – and are a niggle of concern.
There is no question that the son of Thomas Crown is the best horse in the disappointing six horse field. But can we back him at odds-on?
A winner of 5 of his 8 starts (his last two in PE), he stands out in a relatively modest field.
Despite winning the Listed Ibhayi Stakes early in March, his rider had to pull out all the stops to hold off the persistent (and backed) Notting Hill after Charles Lytton, pecked and appeared to hang badly in the danger zone.
Most will say it was a win full of merit – and it was. But those sort of under pressure ‘buckles’ are not ideal – especially where likely odds-on favourites are concerned.
His stablemate Door Of Deception takes a step up in ground after mostly being confined to the sprints. His one run above 1200m produced a 5,15 length fifth in the Gr3 Matchem Stakes. He has always lacked that fine toe and may enjoy the mile where he can be relaxed and allowed to build into his stride.
Tony Millard owns Clifton Surf, a son of Antonius Pius who races for Alan Greeff and who has shown decent sprinting ability.
A winner of 2 of his 7 starts, he has close up form to the likes of Unannounced and Al Don Cumarco and won a decent race beating Captain’s Reserve in an MR 88 Handicap last time out.
It is a concern though that his only two runs beyond the sprints have resulted in blank returns.
His first was his post-maiden effort when 6,50 lengths behind Ado Annie, but that could be excused as he may not have enjoyed the poly.
His next 1400m bash was his trip to Cape Town for the Lanzerac Ready To Run Stakes.
He was hampered in running and finished 4,65 lengths back in eleventh position behind Zambezi River.
Friday will be his first shot at the mile.
He is out of a Jallad mare who only won once up to 1000m but the family show sprinklings of ability to win at a mile.
A big plus with Clifton Surf is his ability to settle in his races and turn it on late. And the jockey-trainer combination are in grand form too!
The former Mike De Kock runner Motoman has his second run in the Eastern Cape since relocating to the yard of Gavin Smith.
The son of Kahal won his maiden over 2000m at the Vaal in November but has battled to win again.
His placed and better efforts have been over more ground and he will need to improve on his local debut of last week when 3,55 lengths behind Romeo Bravo on the polytrack.
The former KZN-based Hands Of Stone started his career with Dennis Drier and has his second run in PE for Jacques Strydom.
The son of Count Dubois did not have bad form leading into his maiden win at his fourth start on the Greyville poly mile.
He would have needed his first run here last Friday when not striding out and running accordingly behind O Jallad.
This run comes quite soon after that and he gets the blinkers again. It does not look like he is capable of challenging the top two.
Savethelastdance has his fifth run and improved dramatically when tried over a mile with blinkers last time to win his maiden.
The Summerhill Stud bred son of Admire Main had hardly inspired confidence prior to that and he beat a weak field.
His trainer must believe he has some ability to throw him in the deep end here but he is definitely a longshot for a place at best.
Charles Lytton looks close to unstoppable on paper.
Bernard Fayd’herbe is an able replacement for Richard Fourie and he has everything in his favour. He is a confident first choice to win.